Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WWW Wednesday 8-27-14

WWW Wednesday

Hosted by Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

-What are you currently reading?

Geek Wisdom by N. k. Jemisin et Al. I stumbled across this and thought “I need to read this.” So I’m reading it, and it’s as awesome as I anticipated.

-What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund. It was a great little story with some awesome characters.

I also read Dewitched: The Untold Story of the Evil Queen by E. L. Sarnoff. This was a really cool book. The evil queen from Snow White (Jane) goes to rehab because she’s addicted to evil. She meets up with a bunch of other fairytale characters, works through her issues, and eventually gets placed in a sort of field placement to help her kick evil for good. Jane’s voice is funny. The story is funny, and it’s a great story about changing one’s life.

Lastly, I tackled Avalon High by Meg Cabot, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I saw the live-action Disney movie back in 2011, and I expected the book to be the same. Spoiler alert, it isn’t, but I enjoyed the book anyway.

-What do you think you’ll read next?

A Wonderlandiful World, book 3 in Shannon Hale’s Ever After High series, came out yesterday. The Dying of the Light (Skullduggery Pleasant, #9) by Derek Landy comes out tomorrow. I’ve preordered Landy’s and am waiting. The nanosecond it’s in my hand, it will be read. I may read Hale’s before, or I may read it after. Either way, it will get read.

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle posts on Twitter @desantismt

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Monday, August 25, 2014

HIGH TIDE BIKINI by Lyla Dune

HIGH TIDE BIKINI (Pleasure Island, #3)
by Lyla Dune

Hot and Hilarious with Heart!

Primary love story:
Dirk Davis is no knight in shining armor, more like gigilo in board shorts. Why twenty-five year old virgin Kendal Duvall has chosen to have a fling with him leaves him baffled. She’s the epitome of the wholesome girl-next-door. He is definitely attracted to her, but fears she’s luring him into a boyfriend trap. He’s never had a serious girlfriend, because he’s made taking care of his ailing father a priority, one that sometimes hinders his social life and stunts his ambitions.

Kendal Duvall has struggled to break free from her controlling mother and move past some dark memories. Now that she’s finally moved out on her, she’s ready to explore uncharted territory, bedroom territory. Who better to be her guide than the local playboy who is known for being both discreet and good in bed?

Secondary love story: At age sixteen, Spencer Harris was paralyzed from the waist down after a head-on collision with a drunk driver. Ten years later, Spencer tries to come to terms with her desire to have the happily ever after she’s always dreamed of and the reality of what that happily ever after may look like in her current condition. She has so much love to give but doesn’t want to put limitations or burdens on others.

Earl Washington is a ball of insecurities after spending some time in jail and being labeled a bad egg. He’s ready to take charge of his life and pursue his dreams, but he longs for the love of a good woman. Spencer is the woman he wants, but will she want him when she finds out his deepest secrets?

High Tide Bikini is the third book in the Pleasure Island series. It takes place on an island that is home to some zany characters, an ostrich farm, and a senior citizen nudist colony. If you like romance with plenty of sizzle and giggle, you’ll love this series.

EXCERPT
Atop his favorite ostrich, Robirrrda, Dirk rode up to Bare Point, the local senior citizen nudist colony.

Brock Knight and Trent McAllister were running after the rogue ostrich named Spike and having no luck at all. No wonder Carl called him. Those guys didn’t know how to handle these birds. But they sure turned all the old ladies into screaming fans.

He ought to be used to seeing these old people naked, but he still found himself gawking. It was like Madame Tussaud’s wax museum rejects got over-heated and melted. It creeped him out, but he couldn’t help but stare.

Spike trotted around the tents on the beach. Louise jiggle-jogged toward the bird, reaching out as if she was going to catch it with her bare hands. Crazy lady. Brock must not have seen her, because he ran right into her and knocked the woman flat on her back. His muscular Mr. Universe body landed right on top of her, nose to nose. She wrapped her tanned, leathery arms and beefy legs around Brock and gave him a big smooch. Gross. Ha. Dirk wouldn’t be surprised if Brock swam back across the pond to Wales in horror after that one.

