Hello. I’m back. Really! This is not a test or a clever way to sell ShamWow, I am really back after a couple of months of painful, brain-bending writing. Not fun. Found out firsthand how ugly it can be when your mind takes a long stroll off a short pier.
Let me explain…
In Sept. I began a new book called Unwilling Gate and it was going to be cool. Had it all mapped out in my mind how it would lay out: thrills, chills, a gorefest, horror, urban fantasy, paranormal, suspense, the whole ball of wax and the kit-n-kaboodle.
At the end of the month I took a look at the 50k words I had written and realized one very important thing: it sucked. Big time.
How humbling is that? From great reviews for Things to do in Denver when you’re Un-dead to a major-league suckfest in 3.2 seconds. I felt worse than a politician who got caught with his hands in the cookie jar.
Needless to say, I did the only thing I could….I drank. Quite a bit actually. And took a serious amount of Prilosec. How could I write when what I produced wasn’t worth being chopped up for ukulele picks? I drowned my sorrows in vodka (of course) and amaretto and cursed my muse up one side and down the other.
When I finally sobered up, I realized the ginormous ass I was, behaving like a pouting 4-year-old and went back to the computer to type another story, but this time I would make it work! This time I would make myself and my ancestors proud of my artistic scribblings. This time I would hit the friggerty mother lode.
Of course that’s not how it worked out. What happened was I sat and slaved like a mad dog to produce the third book in my BSI series, I left my haunt in San Francisco. The book has merit, I believe, but is it one of my better works? I have no clue.
The experience with Unwilling Gate tore out the underpinnings from my certainty, from my confidence and shook me to the core. Looking at your work and realizing it’s crap will do that to you. We all want to write the next great American novel. We all want to be Steinbeck or Hemmingway or Faulkner and what I realized is that I just need to be Mark Stone, no matter where it leads me.
Okay, angst for the memories, let’s get to some long overdue reviews. I feel like three different kinds of crap for not posting them before and there is no excuse, safe to say that I was too busy being a dipshit to get the job done. So…here goes:
Legends Reborn (The Light Of Epertase) by Douglas Brown. I received the ARC a long time ago and it took a while for me to read it, not because I didn’t want to, but because my TBR pile is off the hook. Eventually, I got around to reading it and am very glad I did. The book follows Rasi, a man blamed for a crime he did not commit and has been sentenced to fight against a monster called a rashta. He wins, but at what cost? Well, I won’t spoil it for you except to say the book turns into quite a nice little military fantasy that I enjoyed very much. It took a few chapters for the book to really capture my interest, but when it did, it held on with both hands and a couple of claws.
Brown strides familiar grounds with this story, but in a way that proves his capabilities as a storyteller. He also took what could very well have been a run-of-the-mill fantasy and created something fresh and new. Hard to do in a genre trampled on by so many. Kudos to Mr. Brown, I look forward to the sequel.
King’s Envoy by Cas Peace. Okay, received this ARC roughly the same time as Legends Reborn with the same result: I let my work eat my life and my TBR pile to overwhelm me. By work, I mean my artistic endeavorings. By artistic endeavorings, I mean my writing. By writing, I mean the things that dribble from my brain into the computer. Be that as it may, I once again let something good slip through my fingers.
The book follows Taran, a young man who feels the need to learn more about his magical craft and must do so by finding a teacher in a different ‘Realm’. This is a well written fantasy about courage, friendship and mystery. Instead of grabbing the reader by the ears (like Mr. Brown’s wonderful stylings), Peace gently leads you by the hand down the road to a rich fantasy that could have been trite, but instead became a moving piece of work. I could say more, but I do so detest spoilers. Let’s just say that you should not only uncover it from the wealth of fantasies out there, but also discover it.
Both of these books stand out and kudos to Rhemalda Publishing for picking them up. I hope that more people will find these diamonds in the rough.
That’s it for me, I have blathered on long enough. Until we next meet, fellow travelers, adios.