Review: “The Steam Pump Jump” (Chronicles of St. Mary’s short) by Jodi Taylor

Steam Pump JumpThis short story very much needs the context of pretty much all of the novels in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series so far to understand the detail of what’s going on. But otherwise, it’s a “typical” St. Mary’s lark, full of the usual shenanigans and mayhem (#disastermagnets). And as an added bonus, it’s from Markham’s point of view! Any perspective from security department versus the historians is fun, but Markham just adds that much extra flavor.

I felt that the beginning of the tale was a bit drawn out until we got to the interesting bits, but even that section had it’s laugh out loud moments of humor. This tale is not to be missed by St. Mary’s fan(atic)s.  Continue reading

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Author Interview with Matthew Warner

While it wasn’t quite up my alley, Matthew Warner’s Cursed by Christ book seemed intriguing enough that I had to pick the author’s brain about it. Maybe you’ll find yourself interested in my stead.


Cursed by ChristABOUT THE BOOK

CURSED . . .

Living at her family’s rice plantation, Alice Wharton learns some disturbing news from her mother: their bloodline has been cursed. Jesus Christ punishes them for having psychic powers allegedly stolen from a Heavenly angel. He exacts penance in the form of the mother’s adulterous “communion” trysts with their reverend.

FORGOTTEN . . .

Escaping from the predatory reverend, Alice marries Major Thorne Norwick at his Georgian cotton plantation. She also meets the slave cooks, Jonah and Eliza, who show her how to telepathically eject troubling memories. When Thorne returns from fighting in the War of Northern Aggression, Alice uses this skill to hide from herself the devastating revelation that her husband now seems to serve Christ. After all, he aids a secret society—the Ku Klux Klan—that uses the symbols of her tormentor.

JUDGED.

Everywhere she looks, the specter of Christ stands in judgment. What’s more, a mysterious presence stalks her, its mind echoing with thoughts that feel all too familiar. When it reaches her, there will be hell to pay.

Amazon | Audio Book


First of all, how would you categorize the genre or genres that this book fits under?

Cursed by Christ is a Southern gothic horror novel for an adult audience.  It’s also historical since it takes place during 1860-1868.  Continue reading

Review: Urban Dragon: Volume 1 by J.W. Troemner

Urban Dragon 1Disclaimer: I received a hardcopy of this novel through a book trade with the author.

I was sold on this book based on two things: The absolutely gorgeous cover art, and when I heard the author read from it during Cleveland ConCoction 2018. I’m a sucker for urban fantasy, but this is urban fantasy done right. It embodies many of the traditional tropes of the genre while simultaneously breaking all the rules.  Continue reading

Review: Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot by Jane K. Cleland

Mastering Suspense Structure PlotTo continue preparing to write the next book in my series, I chose a craft book dedicated to plot structure with an emphasis on suspense and twists. Rather than being targeted to one genre, the book ensures that all of the writing advice can be applied to any genre, from political thrillers to nonfiction memoirs.

Cleland doesn’t just “lecture” about the proper way to do things. The book includes activities, case studies, and suggestions for ways to create a tight story from character development and plot structure down to the individual sentence level.

This book is accessible to new authors while still being helpful to those who are more experienced, with multiple projects under their belts. I look forward to using some of the recommended exercises and suggestions to craft my next story.  Continue reading

Build Report: Hans Christian Andersen

HCAThe first step to admitting you have a problem is to buy more LEGOs. That’s how it works, right? Regardless, I’m officially buying LEGO sets faster than I can build them, but the LEGO sets I buy are expensive enough that they keep coming with awesome freebies to tide me over until my next major goal is met. The current major goal is finishing revisions to book 5 and sending the first draft to my editor. In the meantime, I just completed a major freelance editing job, and this is the result.

Hans Christian Andersen (40291) — 307 pieces

As a writer and reader, this was the perfect set for me!  Continue reading

Review: Writing Mysteries edited by Sue Grafton

Writing MysteriesSo far I’ve written a female coming-of-age novel, a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, a time-travel book…and those are all in the same series. What’s next? I think a murder mystery is on the horizon, and as a newcomer to this genre, I needed to get back to basics.

Writing Mysteries is a solid book for any new writer, though I ended up skimming certain sections that either didn’t apply to me as an experience writer or didn’t apply to me because I’m won’t be writing, say, a medical mystery or true crime novel. Note also that this book was released in 2002, so plenty of the seasoned veterans contributing chapters make frequent mentions of typewriters and that new-fangled Internet (I might exaggerate a bit, there). Despite the dated technology and submission issues, the writing advice is fairly solid, and I do recommend this as a basic craft book to new writers who know they’ll be specializing in the mystery genre.  Continue reading