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text 2015-06-11 16:00
TBR Thursday: June 11
Throne of Jade - Naomi Novik
Black Powder War - Naomi Novik
Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik
Morte - Robert Repino
Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World - Matthew Goodman
Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted - Andrew Wilson
Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 - Elizabeth Winder
Bookmarked: Reading My Way from Hollywood to Brooklyn - Wendy W. Fairey
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America - Tony Goldwyn,Erik Larson

(TBR Thursday list idea stolen from Moonlight Reader)


My actual TBR is, I'm almost positive, infinite. Or in more tangible numeric terms, is 1700+ books and counting- so says Goodreads. So I'll just look at what is floating to the top of my pile this week.


Having just finished the first in the series, I am feverishly pursuing the rest of the Temeraire books by Naomi Novik. Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, and Empire of Ivory reside at the topmost heights of Mount TBR.


I'm also slowly making some headway through more audio books. Once I've finished Devil in the White City, I hope to move on to either Mort(e) or Eighty Days. I tend to prefer non-fiction for my audio choices, but Mort(e) is just too interesting (and too free on Scribd) to pass by.


I'm also hoping to tackle some nonfiction about Sylvia Plath, though I'm torn between Mad Girl's Love Song and Pain, Parties, Work (both about her early, pre-Ted days).


Last but not least, a perennially present library book (I keep checking it out and putting it off), Bookmarked: Reading My Way from Hollywood to Brooklyn. I'm determined to actually read it before it's due date on the 18th. I love books about books.



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text 2014-06-30 01:08
Quick update...

I announced earlier this month that beginning in July I would begin a campaign that would donate a percentage of my sales for #AdInfinitum to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation...well, it appears that giving money away is more difficult than I thought! I am still trying to get the particulars in order so that when a reader buys the book, they know without a doubt that their donation was indeed made. I don't feel that something this important should be left to some faceless third or fourth party to facilitate. For my own peace of mind I want to make sure your money goes where you intend it. SO...this will happen, I promise, but not until I'm sure it's being done correctly and once it begins, I plan on continuing it for as long as I am able to write and sell books and not just for the JDF, but various charitable organizations (so long as they have a proven track record and can show that the money they take in goes where it was intended.) In the meantime, keep reading!


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text 2014-05-29 08:27
How much should your favorite authors influence your writing?

Personally, I try not read a lot when I'm actively writing (which should be WAY more often) so that my voice is distinct while still familiar feeling enough to appeal to my readers.


Having said that, I readily admit to purposefully trying to recreate a certain rhythm and cadence in certain pieces, like the Sons of Conan trilogy, as was deployed by other authors who write in the same genre, including in this case Robert E. Howard, the father of heroic fantasy. That, in my mind at least, is less emulative and more genre specific than say trying to be as horrific and graphic as possible in an effort to be more Kingian, if you will.


What are your thoughts?









  • #AmWriting #AmEditing #AmRevising #Author #Authors #AuthorLife
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text 2014-05-27 22:41
An excerpt from Elixir, a new story in development...

There were no longer nights or days.


The sun, which now dominated the skies overhead, was a constant and overpowering presence, bombarding the rapidly depleting ozone with a cosmic tidal wave of lethal radiation, bathing the barren landscape of the ruined earth in a dark purple the color of bruised flesh. The life giving light that had once supplied the green things of the planet with the necessary nutrients to grow and flourish had long since scorched the land dry, had long since evaporated every drop of moisture from the oceans and rivers and streams, had long since burned away any signs that the earth had ever been inhabited by even the lowliest of creatures. Even the microbes had perished.


There were no people now to bear witness to the final hours of the planet they so arrogantly claimed as their own. They had perished hundreds of years earlier, wiped out by a devastating and especially virulent disease that sprang up from nowhere and swept around the globe in less than six months, killing billions. The few thousands that survived in enclaves around the world either died from the famine and drought that followed or killed one another when their own animal natures took them over, preying on each other in a futile attempt to gather unto themselves what the dead had left behind, the relics of a time awash in greed and avarice, useless flotsam on a dead sea. They had all died, their piteous cries unheeded by the Gods they had created to placate their consciences and justify their actions toward their fellows. All of them - save one.


