Monday, March 28, 2011
You gotta’ love a book that starts out with the words, The first time I came to Deadwood I got shot in the ass. Yes,sirree, heroine and single mother, Violet Parker, has her work cut out for her selling real estate in Deadwood, South Dakota while worrying that, with little girls vanishing, something might happen to her own children, especially daughter, Addy. Never mind she also has to deal with a co-worker trying to get her fired and a secret admirer sending her daisies and creepy love poems. You’ll laugh out loud as this overwhelmed sleuth tries to discover who is abducting children while dealing with a daughter who keeps placing want ads for her mother’s next potential husband, drooling over two delectable men and having a weekly repast with a crotchety old man.
And just think, the sequel is out next week! Enjoy this fast read with a Mint Julep. It’s getting close to Derby time.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I don't know what I expected but I didn't expect this. Graham has written a unique and thought-provoking series of short stories. They're full of emotion, yet fun to read. I love the "programmer" touch but agree you don't have to be tech savvy to enjoy these. I am a biopunk/cyberpunk writer myself writing as Daryn Cross, so I'd recommend these to readers of the genre, but I believe they transcend all genres and can be enjoyed by a large number of people.
A war against the Darch has raged for years, and humanity is on the verge of extinction. Scientists have created biomechs to supplement as warriors, but it’s just a temporary fix on what appears an insurmountable problem. One desperate scientist injects JXS241, a biomech warrior, with what he hopes is the solution for mankind’s survival. But the biomech is captured by the enemy.
Raven Nirvanni survives on the fringes of a shattered culture. While on a self-imposed suicide mission to annihilate an enemy destroyer, she encounters the imprisoned biomech. Deciding the fate of humanity far outweighs the destruction of a single ship, she recues him and decides to ensure he reaches his destination.
With the enemy anticipating their every move, Raven is completely taken aback when she realizes she’s falling for JXS241. But can she really love a machine? And if so, can he reciprocate?
Captain Temesia Elysse has just steered her ship through almost certain death. With the help of her gifted crew, the Dark Nest has survived. Her newly evolved psychic people are targets of Homeworld genocide. Hundreds have been killed aboard the Light Nest. Back on Homeworld soil, her people are being hunted. Her lover may be dead, the gifted teacher Reyn Wolfe. It will take all Captain Elysse's restraint, with vast new psychic powers available to her and her people, not to let her infamous temper get ahead of her. But there must be a rescue mission for those still alive. And there must be justice. There will be a reckoning. And the Homeworld council has no idea their persecuted victims are alive, or just how powerful they’ve become.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
1. the act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling a purpose.
2. the quality of being resolute; firmness of purpose.
3. a fixed purpose or intention: It is my determination to suppress vice.
4. fixed direction or tendency toward some object or end.
"Okay, what is she up to today?" you ask. Just what it looks like. I finished writing a blog for Writers Fun Zone a couple of days ago and it really got me to thinking about my purpose and writing career. So here’s the question posed to you today. How much determination do you have?
Now, without giving anything away (feel free to read the blog at www.writersfunzone.com, posted Thursday, March 10, 2011), there are a lot of factors that go into being prolific and for being a success as well. Of course, quality of the writing is one important factor in whether or not a writer does become successful at selling books; but, how much does determination control direction and result?
I believe it has everything to do with it. You can be the best writer in the world, but if you lack the drive to sit in your chair to get a complete work on paper it doesn’t mean a thing. You may how to do something, but if you don’t do it, who cares? Calvin Coolidge said it better than I do: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
I guess what I’m saying is, to me, determination is more than fixed direction or firmness of purpose. It is the drive that continues to the finish line. My mother used to say I was the most determined person she’d ever met. She said she didn’t know anyone who could look at herself in the mirror, and seeing brown hair and blue eyes, say, “My hair will be red and eyes will be green.” Okay, so that did happen, though I’m sure my hair was really auburn and just got lighter (without Mother Clairol at that time) and my eyes had some green and just got brighter. But the point is made. You have to be driven and focused and that all comes back to determination.
So buckle up! What are you going to achieve today?
Monday, March 7, 2011
For starters, the main character, Tai, owns a gun shop and previously gave ghost tours in Savannah. Then when her brother is a suspect in a murder, she starts her own investigation (okay, as a twenty year resident of Atlanta, I understand why you might want to investigate things yourself…so she gets credit for that. But I’m telling you, this book sucks.) My point is: what kind of protagonist is this? I want humorless, hard-boiled types with commitment problems and all sorts of neurosis. And besides, a fictional southern chick who isn’t oversexed or emotionally fragile or hasn’t an unhealthy dependency on rich older men is just weird. Tai isn’t stereotypical, I just can’t handle that. This isn’t safe. Anything could happen in this mystery. Completely unpredictable.
But worst of all is Trey, the supposed badass security expert. Fine, I’ll concede the hot looks and a Ferrari have their appeal, but from the description, I was given to believe that Trey possessed supernatural powers allowing him to perceive when people were lying. I thought this was so cool, because I love hot heroes who couldn’t possibly exist in real world, like vampires or werewolves. But then Tina goes and explains the specific parts of Trey’s brain that have been damaged, giving him this odd ability to detect lies (and he is not 100% accurate with it either. What the hell? There’s that damn unpredictable element again) , but leaving him with a nasty identity crisis. This sounds a little too close to reality for my tastes.
