Readers And Writers Blog, reading

Some more great stuff to read

New works were posted this week at Readers and Writers Blog.

* To Remember and To Forget, by Luke Darbyshire, tells the “tale of Bobby, a rather idiosyncratic young man, and how he deals with his father’s death, his mother’s toiletries, his friend Jim and their mutual love, Anna, has qualities of the dark poetry of Joyce, the mystery of Chandler and even that dystopian craziness found in the best-known work of Anthony Burgess.”

* Hugh Yonn’s Me and the Good Ol’ IRS. “If you’ve read Yonn’s first two contributions to us, you’ll guess there’s a certain amount of irony in his latest work.”

Check ’em out!

book review, books, reading

Odd Thomas

I rarely read novels while I’m in the middle of writing a first draft (or, in this case, a third version of a first draft). There are many reasons for this, the chief two of which are a fear of what I will call unconscious plagiarism (although perhaps plagiarism is too strong a word) and a tendency I have towards procrastination.

I made an exception this week, though, and borrowed a friend’s copy of Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Since I don’t write supernatural thrillers, I wasn’t worried about Koontz’s style leaking into my novel, and since I’m on quite a roll with the writing, I wasn’t worried about not getting back to it. It was a wise decision.

Brief synopsis (taken from the Odd Thomas website which – by the way – is really cool):

“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different. A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares-and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

It’s a great story, filled with quirky characters. I especially love that Odd is a fry cook, and that he’s able to take a measure of pride in his work (“Anyone can crack a shell and spill its essence into a pan, pot, or pipkin, but few can turn out omlets as flavorful, scrambled eggs as fluffy, and sunnysides as sunny as mine.”) The writing is amazing, too, even in the small descriptive details (“The carport leaned precipitously, as if the weight of the sunshine alone might collapse it.”)

It’s my first Dean Koontz book, so I can’t say how it compares with the rest of his stuff, but I’m definitely planning on reading the rest of the Odd Thomas books so I can find out.

book review, books, reading

Odd Thomas

I rarely read novels while I’m in the middle of writing a first draft (or, in this case, a third version of a first draft). There are many reasons for this, the chief two of which are a fear of what I will call unconscious plagiarism (although perhaps plagiarism is too strong a word) and a tendency I have towards procrastination.

I made an exception this week, though, and borrowed a friend’s copy of Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Since I don’t write supernatural thrillers, I wasn’t worried about Koontz’s style leaking into my novel, and since I’m on quite a roll with the writing, I wasn’t worried about not getting back to it. It was a wise decision.

Brief synopsis (taken from the Odd Thomas website which – by the way – is really cool):

“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different. A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares-and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

It’s a great story, filled with quirky characters. I especially love that Odd is a fry cook, and that he’s able to take a measure of pride in his work (“Anyone can crack a shell and spill its essence into a pan, pot, or pipkin, but few can turn out omlets as flavorful, scrambled eggs as fluffy, and sunnysides as sunny as mine.”) The writing is amazing, too, even in the small descriptive details (“The carport leaned precipitously, as if the weight of the sunshine alone might collapse it.”)

It’s my first Dean Koontz book, so I can’t say how it compares with the rest of his stuff, but I’m definitely planning on reading the rest of the Odd Thomas books so I can find out.

Readers And Writers Blog, reading, waiting for spring, Web Fiction Guide, writing

Web Fiction Guide

I’m excited to announce that Waiting For Spring is now listed at Web Fiction Guide.

click here to read

Their mission:

“Web Fiction Guide is a community-run listing of online fiction. Our goal is to help you find stuff you want to read.

Web fiction is original fiction that writers have chosen to publish on the web — sometimes instead of on paper, sometimes as well as on paper. It runs the gamut, from complete novels, to ongoing serials (web comics without the pictures), to short story collection and anthologies.

Here at the Guide, we list anything that is original and story-oriented (we don’t list fanfic or erotica), and that is available for free to read.”

