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cmjwallace

cmjwallace

Currently reading

The Honourable Schoolboy (Smiley Versus Karla, #2)
John le Carré
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
J.K. Rowling
Nightfall
Stephen Leather
The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini
The Honourable Schoolboy
John le Carré
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini I haven't had a visceral reaction to many books since I was a kid and my emotions controlled me rather than the opposite. But sometimes the writer takes me by the hand and pulls me right through the looking glass, and this was one of those times. A deep betrayal compounded by an even deeper one that ends two lifelong friendships is a major premise of The Kite Runner.

One of the preimplosion childhood pranks pulled by Amir and Hassan—using a mirror to shine a light into the neighbors’ house to annoy them—reminded me forcefully of something my sisters and I used to do and is one of the reasons I liked the book. (In my case, our torment of the neighbor involved a huge cedar hedge that separated our property from his and was his pride and joy, dares to see who could climb it the fastest and end up the highest, and lusty piercing battle cries that invariably brought him swarming out of his house in high dudgeon. Most satisfying!)

The book is well written, well edited, and well worth reading.
OFF-TOPIC: The Story of an Internet Revolt by G.R. Reader - G.R. Reader I’m one of the many, many GR users who are mostly anonymous but do come out of the woodwork just enough to avoid being classified as lurkers. Lately (read: post–September 20), my latent militant streak has emerged, and it’s led me to open my mouth and protest censorship. Off-Topic: The Story of an Internet Revolt nicely encapsulates the censorial process Goodreads personnel engaged in and the reactions of the site’s prominent reviewers who were the most affected.

To those who insist that what Goodreads has done isn’t censorship, I respectfully direct your attention to certain definitions in Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary:

censor
1: a person who supervises conduct and morals: as a: an official who examines materials (as publications or films) for objectionable matter
b: an official (as in time of war) who reads communications (as letters) and deletes material considered sensitive and harmful
2: one of two magistrates of early Rome acting as census takers, assessors, and inspectors of morals and conduct
3: a hypothetical psychic agency that represses unacceptable notions before they reach consciousness

censorship
1a: the institution, system, or practice of censoring b: the actions or practices of censors; especially: censorial control exercised repressively
2: the office, power, or term of a Roman censor
3: the exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor

I particularly like point 3 of each definition because both dovetail so well with GR’s TOS.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

As I said for HP1, I probably can’t say anything about Rowling’s writing that hasn’t been said before, except for what it does for me: It makes me smile. It makes me laugh. And I’m glad that I came to it as an adult so that I could appreciate her wit and plays on words—the clever names she invented for people and creatures—and the progression of her story as it matured to the end.

 

It’s interesting to see what boo-boos make it into print no matter how carefully something is edited (although the Potter series does not enjoy stellar editing). My favorite one in this book is near the end: “You can speak Parseltongue, Harry,” said Dumbledore calmly, “because Lord Voldemort—who is the last remaining ancestor of Salazar Slytherin—can speak Parseltongue.” (Boldface mine.)

Pirate Latitudes

Pirate Latitudes - Michael Crichton

Normally, I’m a fan of Michael Crichton, but Pirate Latitudes is so un-Crichton-like that I had to look at the spine to make sure it really said Michael Crichton. It did. My puzzlement unabated, I turned to the back cover’s blurb in the hope of finding some sort of explanation, a life buoy, so to speak. And to my enormous relief, there it was: The manuscript was published posthumously after having been found in the author’s files. My conclusion was that he’d never intended it to see the light of day, and for good reason, I might add; hence, it was interred in the obscurity of his private papers. Unfortunately, money-grubbers being what they are—and with the author also being interred and unable to object—the manuscript was exhumed and thrown on the market. By all accounts it was a best seller; by no means can I figure out why.

 

In trying to set a historical tone with his descriptions, Crichton instead catalogs the couture and culinary predilections of Port Royal in the 1600s to the point of eye-crossing monotony rather than weaving them naturally into his tale. Usually, the author has no trouble writing in different genres or voices, but let’s just say that piratical tales of the sea weren’t his forte.