Trent stopped and put his hands on his knees. His shoulders heaving. Was he okay? He straightened and held his stomach, laughing so hard he seemed to be having trouble breathing. Yeah. He was fine.

Dirk adjusted himself in his saddle, readied his lasso, and whispered to Robirrrda. “Ready, girl?”

Robirrrda made a clucking noise and scratched the ground.

He gave her hind end a light heel kick and off they went, full speed ahead. Everyone turned and cheered when he came charging up the dune on his two-legged, avian steed, lasso circling above his head like Roy Rogers.

Weaving around lounge chairs, and coolers, knocking over three umbrellas, and demolishing a sandcastle—the chase was on.

When Henry, a chubby old man with bigger boobs than his wife’s, tripped while trying to get out of Dirk’s way, Robirrrda flapped her wings and was airborne, briefly. She changed directions with her long neck outstretched horizontally, parallel with the ground. Dirk was jostled side to side, as her claws scratched up clumps of sand and sent the globs flying behind them.

Spike slowed down to a trot when he reached the fence, searching for a way around it.

Dirk tossed his lasso and hooked Spike on the first try. “I got you, you rascal.”

Cheers and whistles sounded behind him. He got off Robirrrda’s back and walked over to Spike and petted his neck. “Why you got to always cause trouble, huh?”

The bird looked at him, then rubbed his head on Dirk’s shoulder. “Crazy bird. I’m not mad at you. I reckon if I was trapped behind a wire fence all the time, I’d try to make a break for it every chance I got too. Freedom’s important to a guy.”

~Buy High Tide Bikini on Amazon.

~Add it on Goodreads.

ABOUT LYLA

Lyla Dune has taught music for eighteen years, played saxophone and clarinet in numerous orchestras and ensembles, taught piano, written songs, and repaired more musical instruments than she can recall. Yes, in case you’re wondering, you can fix the rotary valve on a student’s French horn with a paper clip and a rubber band three minutes before the kid’s horn solo at Lincoln Center.

How did Lyla become a writer? A few years ago, she stumbled across a poetry forum online and dabbled in poetry for kicks. She became a word junkie. She’s published poetry, flash fiction, and short stories in many different genres.

She lives on the coast of North Carolina with her husband, Gary, and her cat, Miura. One day, she’d like to have a pet ostrich. She’d name it Robirrrda, after the ostrich in Low Tide Bikini.

Visit Lyla’s website. Connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest, and follow her on Twitter @Lyladune.

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle posts on Twitter @desantismt

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Friday, August 22, 2014

SILVER WOLF CLAN by Tera Shanley

SILVER WOLF CLAN
by Tera Shanley

What happens when monsters turn out to be real? One summer night while camping in the woods, Morgan Carter finds out in a big way. A tall mysterious stranger, Greyson Crawford, risks his life to try and save her sister from the vicious wolf attacking their camp. When he’s bitten and disappears into the night, Morgan can only assume the worst.

Greyson shows up a year later, and he’s a different animal altogether. His eye color shifts constantly and the rumble in his throat sounds more animal than human. She hasn’t any idea where he’s been all this time, but a good guess as to what he’s become.

Grey is determined not to let the darkness of his new existence affect Morgan and the little girl in her care. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Morgan but knows he should stay away and let her live a normal life. That’s easier said than done, though. A new danger pulls him from the shadows to keep her safe, and he’s no wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Can she accept what lurks just below his surface? More importantly, can she survive him?

EXCERPT
Grey’s arms and legs were on fire, burning from his very veins, blistering every nerve ending on the way out. Why was the pain tearing through his chest? He tried to hail the woman but nothing came out except a quiet groan. Was he dying? He arched his neck toward her sister. Her body was so mangled it was all but unrecognizable as human. The girl’s eyes were open, fixed, staring back at him. She was dead. Would he die, too? What was that thing? That monster?