Danny Ashton, or what was left of him, crouched clutching his bony knees to his skeletal frame with near fleshless arms, naked in the mouth of the only shelter available, a cave in the side of a mountain in what was once Colorado one hundred fifty years earlier. He squinted through watery eyes at the bloated sun and tears streaked the dust that plastered his face in a permanent mask. The cave reached deep into the earth, how far Danny did not know for he had not the strength left to explore it, but it mattered little. He knew that soon the tattered remains of the ozone would burn away completely as the sun expanded even further, morphing into its red giant phase on its way to its own final death throes, eventually to become nothing more than another cold, dark lump of matter floating in the vast panorama of space. Danny hoped it would end soon.


He shifted and moved back further into the cave, sliding on his haunches until the exertion drained the little energy he could muster in his diminished state and then collapsed against the wall of the cave, heedless of the burns caused by the overheated rock. Pain was not a concern for Danny Ashton. Not anymore. He had endured pain before, more pain than any other being that had ever lived on this dying earth had ever endured, more pain than the fevered mind of man could imagine in their worst imaginings. Pain was second nature to Danny, like breathing, an automatic reflex that he had long ago learned to accept as inevitable and unavoidable. The pain kept him going, kept him alive, reminded him that he was, ultimately, the last living creature on Earth and for that reason alone he hated it.


Danny closed his eyes against the stinging hot dust the solar winds drove into the cave and as he rested against the burning rock, his thoughts drifted back to another time in his past, another time when he felt the heat and sand stinging his flesh, a time he wished with all of his heart he could go back and change, a time nearly two thousand years gone. As he breathed the acrid fumes that were all that was left of the once oxygen rich air around him, he let his mind remember the days before he had drunk the Water of Life and cursed himself into oblivion.

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text 2014-05-20 02:19
An excerpt from Ad Perpetuam...

Kimberly Holly’s life had changed for the better.


Her mother’s body had finally succumbed to the abuses of alcohol and tobacco, and she had died under hospice care from complications due to emphysema and liver cancer. Her final days, though grim, had become cathartic and once she had made her peace with her husband and her only child, she simply passed, quietly, in the middle of one August morning the year after Kimberly’s abduction and near death. The insurance coverage paid for the funeral and burial, and as the local Catholic priest who worked the Hospice presided over her, Kimberly could not help feeling a guilty twinge of relief. She was ashamed of it, appropriately, then forgave herself and moved on with her life, something she could not have done before her ordeal. It was funny in an ironic sort of way that she should come out of the trauma of her recent past stronger than she had ever been before it, that she should live despite her fear rather than be bound by it. Death, she had discovered, was by no means the worst fate imaginable.


So she had taken her father from the nursing home and moved him in with her, using his social security and pension along with her income earned working at Presbyterian Hospital (a job Indira Singh had set her up with after her mother’s death) to support them both. Her father had settled in immediately; their neighbors saw him daily walking their little Boston terrier down to the corner pharmacy to get the Charlotte Observer and kibitz with the other elderly men in the neighborhood who always eventually ended up there. Kimberly worked from eight in the morning until six o’clock, then came home and made them both dinner before sitting with her father to watch Jeopardy, a favorite of Clark Holly’s, and Kimberly was pleasantly surprised to find her father’s mind still sharp and she marveled at his knowledge of trivia. She threatened to make him audition for the show quite often and beamed at the look of pride on his face that she had believed would never blossom there again. Life was indeed changing for the better.


