My Promise as a Writer

I promise to entertain you to the best my twisted little mind can manage. I will take you from the light, and into darkness. I might even let you see the sunrise at the end of the journey, but that I can't promise. My stories will sweep the hair from you brow, leave your stomach in knots, and suck the air from your lungs. But no matter how far we descend, I will offer you a fragment of hope to cling to. I will treat you to dark fantasy, science fiction, horror, and anything that falls into the strange and disturbing. Will we re-emerge into the light? Well, that is the point of taking the journey. I hope you will join me on these adventures.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sam of Green Cove Episodes 22-27

22. The man hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “Left my destrier and mule in that copse. Take my mount to retrieve yours.” Sam hesitantly agreed.

23. Venison steaks were broiling over a fire when Sam returned. “Your horse bites.” The man glanced toward him. “All good warhorses bite.”

24. “Name’s Jori,” The man said as he served them. “I’m a hedge knight on my way to Little Port. What’s your story?” Sam shrugged. “Run off.”

25. “Seems there’s a story there,” Jori prodded. Sam pointed to his harelip. “Because of this, I have been blamed for all the ills my village.”

26. Sam told of Green Cove, and the mysterious occurrence of the invisible dam in the bay. He finished with the mud slide. Jori kept his tongue.

27. “And now you hope to find who created this dam that is not there,” Jori surmised. “Do you have a plan.” Sam glanced to the fire. “No.”

28. “Well, Sam of no plan, may I suggest you travel with me?” Sam graced Jori with suspicious stare. “If I wished to rob you, you’d be dead.”

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sam of Green Cove Episodes 15-21

15. Sam avoided trails and roads as he fled. Despite these efforts, he spotted riders on his back trail. The riders vanished on the fourth day.
16. Sam rationed food like a miser, but found himself in need of fresh meat after a week in the forest. He hunted on foot with bow and arrow.

17. He came upon a buck drinking from a creek. Sam released the arrow before the buck picked up his scent. It was not a clean kill.

18. Sam tracked the duck for over a league before coming upon its body. “That’s the king’s deer.” Sam spun around at the voice, arrow notched.

19. “You have nothing to fear from me, boy.” The speaker was old enough to be Sam’s father. “I have little concern for king’s law when hungry.”

20. Sam stood between the man and the buck. “This is my kill.” The man shrugged. “Never said it wasn’t. That’s an awful lot of meat for a boy.”

21. The man held out a hand. “Lower the bow. I’ll carve and dress the buck while you retrieve your horse.” Sam declined. “You’ll steal from me.”

Monday, March 14, 2011

Review of David J. Pedersen's "Angst"

I quickly came to a personal realization when I sat down to write this review of David J Pedersen’s “Angst.” I am unable to discuss this book without a healthy amount of compare and contrast between the traditional publishing industry and self publishing. (For folks who don’t want to read my thoughts on the publishing industry: “Angst" is a fun read. Buy a copy now!) For eons and longer, the publishing industry has been considered the guardian of literature by offering nothing but the best from agent queries and the slush pile. Self publishing (vanity publishing) was looked down upon as the last desperate hope for a writer to see her/his name in print. But that is changing. The publishing world has been struggling--according some since the ‘70s--and has been hurt with recent technological advances like ereaders and print on demand. Add this to the Borders melt down, the rise in book prices, and the day to day struggle of brick and mortar stores, and we may be looking at the end days of the traditional publishing industry. Mid list writers seem to be the canary in this mine as they take flight into the realms of self publishing, preferring the higher royalty percentages they can earn through publishing on ereaders as opposed to the standard split offered by publishing houses when contracting out books for electronic format. Doesn’t make sense! The strongest argument in favor of the publishing industry (aside from advances) is the editorial process. The author writes the book, and seeks feedback from select readers. Revisions are made. The agent reads the manuscript after the author completes the third draft. Recommendations are sent back to the author. Revisions are made. Agent sends revised manuscript to publishing house. Editor makes more recommendations. Revisions made by author and resubmitted. And an amazing book is the result! Right? Not always. Take a look at Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, the last six books by David and Leigh Eddings, and (breaking from genre here) Tom Clancy. They all stink. Jordan was unable to write a grammatically correct sentence, character development was nonexistent, and he loved plot holes like I love chocolate chip cookies. And he went through the process! The others suffer from the same inabilities. But David J. Pedersen did not go through the traditional publishing process, and his book, “Angst,” was significantly better. He did this with the help of his wife and a few select friends, and that is no easy feat. Sure “Angst" is rough around the edges at times, but again I point out Pedersen did this without the feedback of an agent or editor. He is better than the folks mentioned above, and succeeded in entertaining me. (So if I offended your fandom of the above writers, this is your clue you won’t be disappointed with Pedersen.) So now it is your turn to go be entertained by a self publisher, and pick up your copy. Ereader copies are under $3. If you want a paper copy, you can find it on Amazon for $13.95. Now go read “Angst”!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sam of Green Cove Episodes 8-14