Maybe this was all a dream. Maybe he still slept, back in his campsite a quarter of a mile away. He’d been sleeping there only a few minutes ago. Maybe he was just having a vivid night terror and he’d wake at any moment to the relief that this wasn’t real. The girl slid over to him, but he was already panting in pain. Fire in his blood burned him up.

Her mouth moved, but he couldn’t hear anything over the roaring in his ears. Like helicopter blades, the sound drowned out everything. Her lips were full, and when his vision blurred, he tried to focus on her face. She was beautiful. Tiny. Delicate like a hummingbird. Even through spilling tears, the moss green color of her eyes was clear and compelling.

Her voice overcame the screeching in his ears. “What’s your name?”

“Greyson,” he rasped. “Greyson Crawford.” Someone should know who he was. Notify Dad what had happened there in the woods of Enchanted Rock. “What’s yours?” It was getting so hard to breathe. He had to know. He’d leave the world on her name.

“Morgan. My name’s Morgan.”

~Buy SILVER WOLF CLAN:

-Amazon
-B&N
-Kobo

ABOUT TERA

Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love. A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book. Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors. For more information about Tera and her work, visit www.terashanley.com.

Find Tera online:

-website-blog
-Facebook
-Twitter @terashanley
-Goodreads

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Hey, readers,

Intense excerpt, there.

Follow the rest of the tour

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Tera will be awarding a $10 Amazon Gift Card to THREE randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle posts on Twitter @desantismt

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WWW Wednesday 8-20-14

WWW Wednesday

Hosted by Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

-What are you currently reading?

Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund. I thought I’d give it a try after finishing Aurelia. Liking it so far.

-What did you recently finish reading?

Many things, as you can see. Stephanie Burgis’s Courting Magic was wonderfully adorable. Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Assassin was amazing, and it ended on a cliffhanger, and I’m now waiting extremely impatiently for the next one. Ridley Pearson’s Disney at Dawn was cool. I started it a while ago and finished it up this week. I have a feeling this is one of those series I’m going to get really into around book 5 and then have to go back and reread everything.

I also read some shorter stuff this week. I finished the first three prequel stories for Cameron Jace’s Grimm Diaries—Snow White Blood Red, Ashes to Ashes and Cinder to Cinder, and Beauty Never Dies. I also read the first in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles crossover books—Son of Sobek. And lastly, I read A Test of Metal, an Iron Druid Chronicles short story by Kevin Hearne.

-What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m going to snag the second Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles crossover book this week. Beyond that, Banner of the Damned by Sherwood Smith is pretty high on my to-read list. We’ll see what happens.

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle posts on Twitter @desantismt

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Monday, August 18, 2014

PROPHECY REVEALED by Ron Hartman

PROPHECY REVEALED
by Ron Hartman

Daniel Marten crossed the Burning Sea and convinced himself that he is the Prophesied One. But what does that mean? In this second installment of the Prophecy Chronicles trilogy, Daniel forges new alliances in his bid to save Naphthali from the Emperor. He meets the Tene’breon, a magical race that has evolved to use the Weave as effortlessly as he breathes air. The leaders of this race recognize him for what he is…but they also see something more.

Naphthali has been dramatically altered by the rule of a new governor, a man whose power is tied to Daniel in a horrifying way. How far will Daniel go to save Naphthali? And what is the secret that binds his destiny with his new allies? Only time will tell in The Prophecy Chronicles: Prophecy Revealed.

EXCERPT
Rage started to build inside Daniel. He closed his right hand into a tight fist and felt a dull ache that quickly gave way to burning pain. Of course that was alright too, because that was as it should be. He looked back to his desk and there, on the now cluttered surface was—Ah! His solace. The ones he turned to at his darkest moments. Ashley and the kids beamed at him from photos.

He turned to the thing doing a poor job of mimicking one of his closest friends. Her eyes flashed orange and she gave off a series of clicks as realization struck. She may be orchestrating this, but it's my mind, and I can control what happens. He looked at the pictures of his beloved family and considered his office, his refuge. She'd perverted it, desecrated it. Rage continued to build, and Daniel knew soon he would be powerless to stop it. Let it. He didn't want to stop. Still looking at the photos, he started to speak, his voice shaking with fury. "These are my family, my friends. I give them my time, and my care." He turned to not-Meg. "You are not one of them, and you will have no more." The last came out in a roar as he closed the distance between himself and his tormentor.

