Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Much Needed Break

So, I'm going to take a break from writing. I have no idea when I'll be back. I know I will be, but it could be anywhere from a week to a year before I come back to writing. Until then, I won't be doing any more writing posts. I'll still be doing reviews, and probably a few more of them, too. Maybe I'll fling in a few random posts. (Anyone want a clip of me playing a banjo? :P )

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Review of The Merchant's Son by C. F. Barrows

Today I'm going to review 'The Merchant's Son' by C. F. Barrows, which is the prequel to 'The Follower'.


I liked this area of Sehret a bit better than inside the mountains, like in 'The Follower'. This is probably just personal preference, though. Like the first book, the world building is wonderful.


Poor Siran. I will always say this. I constantly wanted to hunt the author down for being so mean to Siran. And Tal ... For reasons I will not reveal because of spoilers, I wanted very, very much to hunt the author down. (Still do, actually.)

Just like in the first book, the characters were well-developed and enough to make you squirm with their realism. This time, though, there were fewer, and you got plenty of time to bond with them all.


Nice and smooth, steadily progressing, and never going slack, the plot was well done in this one. I will admit that this feels like a prequel, but not in the way you might think. There's plenty of action and a perfectly good story here; it just feels like there's more for the characters after "the end."


C. F. Barrows has improved in this book. I can't fault it. I loved it. I will recommend it, and I give it 4.5 stars.

This book is an emotional meatgrinder. You start it with your sanity and feelings intact. Once you get to the end, you have a bloody, mangled pile of hamburger.

Go read it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Review of The Follower by C. F. Barrows

(Yes, laziness strikes again. I just snagged the picture off Amazon. :P )

Today I'm going to review C. F. Barrow's book 'The Follower'.


The world of Sehret is amazing. It's complex, realistic, and engaging. It has that "snap" of realism to it. The history is drop-dead amazing; the history is just as real as the current situations.


Another part of this book that has that realism in it. These characters are human enough to make you squirm. C. F. Barrows doesn't honey-coat their characters or human nature. Their characters aren't all cut from the same mold, either. They're each different and well developed.

My only complaint about the characters is that there's just a few too many of them at first. I understand that they can't be introduced much slower, with the inciting incident being what it is, but it took me a little while to get my bearings. (NOTE: The second time through this book was much, much more enjoyable, since I had already gotten the characters straight.)


The plot is strong. Things are a bit choppy at first, but once again, once you get your bearings, it flows nicely. The tension builds up well and never drops. The climax doesn't disappoint. (Although I very nearly came after the author when you-know-who nearly died.)


Overall, I love this. I couldn't wait to come back to Sehret in the second book ('The Merchant's Son', the prequel, which I will review tomorrow.) I'll give this book four stars, and it's definitely something I'll recommend.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Writers' Claustrophobia

So, I've finished my second draft, done my read through, and now I'm starting on revisions. I've also started feeling claustrophobic about the whole thing. I've started stressing about editing, revising, characters, chapter lengths, cover art, Create Space, beta readers, critiques, dialog, epilogues, writing style, punctuation, typos ... You name it, I've obsessed and stressed myself out of wits about it.

Now that I've diagnosed myself with Writers' Claustrophobia, I have no idea what to do with myself. My self-imposed deadline is seven months away still, but that's far too close for comfort.

Stay tuned as I battle my way through this and the editing process.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Character Quote

I'll have a better post tomorrow (hopefully), but for now, here's a quote I stumbled across in Dragon's Whisper today.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Review of Jeweler's Apprentice by E. Kaiser

(Yes, I know I'm sloppy. I just snagged the picture of the cover off Amazon. I'm horrible at this, and don't know how to do it right. It works, kinda sorta. :P )

So, I promised E. Kaiser a review a while back, and I know I'm late on it, but here it is. I just finished this, so I'm writing the review while I'm fresh.

This has a nice, complex (but not too confusing), storyworld. It took me a little while to get a grip on the political situation, but that's probably because I tend to commit the sin of skimming. (I know; it's horrible. Shoot me if you must.) The lack of magic is refreshing, and this story doesn't need it to raise the stakes or add tension.

I like Fia. She's a good character. I like how she's not one of those typical "kick butt" heroines that seem so popular right now. She's had propriety drilled into her head, but she still struggles with it and her slightly more reckless side peeks out on occasion (and gets her into the trouble that makes up the
inciting incident). I would have liked the POV a bit deeper; to have been able to see underneath the manners a bit more. Her character's there, it's just not tapped into completely.

Ilido is awesome. I really like him, and I like his secret. That's a wonderful plot twist that I didn't see coming. I think he might be my newest character crush. He's just so cool. (Honestly, I'd kind of like to see if Fia and Ilido work out as a couple. I know they don't really know each other well enough for that yet, but I can dream, can't I?)

I really like everyone at the Olayin house. I love how intricate their past is; they aren't made up on the spot. Each character has scars, grudges, and stories.