7. By now the villagers blamed all miscarriages, deaths, early frosts, and any general calamity on Sam and his harelip. He was a lonely boy.

8. Tragedy struck when Sam was fifteen. Rains soaked the ground lumberjacks had cleared. Mud slides killed many, and the bay filled with homes.

9. Sam’s father was among the dead. The village was in shock with the southern quadrant in ruins, and two dozen strong men missing or dead.
 10. Fingers pointed at Sam, and lips whispered maliciously. A village meeting was called, and Sam knew his time limited before the mob arrived.

11. His mother hastily packed food and clothes as Sam saddled his father’s horse. She gave him a rusty sword before pushing him into the night.

12. In the hills above the cove, Sam watched torches converge on his mother’s cottage. He wiped tears from his eyes as men forced their way in.

13. Smoke billowed from the door and windows as Sam turned the horse into the trail. He set the mount to a trot as torches fanned out behind.

14. Sam knew returning to Green Cove demanded he clear his name. He was determined to discover the cause behind the cove’s invisible dam.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review of Wild Cards Vol. 4

I took my time with George R. R. Martin's fourth instalment in the "Wild Cards" series, not because I wanted to savour the experience, but because I kept finding better things to do. Usually when this happens I put the book down, and add it to the stack waiting to be shelved. This time I pushed through. The only reason I managed to finish this volume is due to constant reminders of the size of the series, and the number of contributing writers. In a series that spans twenty plus volumes, well there are going to be stinkers included in the titles. There is no way of getting around it. I am not ready to turn my back on the "Wild Cards" series simply because the fourth volume was sloppier than uncontained diarrhoea. Besides, there were some excellent moments in this volume, and some wonderful promises--the latter mostly concerned with Senator Hartman. The excerpts from Desmond's journal held the weaker stories together. And the final third! Wow! Talk about a rally! The book finally begins to take off, to its stride, and return to the quality story arcs and story telling that made the first three such fun. Still, it was not enough to wash away the bad taste the first two thirds left in my mouth. I will read the fifth volume, but I'm not looking forward to it as much as I had with the previous instalments.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sam of Green Cove Episodes 1-7

1. Sam was born in Green Cove the night fire consumed the sawmill. He was born with a harelip. The villagers murmured over omens and portents.

2. On Sam’s third birthdate, the waters of Green Cove receded by three meters as though held back by an invisible dam. His deformity was blamed.

3. The water wall was above Sam’s head when he was ten. He played below the pier with the other children, splashing in the wall, watching fish.

4. Parents did not permit children to play near the water wall, fearing the unnatural occurrence. However, Sam’s father knew where to find him.

5. Sam followed his frowning father home without complaint. “The mayor’s wife believes you gave her milk cow the evil eye before it died.”

6. Sam protested the accusation of the mayor’s wife, and his father believed him. But a father’s faith was not enough. He stayed home in fear.

7. By now the villagers blamed all miscarriages, deaths, early frosts, and any general calamity on Sam and his harelip. He was a lonely boy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sam of Green Cove

I'm having fun writing a fantasy series, Sam of Green Cove, designed to fit the constraints of Twitter. The challenge of writing 140 character posts is manifesting itself in wonderful ways. For each post, I found myself sitting before the keyboard with enough material for 2,000 words or more. Trying to condense these thoughts into something significantly smaller dots my forehead with sweat. As of now, my only complaint arises when I am forced to abandon the perfect word(s) in favour of a weaker counterpart due to character constraints. At such times, I remind myself that this exercise will enhance my future writing endeavours. In the meantime, the series can be followed on Twitter. For those who do not have a Twitter account, I will be combining the daily posts into a blog that will appear here every Sunday (Not later than 1200 Pacific time). Hope you enjoy Sam of Green Cove!