He opened his right fist and clamped it around not-Meg's throat, slamming her to the wall. The burning grew to encase his entire arm when he tightened his grip, but he refused to let go. He pulled his face to within inches of hers, and glared with suddenly steely eyes. "Who are you?" he growled.

~Buy PROPHECY REVEALED at the Rogue Phoenix website.

AN INTERVIEW WITH RON
-What made you want to write?

I remember when I was in grade school deciding I wanted to write a novel. I sat down at the computer and cranked out about five or six pages of my masterpiece…and ran out of material. At that point I realized writing was probably a little more challenging than I first thought! I am a voracious reader, though, and have been ever since grade school. At that time I kept reading, but I put aside the idea of writing for the time being.

It wasn’t until about seven years ago that I seriously considered writing again. At the time I had a job that I had to travel a lot for, and the hours in the car gave me time to think. I had time to nourish kernels of ideas, some of which had been bouncing around in my head since I was in high school. I can tell you, if you have several hours a day to drive and think, James Blunt’s music can be one heck of a muse! Most of the broad strokes of the Prophecy Chronicles trilogy were nailed down in my mind at that time.

I wrote an outline for the trilogy then, but again I got side-tracked and it was about another year and half before I actually started writing the books. The first two books in The Prophecy Chronicles, Prophecy Foretold and now Prophecy Revealed, are available, and the final installment is being polished as we speak.

-What draws you to fantasy?

I’ve always been drawn to Fantasy. The first real book (meaning lots of chapters and no pictures) that I remember reading was The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I’ve been hooked ever since, though my tastes have broadened some since that time. A couple of years later I read The Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever series by Stephen R Donaldson. Parts of that series stuck with me ever since childhood. When I was ready to write The Prophecy Chronicles, I knew the protagonist (Daniel Marten) would be pulled from our world into a strange new place where everyone recognized him, but he didn’t know what they wanted. From these foundations in fantasy, The Prophecy Chronicles was born, and the rest, as they say, is history!

-Name a fun fact you learned researching this project.

Did you know that in the Middle Ages assassins from India used a weapon called the Katar? It had a blade like a knife attached to a handle kind of like brass knuckles, so when the user made a fist the blade stuck out from his knuckles (think Wolverine-style in the X-Men…). It could be used as a piercing or slashing weapon, and could be quite effective in the right hands.

That was the foundation for the A-blade, a weapon that is near and dear to Daniel Marten’s heart. In my version of the Katar, there is not a single knife blade. Instead, the entire weapon looks like a capital letter “A”, where the slanted sides are sharpened blades and the cross-piece is the handle. When wielded, the blades extend down to a few inches past the user’s wrist, and the point rises out in front of his knuckles. In the first book of The Prophecy Chronicles, it was carried by Daniel’s friend and protector Soren, but in Prophecy Revealed it has been passed on to Daniel. When Soren is telling Daniel about the blade, he even gives it its actual name in Naphthali—the Katareen. Sounds familiar, huh?

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

Hands down, it would be Ashley, Daniel’s wife. She is patterned in large part on my own wife, who is my best friend, so I think she’d be the most fun to hang out with. Actually, in the book Ashley is frequently mentioned, but not really brought to the fore, so maybe she wouldn’t count. I think of the characters that take center stage, I would have to say Bastion. He is a member of a race of people that are magically enhanced humans called the Tene’breon. He’s also a master of a magical martial art called Shal’tiar. He probably wouldn’t drink with you, but he would be very calm and friendly, and would have many interesting insights to share. You’d also know you were safe—he’d kick the butt of anyone trying to cause trouble!

-For aspiring writers, any tips?