 

The plot is terribly cliché, revolving around a licentious pirate after treasure, promiscuous buxom wenches who can’t wait to fall into his bed, and a sadistic unbeatable foe who has killed a member of the hero’s family in an inventive and unforgettable way, thus scarring said hero and giving him an unquenchable thirst for revenge (mais oui!). Between bouts of spreading the pox, our hero manages to fight off cannibals and a kraken. (I might have mentioned that the plot’s pretty much a cliché.) I checked the spine again. Yep, it still said Michael Crichton.

 

I think this was the epic swashbuckler Crichton always wanted to write but was afraid to publish. Oh how I wish his publisher had felt the same way!

Sing the Midnight Stars

Sing the Midnight Stars - C.M.J. Wallace

Why didn’t I rate my own books? Because the rating would be undeniably biased and therefore meaningless. Of course I’m very fond of them and think they merit 5 stars; they’re mine. But I know that they’re not for everyone and that some people will loathe them unequivocally. That’s just the way it is because we readers bring our own experiences and preferences with us when we travel to other places through the sorcerous portal of words on paper (and e-screens). Sometimes you like where you end up and sometimes you don’t.

 

You can read others’ opinions of my books on Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads if you’re interested.

 

Here’s some information that will help you decide whether you want to journey to the world I’ve created:

 

It’s a cliff-hanger series, but not by design: It grew without my permission. I knew early in the writing that it was going to be far too large for a single book, so I broke it into four full-length volumes at the most amenable places I could find. The second book completes some of the major plot points of the first, and by the end of the fourth book, the entire plot is resolved. I’m planning to offer the series as a single e-book after the fourth one is published, so those who despise unresolved plots can read from beginning to end while remaining dangle-free. (I have to admit that I like discovering series after they’re finished so that I don’t have to wait for the next book to come out. Impatience is a curse.) There will be a fifth and sixth book, but they take place ten years after the close of the fourth. Fear not, cliff-hanger haters!

 

My writing is like Stephen R. Donaldson’s, particularly his Mordant’s Need series.

 

The books are genre bending, combining fantasy elements with a murder mystery involving a serial killer and the drug-addicted detective who hunts him.

 

If you think you might want to explore Carvel and Torvia, read on. The synopsis is below.

 

A cold-blooded killer lusts for others’ magic. A drug-addicted detective vows to thwart him. Dragged into a dangerous homicide investigation, Andrin Sethuel alone stands between the killer’s murderous desires and his future victims’ salvation, a kingdom’s freedom and its enslavement.

 

Andrin has survived a childhood that should have destroyed him. Slavers brutally murdered his parents in front of him, ripped him away from everything he knew, and addicted him to drugs. The aftermath leaves him warring against hostility, prejudice, and suspicion on every front. And it leaves him entrenched in self-loathing. Yet despite the odds, he becomes head of the Torvian kingdom’s criminal investigative forces.

 

Andrin speculates that the killer scythes magic from his victims to reap power and augment his burgeoning might, but such a capability is unthinkable. And wielding spells without a catalyst should be impossible. Yet irrefutably, the killer is wrenching his victims’ craft away with his own unimaginable sorcery, growing more powerful and treacherous with each successive murder.

 

While Andrin struggles to expose the murderer and his search for the killer turns into a fight for his life, lies and duplicity threaten to rip his only friend from him—and she’s keeping a secret that could be the key to solving the murders. Andrin is forced to choose between his friend and his duty, and ultimately between his king and a betrayal that will save his country from a ruthless conqueror’s invasion.