Readers get a chance to read, rate and review the works listed. If you haven’t had a chance to read Waiting For Spring, you now have one more place to find it. If you have read it, and feel so inclined as to give it a rating or review, it would be greatly appreciated. You can find it HERE

You can find lots of other great stuff there in a wide variety of genres, including Ann M. Pino’s Steal Tomorrow (see right side bar…also being serialized at Readers and Writers Blog). So check it out!

Readers And Writers Blog, reading, waiting for spring, Web Fiction Guide, writing

Web Fiction Guide

I’m excited to announce that Waiting For Spring is now listed at Web Fiction Guide.

click here to read

Their mission:

“Web Fiction Guide is a community-run listing of online fiction. Our goal is to help you find stuff you want to read.

Web fiction is original fiction that writers have chosen to publish on the web — sometimes instead of on paper, sometimes as well as on paper. It runs the gamut, from complete novels, to ongoing serials (web comics without the pictures), to short story collection and anthologies.

Here at the Guide, we list anything that is original and story-oriented (we don’t list fanfic or erotica), and that is available for free to read.”

Readers get a chance to read, rate and review the works listed. If you haven’t had a chance to read Waiting For Spring, you now have one more place to find it. If you have read it, and feel so inclined as to give it a rating or review, it would be greatly appreciated. You can find it HERE

You can find lots of other great stuff there in a wide variety of genres, including Ann M. Pino’s Steal Tomorrow (see right side bar…also being serialized at Readers and Writers Blog). So check it out!

reading, writing

I detect a dialect

Today I had to put down a novel that I’d been looking forward to reading for a long time. I’ve heard it’s a good book, and I’m sure that–one day–I’ll find that out for myself. Once I can get past one thing.

Dialect. Ugh.

I’m a reasonably intelligent woman. If an author sets his/her story in–for example–England, I have a pretty good idea how the characters are gonna sound. And if I’m further informed that a particular character speaks with a Cockney accent, I can drop the H’s for myself…please don’t do it for me if that character has more than a few lines of dialogue. Pretty please?

Or maybe it’s just me…

Heath Ledger, Melissa Etheridge, NaNoWriMo, reading, writing

Longingly

There are people on this planet who are convinced within themselves that they’ve been abducted by aliens, beamed aboard spaceships that hover just outside Earth’s various satellite detection systems, tortured by said aliens for hours on end, then returned to their homes–broken, but alive. Barely alive. I woke up this morning feeling just like that. Spent and aching, body and soul. What I needed, I decided, was to spend the day reading a book that would grab me by the hairs of my heart, so I could forget my own mental and physical anguish.

You might say that I longed for a good book.

Logically, I headed for my nearest bookstore. I left two hours later, empty handed and despondent. Note the following sentence from a randomly opened page of a book whose name and author I can’t bring myself to remember:

I looked at him longingly.

I dragged my spent and aching ass out of bed for a good book, and the best you could do, O Anonymous Author, was: I looked at him longingly?

long (verb) :
to have an earnest or strong desire or craving; yearn.

There is something seriously wrong here if the definition of the word long moves me and a character who is supposedly longing for someone does not. At this point, I don’t even care about the context. I don’t care if this character goes on for three pages to describe the “him” for whom she was longing. Hell, she could be looking longingly after Heath Ledger–who deserves all the longing looks he gets–and I wouldn’t give a shit. Because, O Anonymous Author, your character cannot look at someone longingly. I–the reader–have to long. This goes beyond the Show-Don’t-Tell mantra. This is just damned lazy writing. And yet…O Anonymous Author’s novel is sitting on my local bookstore’s shelf. Hence, my despondence.

Then, about halfway home, I heard Melissa Etheridge’s hot, rugged voice pleading from the depths of my radio:

I would dial the numbers just to listen to your breath.

Not her lover’s voice, or even her lover’s words. Just to listen to your breath. Melissa Etheridge is a woman who knows a thing or two about longing.

Just like me. Because right now, still, I am longing for a good book.