Be brave, be tenacious! It can be extremely difficult to get a book published. The deck truly is stacked against new talent in this business, so you’d need to be prepared for large, heaping portions of rejection. Probably your best bet for starting out would be to send queries to smaller publishing houses. It took me about two years to find my publisher, Rogue Phoenix Press, and it has been smooth sailing ever since!

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

I don’t think I could write a romance novel. I do believe in true love, and I believe in being bowled over by it. My relationship with my wife is proof of that. I think I would like to write a love story someday, but it would have to be in the mold of either fantasy or mainstream fiction. Just thinking about the heaving loins and ripped bodices in romance novels makes me giggle like a school girl…

ABOUT RON

Ron Hartman has had a life-long passion for the written word and is an avid reader. The Prophecy Chronicles are his first written works. The first in the series, Prophecy Foretold, was released in October of 2012. Prophecy Revealed is the second in the trilogy. Ron graduated from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy in 2000 and lives in Ottumwa, Iowa with his wife and three children.

Visit Ron’s website.

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Join me in thanking Ron for an awesome interview!

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle posts on Twitter @desantismt

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Friday, August 15, 2014

THE REVENANT by Elise Abram

THE REVENANT
by Elise Abram

He wears neither cape nor cowl, but Zulu is a superhero, nevertheless.

Raised from the dead as a revenant more than a hundred years ago, Zulu possesses Spiderman’s stealth, Superman’s speed, and Batman’s keen intellect. His only companion is Morgan the Seer, an old man cursed with longevity and the ability to see the future in his dreams. Zulu has spent the last century training with Morgan in order to save the people in his nightmares from certain and violent death. Branded a vigilante by the Media, Zulu must live his life in the shadows, travelling by night or in the city’s underground unless his quest demands otherwise.

Kat is an empath, someone who sees emotions as colourful auras. Relentlessly bullied by her peers, and believing her life amounts to nothing but a huge cosmic mistake, she finds purpose in her abilities when she is recruited to help Zulu and Morgan complete their missions.

Malchus is Morgan’s long dead twin brother. A powerful necromancer, Malchus manages to find a way to return to the living, and he has a score to settle with Morgan. Believing Morgan responsible for his death and out to seek revenge, Malchus begins to raise an army of undead minions and use them to hunt Morgan down. As Malchus closes in on Morgan and his charges, the trio soon realizes the people most in need of saving are themselves.

EXCERPT
He was relaxed and breathing slowly when he heard a growl and then a squeak. He opened his eyes to see Barb on her knees with her back to him. She was holding something near her face. Malchus imagined all sorts of things that could be the matter. At the top of the list was that, given the damp and the cold this time of year, his earlier pat on the back was premature; she was beginning to decompose. Like Red, it would only be a short matter of time before she would die for good and he would be forced to find another pet. How could he be expected to build an army of minions to help him fulfil his destiny— whatever that proved to be—at this rate?

“Barb?” he said quietly. “Are you okay?”

Barb grunted a low grunt.

Malchus heard something that sounded like cracking bone. He stood and walked slowly around to face Barb. She was working to frantically shove the remnants of whatever she had in her hands into her mouth. Blood covered the lower half of her face and her hands and dripped down her forearms, off her elbows, and had begun to pool on the floor. The sleeves of her sweater, rolled up her arms and above her elbows, were saturated.

Having pushed the last of whatever it was she had been eating into her mouth, Barb set to licking the blood off her fingers and then from her forearms. She rolled down her sleeves until they covered her hands, and then placed the material into her mouth and sucked the blood from them as well.

“Barb!” Malchus said, sickened in spite of himself.

Barb looked up at him, eyes wide with fear, the cuff of one of her sleeves still between her lips.

“What are you eating?” he said, sounding calmer than the thump of Hal’s heart would indicate.

“Rat.” The sweater cuff fell from her mouth when she spoke. She licked her lips, and as if realizing there was still blood to be had on her face, wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand, looked at it, then pressed it against her mouth and sucked.

Afraid she might eat her own hand next, Malchus said, “Why?”