To illustrate my points, I have chosen this terrible passage:
I smiled up at him. “You’re Mr. Seaver,” I said. “And you’re kind of relentless, anybody ever tell you that?”
He didn’t reply. His eyes were blue, startlingly so, and he directed them like x-rays. The bartender pretended to be engrossed in mashing up mint leaves, but his ears pricked our way. I lowered my voice.
“Look, I know you’re watching me, so just do me the courtesy of admitting it, all right?”
After the slightest hesitation, he nodded once, crisply.
I smiled wider. “See how easy that was? Now we can be friends.” I patted the stool beside me. “Would you like to sit down, maybe have a drink? I’m putting everything on somebody else’s tab tonight.”
He shook his head. “I don’t drink. Except for water. And hot tea.”
“Water like in ice water.”
“Water like in Pellegrino.”
What kind of badass drinks tea and Pellegrino? Suck some blood perhaps, but fizzy water? Quick, I must grab some Charlaine Harris. I’m feeling a bit dizzy.
And another thing: the plot! Good heavens, it’s filled with all sorts of twists and turns. I couldn’t keep up. All these characters keep showing up and they’re, you know, different. A bisexual African American best friend, a Hispanic stripper and a new age healer. Look, I live in Atlanta and just because I see these people every day, they have no place in a mystery. No place at all!
Another example from Tai’s friend Rico - -the bisexual African American one.
Rico’s voice was serious. “This is deep shit you’re talking. You called a lawyer, right? Doesn’t your brother work for some fancy people who know a fancy lawyer.”
I made a noise. “Don’t worry about Eric, he’s good at covering his ass.”
“We’re not talking about his ass, sweetie. That’s your ass up there on 11 Alive News at Ten.”
“I didn’t even know this girl!”
Rico snorted. “Like the APD care. They got prostitutes to push, drug cartels to run –“
“This is ridiculous.”
“So say all the suspects.”
“I’m for real! And don’t think for a second they’re not looking at that assload of weapons you inherited.”
I probably shouldn’t have included that passage. It’s a bit suspenseful and might make you want to read this book. So, let me assure you the book’s ending is awful. I didn’t see it coming. I hate surprises. I don’t care that Tina showed how it all worked. Yeah, it made perfect sense in retrospect. And the worst thing, (and this is a tiny spoiler…although I don’t know why I’m bothering to tell you that, because you aren’t going to read this book anyway) the murderer is not a psycho killer!!! Look, aside from real statistical evidence, isn’t every murderer a psycho? Tina doesn’t even include one of those creepy first person monologues in the murder’s voice, you know, like in EVERY mystery book. I just don’t understand how she got those starred reviews in Kirkus Review and Publishers Weekly for this piece of claptrap. They say it’s well-written, but I’ll let you judge for yourself by including the following crappy passage:
I remembered Piedmont Park from the previous summer, when Rico and I had watched Casablanca one midsummer night, blanket to blanket with the soccer mom/buff gay guy demographic, drinking moscato straight from the bottle. At that time, barely a month had passed since Mom’s death, and I remembered feeling like I was in an overturned fishbowl, separate from the rest of the city. Every sensual detail had been as rich and distinct as an oil painting – the hazy islands of candlelight around us, the smell of crushed grass, the latent heat.
See what I mean. And they say Tina teaches writing classes.
So, in conclusion, if you want a mystery that supposedly makes logical sense and is solved by “real” people, you might like this book. My twin sister, Susanna, thinks the book is amazing. She keeps going on about great characters, witty dialogue, awesome pacing, and smart plotting. But she's an "intellectual." For me, I prefer psycho werewolf paranormal shape shifting fairy killers that I can spot from the first page and cozy secondary characters that are comfortably predictable in their quirkiness.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Answer these questions:
1. After waking up, possibly using the restroom and making coffee (if you have yet another addiction like me), do you go to your computer, PDA, tablet, etc., and check your e-mail?
2. Can you go all day without getting on a computer or other similar handheld device?
3. If something happens in your life, happy or sad, do you get not a dozen but hundreds of e-mails from unknown and never met people telling you they’re sorry/glad/elated/you rock?
4. Do you have multiple e-mail accounts with different names and passwords for different reason, switching back and forth between them on any given day?
5. If you go on vacation and forget to go no mail, do you come back to several thousand unanswered missives in your inbox?
6. If your computer goes on the fritz, do you panic, not knowing what to do and immediately call your computer company or the closest computer guru?
If you have answered yes to most or a majority of these, you, like I, are wondering about your mental stability. I have a way of rationalizing my disease in that for now I live alone and it’s company. Besides, I’m a writer, and all my contacts and valuable information is there. I do write most of the day, so it’s not interfering with my daily activities.
But when does too much computer and not enough life mean you have been taken captive by our mechanized age?
Here is the definition from Wikipedia, and yes, anything there needs to be questioned, but read it and consider. I’d love to hear your comments.
Computer addiction, a loosely used term with Internet Addiction, or Video game addiction, is the excessive or compulsive use of computers to the extent that it interferes with daily life. This disorder may affect the following: social interaction, mood, personality, work ethic, relationships, thought process. It may also cause social disorders or possibly sleep deprivation. It is important to note that as of now, psychologists are not sure how to label this disorder. Many refer to it as Internet Addiction Disorder; however, computer addiction originated long before internet use is as common as it is today. In addition, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has yet to recognize this exact disorder, and are more likely to include a more specific term of addiction, such as Internet Addiction, or Video game addiction.