Flight of Shadows

Flight of Shadows - C.M.J. Wallace

Why didn’t I rate my own books? Because the rating would be undeniably biased and therefore meaningless. Of course I’m very fond of them and think they merit 5 stars; they’re mine. But I know that they’re not for everyone and that some people will loathe them unequivocally. That’s just the way it is because we readers bring our own experiences and preferences with us when we travel to other places through the sorcerous portal of words on paper (and e-screens). Sometimes you like where you end up and sometimes you don’t.

 

You can read others’ opinions of my books on Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads if you’re interested.

 

Here’s some information that will help you decide whether you want to journey to the world I’ve created:

 

It’s a cliff-hanger series, but not by design: It grew without my permission. I knew early in the writing that it was going to be far too large for a single book, so I broke it into four full-length volumes at the most amenable places I could find. The second book completes some of the major plot points of the first, and by the end of the fourth book, the entire plot is resolved. I’m planning to offer the series as a single e-book after the fourth one is published, so those who despise unresolved plots can read from beginning to end while remaining dangle-free. (I have to admit that I like discovering series after they’re finished so that I don’t have to wait for the next book to come out. Impatience is a curse.) There will be a fifth and sixth book, but they take place ten years after the close of the fourth. Fear not, cliff-hanger haters!

 

My writing is like Stephen R. Donaldson’s, particularly his Mordant’s Need series.

 

The books are genre bending, combining fantasy elements with a murder mystery involving a serial killer and the drug-addicted detective who hunts him.

 

If you think you might want to explore Carvel and Torvia, read on. The synopsis is below.

 

A cold-blooded killer lusts for others’ magic. A drug-addicted detective vows to thwart him. Dragged into a dangerous homicide investigation, Andrin Sethuel alone stands between the killer’s murderous desires and his future victims’ salvation, a kingdom’s freedom and its enslavement.

 

Andrin has survived a childhood that should have destroyed him. Slavers brutally murdered his parents in front of him, ripped him away from everything he knew, and addicted him to drugs. The aftermath leaves him warring against hostility, prejudice, and suspicion on every front. And it leaves him entrenched in self-loathing. Yet despite the odds, he becomes head of the Torvian kingdom’s criminal investigative forces.

 

Andrin speculates that the killer scythes magic from his victims to reap power and augment his burgeoning might, but such a capability is unthinkable. And wielding spells without a catalyst should be impossible. Yet irrefutably, the killer is wrenching his victims’ craft away with his own unimaginable sorcery, growing more powerful and treacherous with each successive murder.

 

While Andrin struggles to expose the murderer and his search for the killer turns into a fight for his life, lies and duplicity threaten to rip his only friend from him—and she’s keeping a secret that could be the key to solving the murders. Andrin is forced to choose between his friend and his duty, and ultimately between his king and a betrayal that will save his country from a ruthless conqueror’s invasion.

This Darkling Magic

This Darkling Magic - C.M.J. Wallace

Why didn’t I rate my own books? Because the rating would be undeniably biased and therefore meaningless. Of course I’m very fond of them and think they merit 5 stars; they’re mine. But I know that they’re not for everyone and that some people will loathe them unequivocally. That’s just the way it is because we readers bring our own experiences and preferences with us when we travel to other places through the sorcerous portal of words on paper (and e-screens). Sometimes you like where you end up and sometimes you don’t.

 

You can read others’ opinions of my books on Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads if you’re interested.

 

Here’s some information that will help you decide whether you want to journey to the world I’ve created:

 

It’s a cliff-hanger series, but not by design: It grew without my permission. I knew early in the writing that it was going to be far too large for a single book, so I broke it into four full-length volumes at the most amenable places I could find. The second book completes some of the major plot points of the first, and by the end of the fourth book, the entire plot is resolved. I’m planning to offer the series as a single e-book after the fourth one is published, so those who despise unresolved plots can read from beginning to end while remaining dangle-free. (I have to admit that I like discovering series after they’re finished so that I don’t have to wait for the next book to come out. Impatience is a curse.) There will be a fifth and sixth book, but they take place ten years after the close of the fourth. Fear not, cliff-hanger haters!