“Hungry.” Her answer was garbled as she said it with her lips still against the back of her hand.

~Buy THE REVENANT:

-Amazon
-B&N
-Black Rose Publishers

~Add THE REVENANT on Goodreads. Also find it on Elise’s website and Facebook.

AN INTERVIEW WITH ELISE
-What inspired you to become a writer?

I've always written fiction for as long as I knew how. I think the first time I remember trying to write a novel was after reading a chapter book about a brother and sister who find a treasure map in their tree house and go about looking for the treasure. I remember plotting out my own book with a similar idea and structure and writing a few chapters as well.

-What draws you to horror and the supernatural?

I like a good scare. I've always liked horror movies, but more of the thriller kind than of the slasher variety, like "Psycho", "An American Werewolf in London" or "Videodrome". There is some good horror television out there now, like "Supernatural" and "Sleepy Hollow" to name a few. I think what I like best is that most supernatural characters are bound by a set of rules that people can discover and exploit. For example, when a vampire attacks you in your home all you have to do is rescind his invitation and you are safe. Also, vampires usually react to garlic and are afraid of the cross and they can't go out during the day or walk on hallowed ground. It's fun to see how people play with those rules, recombine them or omit them, to shake things up.

-What’s a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book?

The most interesting fact I learned researching this book is about the whole idea of revenants. The word is usually used to describe someone who has returned after a long absence. There are very old stories of people claiming to see the deceased after they had been buried. When the stories persisted, some of the graves were exhumed. Villagers were surprised to see the skin tone had reddened and the bodies had bloated. Knowing nothing about the decomposition process, they thought this meant the corpse had risen from the grave and fed. Similar stories were told revolving around vampire sightings. The remedy for this situation was to cut off the heads of the corpses so they couldn't rise again. The difference between historic vampires and historic revenants is that revenants were believed to have died violently and return to terrorize still-living friends and family and/or to complete unfinished business.

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

I might like to grab a coffee with Zulu to pick his brain about what it was like to live in historic Toronto. I graduated from university with a degree in cultural anthropology and began working as an archaeologist on sites in the Greater Toronto Area. I think I picked historic Toronto as the birthplace of Zulu, Morgan and Malchus in The Revenant because I studied so much about that time period. I'd like to know if Zulu remembered anything about the sites I worked on and if we were right about the assumptions we made about the sites based on the archaeological record.

-For aspiring writers, any tips?

The most important thing you can do is to silence your inner critic. That's the voice in your head telling you that your writing is no good and any negative comments you receive about your writing must be true. The more you write, the better you'll get, but you'll never get better if you don't write. The hardest thing you'll do when you come out as a writer will be to develop a thick skin. Listen to the people who offer you constructive criticism when you seek it, and ignore everyone else. Write the story you want to read. Read about what others have to say about writing, and then just write.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

Fantasy is probably the one genre I could never write. Though I love both reading and writing science fiction and the two are closely related, I tend to shy away from fantasy. The science fiction that interests me most is that which takes place in a world similar to ours, where one small thing is changed in the way people live their lives and the story is about them trying to cope with the world around them. My favourite examples from television are "Revolution" (no electricity), "Extant" (a woman returns from 13 months' isolation in space to learn she's pregnant), and "Defiance" (humans must survive alongside a variety of aliens). In literature it's The Talisman (boy discovers he can travel to an alternate version of earth) by Stephen King or Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse novels (vampires, werewolves and witches are real). I would rather examine human conflict and cultural and societal mores in the context of a near future earth than on a distant planet with different species masking the human condition.

A GUEST POST

Do Writers Really Write with Themes?

We've all experienced it, sitting in English class, listening to the teacher drone on about all of the intricate ins and outs of a work of literature, feeling the frustration because we saw none of it as we read.

I felt this most keenly in first year University English as the professor lectured about James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The lecture was on religious symbolism and I learned virtually everything Joyce worked into that book, from a girl's white hands to the protagonist's bed-wetting episode, was mired in Catholic symbolism and religious themes. No wonder it went over my head, I remember thinking. I'm not Catholic. The trouble was, looking at my classmates was like looking into a mirror reflecting a sea of perplexed faces, and many of them were raised in the Catholic faith from birth.

