Category Archives: Sunday Reads

Mirages and Speculations

Setting is a crucial part of storytelling. Setting affects the story in many ways. What challenges do the protagonists face from nature and their environment? How has the landscape shaped the culture of the people who live there?

There are some common tropes for fantasy and sci-fi stories. Fantasy stories are often set in a parallel version of medieval Europe, with small villages, walled towns and thick forests to traverse. Sci-fi stories are often set on gleaming high-tech space stations. There’s nothing wrong with these settings, of course. Sometimes they suit the story perfectly.

But an unexpected setting can result in an unexpected kind of story.

Mirages and Speculations is a fantasy and sci-fi story set in a different kind of landscape: the desert. Think wind-swept plateaus, scorching sands, and arroyos. Come discover if that glimmer on the desert horizon is a lake, or the gleam of light off the side of a flying saucer. If those swirling clouds are dust devils–or djinn.

Seventeen authors of science fiction and fantasy take you into worlds both futuristic and fantastic under the desert skies.

You can order it as print or e-book from Amazon here.

Sunday Review: The Murderer’s Daughter

Caveat: This is the first Jonathan Kellerman novel I’ve read. It won’t be the last.

Kellerman breaks the mold of most thriller writers. He doesn’t rely on heavy plotting and endless bullets flying. Instead, he focuses on his protagonist, Grace Blades, generating genuine sympathy and concern for an intelligent child born into home of uncaring and abusive parents. Little Grace must find her own sources of food and comfort–the former consists of crumbs and trailer park hand outs; the latter she finds in books. While he has us concerned about poor little Grace, he brings us to her present day, where she is a skilled psychologist at the top of her game, with an eccentric side she keeps hidden.

Who Grace is and how she got there is what drives the reader through most of the book. That, and someone from her past who, under a false name, seeks her out. Someone from her childhood who has connections to an evil day that gives birth to the largest turning point in her life. Someone who is murdered after he leaves her office.

Kellerman weaves a dual timeline together masterfully, keeping the reader intrigued and anticipating what poor little Grace will have to face and how she will heal, while Dr. Blades seeks a killer from her past who is also seeking her. All the while, Kellerman keeps this about Grace Blades, entirely. It is about her actions, thoughts, reactions, planning, feelings, emptiness and sense of justice.

There is much a writer can learn from where he segues, and how he keeps the reader concerned about little Grace when we know she survives to be Dr. Blades. Kellerman manages to transcend his genre with character, while anchoring us with enough immediacy to turn the page and see what’s on the next.

In my opinion, the ending was cut too short. There were a couple of “false starts.” Once, it looked like Grace would be the subject of an investigation but the detective just disappears from the novel. Another time, the threat loomed larger than what it ended up as. Perhaps the worst was that hundreds of complications could’ve arisen, but none of them were explored. This novel succeeded on the journey, not the destination, but it kept me turning the pages until the end, and that is enough for me to read another.

Sunday Reads: 12 August 2012

Inspiration? Motivation? Publishing news? Check out today’s reads:

 

Cory Doctorow – Apple Won’t Carry an Ebook Because it Mentions Amazon

Amanda S Green – Where Are the Howls of Outrage?

Chris Meadows – Is David Pogue Bourne to be Wild, or a Bourne Loser?

James Scott Bell – 7 Things Writers Need to do Right Now

Ed Cyzewski – When Self-Publishing is More Useful as a Marketing Tool

Jane Friedman – What Authors Seem to Forget About Marketing – Especially Those Who Dislike It

Self-Publishing Review – Book Sales Aren’t Everything

Adrien-Luc Sanders – Six Minutes

Joanna Penn – Marketing Direct to Kindle Readers

August McLaughlin – Pinterest-Friendly Blog Posts: 5 Important Steps

 

 

Missed any Fictorians articles this week?

Nancy DiMauro – Promises to Keep

David Carrico – It’s a Book Review! (Fictorian style)

Frank Morin – Building Wisdom

Sunday Reads: 5 August 2012

Looking for some reads to inspire you? Check out these.

Brian Keene – How to Write 80,000 Words in a Weekend

Erin Bowman – Facing the Blank Page

Guest Blogger Patti Larsen at The Other Side of the Story – One Writer’s Process

James Scott Bell – Successful Fiction Begins With a Great Concept

Roger Colby – 5 Ways to Work With Stubborn Writing

Kyle Wiens – I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar

Rachel Aaron – A New Look at Plotting

Amanda S Green – And Now We Wait

Dystel & Goderich – What Really Happened with the Pulitzer

Alison Strachan – Writing Goals: Learning How to Learn About Writing

 

Missed any Fictorians articles this week?

Evan Braun – Interlocking Pieces (a.k.a. The Martin Effect)

Leigh Galbreath – How to Make Highway Robbery Work for You

Matt Jones – Distractions – Stop Working Against Your Technology