 

My writing is like Stephen R. Donaldson’s, particularly his Mordant’s Need series.

 

The books are genre bending, combining fantasy elements with a murder mystery involving a serial killer and the drug-addicted detective who hunts him.

 

If you think you might want to explore Carvel and Torvia, read on. The synopsis is below.

 

A cold-blooded killer lusts for others’ magic. A drug-addicted detective vows to thwart him. Dragged into a dangerous homicide investigation, Andrin Sethuel alone stands between the killer’s murderous desires and his future victims’ salvation, a kingdom’s freedom and its enslavement.

 

Andrin has survived a childhood that should have destroyed him. Slavers brutally murdered his parents in front of him, ripped him away from everything he knew, and addicted him to drugs. The aftermath leaves him warring against hostility, prejudice, and suspicion on every front. And it leaves him entrenched in self-loathing. Yet despite the odds, he becomes head of the Torvian kingdom’s criminal investigative forces.

 

Andrin speculates that the killer scythes magic from his victims to reap power and augment his burgeoning might, but such a capability is unthinkable. And wielding spells without a catalyst should be impossible. Yet irrefutably, the killer is wrenching his victims’ craft away with his own unimaginable sorcery, growing more powerful and treacherous with each successive murder.

 

While Andrin struggles to expose the murderer and his search for the killer turns into a fight for his life, lies and duplicity threaten to rip his only friend from him—and she’s keeping a secret that could be the key to solving the murders. Andrin is forced to choose between his friend and his duty, and ultimately between his king and a betrayal that will save his country from a ruthless conqueror’s invasion.

This Darkling Magic - C.M.J. Wallace Why didn’t I rate my own books? Because the rating would be undeniably biased and therefore meaningless. Of course I’m very fond of them and think they merit 5 stars; they’re mine. But I know that they’re not for everyone and that some people will loathe them unequivocally. That’s just the way it is because we readers bring our own experiences and preferences with us when we travel to other places through the sorcerous portal of words on paper (or e-screens). Sometimes you like where you end up and sometimes you don’t.

You can read others’ opinions of my books on Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads if you’re interested.

Here’s some information that will help you decide whether you want to journey to the world I’ve created:

It’s a cliff-hanger series, but not by design: It grew without my permission. I knew early in the writing that it was going to be far too large for a single book, so I broke it into four full-length volumes at the most amenable places I could find. The second book completes some of the major plot points of the first, and by the end of the fourth book, the entire plot is resolved. I’m planning to offer the series as a single e-book after the fourth one is published, so those who despise unresolved plots can read from beginning to end while remaining dangle-free. (I have to admit that I like discovering series after they’re finished so that I don’t have to wait for the next book to come out. Impatience is a curse.) There will be a fifth and sixth book, but they take place ten years after the close of the fourth. Fear not, cliff-hanger haters!

My writing is like Stephen R. Donaldson’s, particularly his Mordant’s Need series.

The books are genre bending, combining fantasy elements with a murder mystery involving a serial killer and the drug-addicted detective who hunts him.

If you think you might want to explore Carvel and Torvia, read on. The synopsis is below.

A cold-blooded killer lusts for others’ magic. A drug-addicted detective vows to thwart him. Dragged into a dangerous homicide investigation, Andrin Sethuel alone stands between the killer’s murderous desires and his future victims’ salvation, a kingdom’s freedom and its enslavement.

Andrin has survived a childhood that should have destroyed him. Slavers brutally murdered his parents in front of him, ripped him away from everything he knew, and addicted him to drugs. The aftermath leaves him warring against hostility, prejudice, and suspicion on every front. And it leaves him entrenched in self-loathing. Yet despite the odds, he becomes head of the Torvian kingdom’s criminal investigative forces.

Andrin speculates that the killer scythes magic from his victims to reap power and augment his burgeoning might, but such a capability is unthinkable. And wielding spells without a catalyst should be impossible. Yet irrefutably, the killer is wrenching his victims’ craft away with his own unimaginable sorcery, growing more powerful and treacherous with each successive murder.