She had even begun dating. She met a man who worked at the hospital, an orderly named Michael Speight, and he treated her well. She told him immediately about her last “boyfriend”, about her abduction and the events surrounding it, with the obvious exception of how Walter Cavanaugh had actually been the embodiment of evil an alien reincarnated on Earth. Even now, the idea of boat rocking, especially boat rocking that painted the rocker as a paranoid delusional, seemed imprudent to Kimberly. Besides, she told herself, she wasn’t really sure if she actually believed that what had happened to her was as real as she remembered. Her therapist told her that her trauma had triggered her imagination to create the fantasy of good versus evil as a defense mechanism for her psyche, that aliens and gods and demons and evil were all byproducts of her depleted mental state caused by the stress of Claire’s murder and her own kidnapping and torture. She was ready and willing to accept this diagnosis, despite Indira Singh’s insistence that she accept the truth instead. It eventually led to a conflict between the two and Kimberly’s last meeting with the Bangladeshi mystic had ended in an argument. The two had quit speaking, though Indira had tried many times to bridge the gap. Kimberly’s therapist had instructed her to cut all ties with the people who had saved her life that day in a filthy Washington, D.C. apartment, who had pulled her emaciated body and satiated mind back from the rim of Hell and set her back on her feet again and she had agreed, telling Indira over the phone not to call her or approach her again, to leave her and her father alone. That was two years ago.


So now, three years after the events in Washington, Kimberly Holly felt that her life was once again back on track. She had even decided to open herself to the idea of making love to Michael, a huge step for her. Michael, for his part, hadn’t pushed her and that scored points with Kimberly. Being pushed was not something she was about to allow anyone to do to her ever again. So she had set the date and when the time came, she gave herself to him completely, ready in her own mind to make that step, to trust, and it had been the most satisfying experience of her adult life. Everything about it had gone perfectly to plan, from the dinner before at Blue, to the movie afterward, all the way to the surprise at the end when she told him she was ready. It was the proverbial storybook ending. All that was left was living happily ever after.


She is driving home now after another assignation with her lover. It is four o’clock in the morning and she knows her father will still be up waiting for her, though she had told him she would be home later than usual. It was a Saturday morning and she did not have work; she would go home, put Clark to bed, then sleep until twelve, a luxury she rarely indulged in. But, she mused, she deserved it. She slid into the turn lane for the onramp to I-77 north and, picking up speed, got onto the highway headed home.


The interstate was empty in both directions and as she accelerated, she pushed the CD button on her car stereo. Usher began singing “Burn”, a song about love gone bad and she quickly pushed the advance button until “Take Your Hand” cued up, then turned the volume high. This was more like it. She felt her cell phone vibrate in the holder on her belt. Keeping one diligent eye on the road, she unholstered the phone and flipped it open. She glanced down to see that Michael had sent her a text message and pressed the button with her thumb to open it.


-I luv u-


She grinned and began thumbing in her reply, taking her eyes from the road for just a moment. As she typed in the final y-o-u, she looked back up. She had barely enough time to scream.


A Honda Prelude coming the wrong way down the interstate was in her lane and looming very large. For the briefest of moments she caught the look of bleary-eyed shock on the intoxicated driver’s face. In a desperate act of self-preservation she jerked the wheel to the left and stabbed at the brake pedal. The sound of the brakes squealing was muffled as the two cars collided head on, the Prelude striking Kimberly’s Volvo right of center, ripping the passenger side open to the back seat and tearing through the engine compartment.


The impact sent Kimberly’s car flying, spinning in the air and rolling over twice before finally coming to rest in a smoking ruin against the center concrete median, pinning her inside the wreckage. The airbag had deployed but did not prevent her from slamming first into the steering wheel and then up into the roof. The seatbelt had cinched, crushing her into the bucket seat and as the hissing sounds of both cars’ radiators grew louder in the aftermath, Kimberly Holly lay bleeding and broken amid the twisted metal and shattered glass, her face and scalp badly lacerated, her ribs and back broken. The rear view mirror hung down, suspended by the wires that gave power to the heads up display inside it and before she passed out she caught a glimpse of her face, covered in blood, a huge gash opened in her forehead above her left eyebrow exposing bone and pouring blood and as she slipped the bonds of reality into the nether regions of her mind her last thoughts were of her father, waiting patiently at home.

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