It was then I questioned: how much of what the prof was saying was Joyce's doing and how much was the prof imposing his own Catholic beliefs onto the material?

Flash forward some years, and I find myself having written a novel on the precipice of publication, reading an article about how a study guide might help sales by enticing teachers and book clubs to read it. I think this an amazing idea and sit to write it, hitting a roadblock when it comes time to discuss the themes in the novel. The problem is, as a devout disliker of books written exclusively to bring a social theme to the forefront, I had allowed them to take a back seat. My primary goal in writing The Revenant was to pen a good story, and not to awaken social consciousness in my readers.

It was then I understood what I'd always suspected to be true. Unless authors are writing in a vacuum, unless they've been separated from the rest of the society since birth, they can't help but incorporate thematic ideas into their writing. The words we write tell a story taking place in a specific moment in time. Because the characters we create must experience society at that time in history, authors can't help but make commentary about social issues.

The Revenant is case in point.

Kat, the empath and lead female character, is bullied by her peers for being different. She learns from Zulu, the revenant in the story, that what others think doesn't matter as long as you are comfortable in your own skin. I'd say that's a theme, a hidden message to my readers which makes a comment about the human condition.

A young girl, despondent because her father is an alcoholic and beats her mother, is prevented from committing suicide by Kat and Zulu who take her to Father Paul for help. This hopes to teach teens that suicide is not a coping mechanism, and help is always a stone's throw away.

The role of the media and whether or not instant news worldwide is necessarily a good thing is another theme in The Revenant. The Seer frequently muses over the evils and benefits of the lightning speed with which information is shared. There is also discussion of the reality of reality television, the Seer's favourite genre of programming.

All told I counted eight themes that might generate important discussion in a classroom or book club.

I still haven't answered the question of whether or not I consciously write with themes. I think the answer is, sort of. As I said earlier, I concentrate primarily on telling a good story. But whenever the opportunity presents, I run with it, adding character and narrative commentary to draw attention to the point I want to make. For me, incorporating theme (and symbolism) is more organic than planned. In the end, I don't want to beat my readers over the head with a wet thematic statement. Instead, because I want them to enjoy the story first, I drop thematic crumbs for them to follow while reading in order to generate critical discussion afterward.

ABOUT ELISE

Teacher of English and Computer Studies by day, wife and mother by night and author whenever she can steal some time, Elise Abram is the proud author of Phase Shift, The Mummy Wore Combat Boots, and Throwaway Child, available on Amazon and KoboBooks. She pens a blog about literature, popular culture and the human condition whenever the muse moves her. Elise's fourth book, a young adult paranormal thriller entitled The Revenant is now available wherever books are sold.

Find Elise online:

-website
-Amazon author page
-Facebook author page
-Twitter @eliseabram
-Goodreads

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle posts on Twitter @desantismt

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WWW Wednesday 8-13-14

WWW Wednesday

Hosted by Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

-What are you currently reading?

I discovered Stephanie Burgis a while ago, and I love her work. This novella came out yesterday. Loving it so far.

-What did you recently finish reading?

I’ve been rereading the first few Skullduggery Pleasant books in preparation for the last one that comes out at the end of the month. So I wasn’t as productive with reading new stuff this week. That said, I finished Exile (Aurelia, 2). It didn’t end as I expected, which was pretty cool. I also picked up Uncovered, book to in S. X. Bradley’s ya mystery series, and read it in a day. The last page was a cliffhanger of the worst (and best) variety, and I’m waiting for book 3 now.

I also read some short stories this week: “Ice Study” by Maria V. Snyder and “The Queen’s Army” by Marissa Meyer.

-What do you think you’ll read next?

Still this. This also came out yesterday. I opted to read Courting Magic first because it’s about 500 pages shorter. But once I finish that novella, I’m digging my teeth into this.

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle posts on Twitter @desantismt

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