While Andrin struggles to expose the murderer and his search for the killer turns into a fight for his life, lies and duplicity threaten to rip his only friend from him—and she’s keeping a secret that could be the key to solving the murders. Andrin is forced to choose between his friend and his duty, and ultimately between his king and a betrayal that will save his country from a ruthless conqueror’s invasion.

Why didn’t I rate my own books? Because the rating would be undeniably biased and therefore meaningless. Of course I’m very fond of them and think they merit 5 stars; they’re part of me. But I know that they’re not for everyone and that some people will loathe them unequivocally. That’s just the way it is because we readers bring our own experiences and preferences with us when we travel to other places through the sorcerous portal of words on paper. Sometimes you like where you end up and sometimes you don’t.

You can read others’ opinions of my books on Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads if you’re interested.

Here’s some information that will help you decide whether you want to journey to the world I’ve created:

It’s a cliff-hanger series, but not by design: It grew without my permission. I knew early in the writing that it was going to be far too large for a single book, so I broke it into four full-length volumes at the most amenable places I could find. The second book completes some of the major plot points of the first, and by the end of the fourth book, the entire plot is resolved. I’m planning to offer the series as a single e-book after the fourth one is published, so those who despise unresolved plots can read from beginning to end while remaining dangle-free. (I have to admit that I like discovering series after they’re finished so that I don’t have to wait for the next book to come out. Impatience is a curse.) There will be a fifth and sixth book, but they take place ten years after the close of the fourth. Fear not, cliff-hanger haters!

My writing is like Stephen R. Donaldson’s, particularly his Mordant’s Need series.

The books are genre bending, combining fantasy elements with a murder mystery involving a serial killer and the drug-addicted detective who hunts him.

If you think you might want to explore Carvel and Torvia, read on. The synopsis is below.

A cold-blooded killer lusts for others’ magic. A drug-addicted detective vows to thwart him. Dragged into a dangerous homicide investigation, Andrin Sethuel alone stands between the killer’s murderous desires and his future victims’ salvation, a kingdom’s freedom and its enslavement.

Andrin has survived a childhood that should have destroyed him. Slavers brutally murdered his parents in front of him, ripped him away from everything he knew, and addicted him to drugs. The aftermath leaves him warring against hostility, prejudice, and suspicion on every front. And it leaves him entrenched in self-loathing. Yet despite the odds, he becomes head of the Torvian kingdom’s criminal investigative forces.

Andrin speculates that the killer scythes magic from his victims to reap power and augment his burgeoning might, but such a capability is unthinkable. And wielding spells without a catalyst should be impossible. Yet irrefutably, the killer is wrenching his victims’ craft away with his own unimaginable sorcery, growing more powerful and treacherous with each successive murder.

While Andrin struggles to expose the murderer and his search for the killer turns into a fight for his life, lies and duplicity threaten to rip his only friend from him—and she’s keeping a secret that could be the key to solving the murders. Andrin is forced to choose between his friend and his duty, and ultimately between his king and a betrayal that will save his country from a ruthless conqueror’s invasion.

Books in the Rift series:

Sing the Midnight Stars (book 1)
Flight of Shadows (book 2)
This Darkling Magic (book 3)
This Strange Magic (book 4; to be released in late 2013 or early 2014)
Flight of Shadows - C.M.J. Wallace Why didn’t I rate my own books? Because the rating would be undeniably biased and therefore meaningless. Of course I’m very fond of them and think they merit 5 stars; they’re mine. But I know that they’re not for everyone and that some people will loathe them unequivocally. That’s just the way it is because we readers bring our own experiences and preferences with us when we travel to other places through the sorcerous portal of words on paper (or e-screens). Sometimes you like where you end up and sometimes you don’t.

You can read others’ opinions of my books on Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads if you’re interested.