The plot is solid, and has a few good twists in there. The end surprised me; as in, it came sooner than I expected. Or maybe I just got sucked in. Or both. ;)

Writing Style
Awesome writing style, and something I envy. It might have just been me getting used to it, but the style seemed to get much less flowery after the first few chapters. Flowery is great, but it doesn't lend itself to quick reading in big pieces. I tend to have to stop and digest after a ridiculously small amount.

Loved it. Can't wait to get a chance to read the second one. I hope we get to know Fia a bit better. Overall, I give this ... 4.5 stars, because I'm indecisive that way. :P Read it if you love a good, clean, magic-free fantasy.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Frozen VS Tangled

As I promised, I'm writing a post comparing Frozen and Tangled.

So, a few days ago, we bought Frozen and watched it. Unfortunately, we are not part of the obsessed Frozen fandom. My dad mentioned that he liked Tangled better. I have to agree, I liked Tangled better, too. That got me to thinking about the similarities and differences, and why Tangled went over better with us than Frozen. I thought about it, and came up with a few reasons.

NOTE: I have nothing against people who really love Frozen. That's great. It's an enjoyable movie. This is just my opinion on why I think Tangled worked better.

A SECOND NOTE: Don't read this if you haven't watched both Tangled and Frozen. I can't avoid spoilers.


Frozen: Let's see. We've got Anna and Elsa to keep track of, then Kristof, Hans, and of course Sven and Olaf. It's a bigger cast, and you can't spend as much time bonding with each character and getting to know them.

Tangled: The cast is kept really slim. The focus is nearly all on Rapunzel and Flynn. You get plenty of time to get to know these two characters and root for them.


Frozen: This had epic consequences. An entire kingdom was at stake. If Anna didn't catch up to Elsa and get her to bring back summer, all of Arendelle would suffer.

Tangled: This had a much smaller scope. It's more personal. If Flynn and Rapunzel failed, the only ones that would really suffer would be themselves. Rapunzel would go back to her tower forever, and Flynn would die. Mother Gothel would win, and no one else would get dragged into things.


Frozen: The action never stops. After the setup and Elsa freezes everything, the characters move and move and move until the very end. Only then do they stop for about two minutes. With so many characters and so much action, it's even harder to bond to the characters and get to know them.
Heck, the characters themselves don't even get a chance to think about what's happening to them. The relationships between the characters advance, but it's more along the lines of, "You saved my life, you're pretty cool," instead of, "I've spent time with you, your interests are similar to mine, and I think I might like you."

Tangled: The action comes in steady beats. Something happens to the characters, then the action falls away and they get a chance to think about it and advance their relationship. They slowly get to know each other and grow to like each other. There are systematic breaks in the action throughought the story. (Right after they nearly drown and Rapunzel heals Flynn's hand; once they get to the kingdom and they have fun there; Flynn get captured and put in jail while Rapunzel is locked back in her tower to think about her failure)


Frozen: Seriously, I think Frozen wound up too quickly. The climax was AMAZING, but it wound up too fast. It wasn't quite believable. Elsa just said "love," the snow melted, and everything was fine and dandy.
I think it should have ended a bit differently. It shouldn't have been so easy for Elsa to reverse what so much fear had done. She so suddenly had complete confidence in herself and understood love, so she could melt her own fear-made ice?
There should have been a scene of Else trying to melt the ice, but the fear of not being able to do it keeping her from doing it. A vicious cycle. Then Anna helps her, and then it can wrap up.
And for characters being able to prove their love, the thing with Anna and Elsa was great, but Kristof got shoved to the side. And Hans ... *growl* That gets its own blog post someday.

Tangled: This ending was well paced. It was a believable as a fairy tale can be, and had a nice wind down.
Rapunzel and Flynn both got to prove their love; Flynn by dying trying to save Rapunzel, and Rapunzel by promising to stay with Mother Gothel if she lets Rapunzel heal Flynn.

So, there you are. A quick description of why I think Tangled is better than Frozen. What are you thoughts? Am I ten miles off, or somewhere near being right?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Plot Bunny

A plot bunny emerged while I was doing my math. I grabbed my notebook and scratched this down:

Six years ago today I made a deal with the devil. Today, for the first time in those six years, I regret my choice. Who knew regret could be so bitter?
I did, of course. Back when I was a stupid fourteen-year-old. Fourteen-year-olds shouldn't be allowed to make life-changing decisions.
But the devil doesn't follow rules either way.

I think I'm high on my new plot bunny.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Proper Excuse and a Victory!

Yes, I've been gone too long. Again. But this time I have a real, justifiable excuse.

I finished the rewrite of Dragon's Whisper.

Yup. Excuse me while I dance around the room.

Ahem. Anyways. Yeah. I finished it a few days ago, in a huge flurry of six thousand words. And now I'm forcing myself to take two weeks away from my baby before I start the revision process.


Oh, no. I didn't just turn into Gollum over a novel. Nope. Not me. I'm completely mature. I didn't dance around the room or babble to myself for an hour, either. Not this mature writer.

Oops. Just ... Ignore my nose, all right?

Anywhoot. Now I'm working on designing the cover for Dragon's Whisper. And since I need something to do during the week or so left of my self-imposed break, I'm going to jump on the Frozen bandwagon and write a post comparing Frozen and Tangled.