Here’s some information that will help you decide whether you want to journey to the world I’ve created:

It’s a cliff-hanger series, but not by design: It grew without my permission. I knew early in the writing that it was going to be far too large for a single book, so I broke it into four full-length volumes at the most amenable places I could find. The second book completes some of the major plot points of the first, and by the end of the fourth book, the entire plot is resolved. I’m planning to offer the series as a single e-book after the fourth one is published, so those who despise unresolved plots can read from beginning to end while remaining dangle-free. (I have to admit that I like discovering series after they’re finished so that I don’t have to wait for the next book to come out. Impatience is a curse.) There will be a fifth and sixth book, but they take place ten years after the close of the fourth. Fear not, cliff-hanger haters!

My writing is like Stephen R. Donaldson’s, particularly his Mordant’s Need series.

The books are genre bending, combining fantasy elements with a murder mystery involving a serial killer and the drug-addicted detective who hunts him.

If you think you might want to explore Carvel and Torvia, read on. The synopsis is below.

A cold-blooded killer lusts for others’ magic. A drug-addicted detective vows to thwart him. Dragged into a dangerous homicide investigation, Andrin Sethuel alone stands between the killer’s murderous desires and his future victims’ salvation, a kingdom’s freedom and its enslavement.

Andrin has survived a childhood that should have destroyed him. Slavers brutally murdered his parents in front of him, ripped him away from everything he knew, and addicted him to drugs. The aftermath leaves him warring against hostility, prejudice, and suspicion on every front. And it leaves him entrenched in self-loathing. Yet despite the odds, he becomes head of the Torvian kingdom’s criminal investigative forces.

Andrin speculates that the killer scythes magic from his victims to reap power and augment his burgeoning might, but such a capability is unthinkable. And wielding spells without a catalyst should be impossible. Yet irrefutably, the killer is wrenching his victims’ craft away with his own unimaginable sorcery, growing more powerful and treacherous with each successive murder.

While Andrin struggles to expose the murderer and his search for the killer turns into a fight for his life, lies and duplicity threaten to rip his only friend from him—and she’s keeping a secret that could be the key to solving the murders. Andrin is forced to choose between his friend and his duty, and ultimately between his king and a betrayal that will save his country from a ruthless conqueror’s invasion.

Why didn’t I rate my own books? Because the rating would be undeniably biased and therefore meaningless. Of course I’m very fond of them and think they merit 5 stars; they’re part of me. But I know that they’re not for everyone and that some people will loathe them unequivocally. That’s just the way it is because we readers bring our own experiences and preferences with us when we travel to other places through the sorcerous portal of words on paper. Sometimes you like where you end up and sometimes you don’t.

You can read others’ opinions of my books on Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads if you’re interested.

Here’s some information that will help you decide whether you want to journey to the world I’ve created:

It’s a cliff-hanger series, but not by design: It grew without my permission. I knew early in the writing that it was going to be far too large for a single book, so I broke it into four full-length volumes at the most amenable places I could find. The second book completes some of the major plot points of the first, and by the end of the fourth book, the entire plot is resolved. I’m planning to offer the series as a single e-book after the fourth one is published, so those who despise unresolved plots can read from beginning to end while remaining dangle-free. (I have to admit that I like discovering series after they’re finished so that I don’t have to wait for the next book to come out. Impatience is a curse.) There will be a fifth and sixth book, but they take place ten years after the close of the fourth. Fear not, cliff-hanger haters!

My writing is like Stephen R. Donaldson’s, particularly his Mordant’s Need series.

The books are genre bending, combining fantasy elements with a murder mystery involving a serial killer and the drug-addicted detective who hunts him.

If you think you might want to explore Carvel and Torvia, read on. The synopsis is below.

A cold-blooded killer lusts for others’ magic. A drug-addicted detective vows to thwart him. Dragged into a dangerous homicide investigation, Andrin Sethuel alone stands between the killer’s murderous desires and his future victims’ salvation, a kingdom’s freedom and its enslavement.

Andrin has survived a childhood that should have destroyed him. Slavers brutally murdered his parents in front of him, ripped him away from everything he knew, and addicted him to drugs. The aftermath leaves him warring against hostility, prejudice, and suspicion on every front. And it leaves him entrenched in self-loathing. Yet despite the odds, he becomes head of the Torvian kingdom’s criminal investigative forces.

Andrin speculates that the killer scythes magic from his victims to reap power and augment his burgeoning might, but such a capability is unthinkable. And wielding spells without a catalyst should be impossible. Yet irrefutably, the killer is wrenching his victims’ craft away with his own unimaginable sorcery, growing more powerful and treacherous with each successive murder.

While Andrin struggles to expose the murderer and his search for the killer turns into a fight for his life, lies and duplicity threaten to rip his only friend from him—and she’s keeping a secret that could be the key to solving the murders. Andrin is forced to choose between his friend and his duty, and ultimately between his king and a betrayal that will save his country from a ruthless conqueror’s invasion.

Books in the Rift series:

Sing the Midnight Stars (book 1)
Flight of Shadows (book 2)
This Darkling Magic (book 3)
This Strange Magic (book 4; to be released in late 2013 or early 2014)
Sing the Midnight Stars - C.M.J. Wallace Why didn’t I rate my own books? Because the rating would be undeniably biased and therefore meaningless. Of course I’m very fond of them and think they merit 5 stars; they’re mine. But I know that they’re not for everyone and that some people will loathe them unequivocally. That’s just the way it is because we readers bring our own experiences and preferences with us when we travel to other places through the sorcerous portal of words on paper (or e-screens). Sometimes you like where you end up and sometimes you don’t.

You can read others’ opinions of my books on Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads if you’re interested.

Here’s some information that will help you decide whether you want to journey to the world I’ve created:

It’s a cliff-hanger series, but not by design: It grew without my permission. I knew early in the writing that it was going to be far too large for a single book, so I broke it into four full-length volumes at the most amenable places I could find. The second book completes some of the major plot points of the first, and by the end of the fourth book, the entire plot is resolved. I’m planning to offer the series as a single e-book after the fourth one is published, so those who despise unresolved plots can read from beginning to end while remaining dangle-free. (I have to admit that I like discovering series after they’re finished so that I don’t have to wait for the next book to come out. Impatience is a curse.) There will be a fifth and sixth book, but they take place ten years after the close of the fourth. Fear not, cliff-hanger haters!

My writing is like Stephen R. Donaldson’s, particularly his Mordant’s Need series.

The books are genre bending, combining fantasy elements with a murder mystery involving a serial killer and the drug-addicted detective who hunts him.

If you think you might want to explore Carvel and Torvia, read on. The synopsis is below.

A cold-blooded killer lusts for others’ magic. A drug-addicted detective vows to thwart him. Dragged into a dangerous homicide investigation, Andrin Sethuel alone stands between the killer’s murderous desires and his future victims’ salvation, a kingdom’s freedom and its enslavement.

Andrin has survived a childhood that should have destroyed him. Slavers brutally murdered his parents in front of him, ripped him away from everything he knew, and addicted him to drugs. The aftermath leaves him warring against hostility, prejudice, and suspicion on every front. And it leaves him entrenched in self-loathing. Yet despite the odds, he becomes head of the Torvian kingdom’s criminal investigative forces.

Andrin speculates that the killer scythes magic from his victims to reap power and augment his burgeoning might, but such a capability is unthinkable. And wielding spells without a catalyst should be impossible. Yet irrefutably, the killer is wrenching his victims’ craft away with his own unimaginable sorcery, growing more powerful and treacherous with each successive murder.

While Andrin struggles to expose the murderer and his search for the killer turns into a fight for his life, lies and duplicity threaten to rip his only friend from him—and she’s keeping a secret that could be the key to solving the murders. Andrin is forced to choose between his friend and his duty, and ultimately between his king and a betrayal that will save his country from a ruthless conqueror’s invasion.

Books in the Rift series:

Sing the Midnight Stars (book 1)
Flight of Shadows (book 2)
This Darkling Magic (book 3)
This Strange Magic (book 4; to be released in late 2013 or early 2014)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré I probably can’t say anything about Rowling’s writing that hasn’t been said before, except for what it does for me: It makes me smile. It makes me laugh. And I’m glad that I came to it as an adult so that I could appreciate her wit and plays on words—the clever names she invented for people and creatures—and the progression of her story as it matured to the end.
A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin I waited about a year after I read book 1 to start book 2, which took me four tries, and now I remember why I was dragging my feet. I’d forgotten that the series is a medievalesque soap opera/war epic with very little in the way of fantasy to recommend it as such. I got about halfway through this one and quit.

There were four things that contributed to my annoyance with the book. First, it starts by using the shopworn device of a prophecy. Sigh. Is anyone honestly captivated by that cliché anymore? Second, it reads like a telephone book on page after page; I chose a typical paragraph and counted the number of people Martin names: twenty within seven sentences. Third, he bandies the names of medieval armor and clothing about just as freely as he does people’s names. In just a few chapters, the reader has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of them, like it or not. And it continues unabated. Fourth, Martin uses the crudest term there is for female genitalia, which I won’t repeat here because children use this site. That continues unabated also.

I may eventually finish the book, but only because I hate to quit reading a series.
The Fault in Our Stars - John Green Handsome boy meets beautiful girl. Boy and girl fall in love. It would be perfect except that they meet in a cancer support group. Hazel has terminal cancer and Augustus is a cancer survivor. Despite Hazel’s reluctance to be a “grenade”—her inevitable death the weapon that will destroy those she loves—she allows Gus into her life and heart.

Their quest to discover what happens to the characters of their favorite book after the story ends takes them to Amsterdam, where they learn that its author isn’t what they thought. And Hazel finds out that Gus has been hiding something.

The Fault in Our Stars is both poignant and humorous. Green deftly weaves disparate threads into his writing, drawing on everything from black humor to Shakespeare to complete the tapestry. The language is rich; the writing style, mature and competent.

I greatly enjoyed this book and will be reading others by this author.

The Basement

The Basement - Stephen Leather The Basement is written from two points of view, a serial killer’s and an aspiring writer’s. Leather blends them into a whole that sets a harsh tone in keeping with the plot’s direction: capture of the murderer before he can torture his next target to death and dispose of her.

This book isn’t for the faint of heart: The tale relayed by the murderer speaks graphically of sexually sadistic desires and plans for the victim-to-be. One of the cops trying to nail the killer is vicious. The writer—and prime suspect—has an obsessive persistence in promoting his work that flirts with the line between salesmanship and stalking. The mix creates an uneasiness that carries throughout the book.

Leather likes to throw in twists at the end of his stories, and this one has a doozy.

There weren’t too many editorial problems. Subjunctives, spelling (e.g., “base line” [baseline]), comma splices (a fair few of these, though), and punctuation (e.g., “still hoped they’d be well-treated” [well treated]) were among them.
The New Well Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed - Karen Elizabeth Gordon What kind of freak reads a punctuation handbook for pleasure? Well, I do (blush).

But The New Well-Tempered Sentence is not a dry treatise on the do’s and don’ts of writing. Consider the subtitle: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. How could you resist the urge to peek at a book with such a puckish name?

The illustrations are excellent and add to the ambience of the book’s many crazed and silly examples; to wit, when the author expounds on the question mark, one of her examples reads “Did the debutante have an alibi the night of the pizza chef’s demise?” Makes you wonder…

Gordon’s text is approachable by timid souls who fear the average grammarian’s stupor-inducing style. This one is fun! wild! demented! I highly recommend that writers and editors alike rush out to procure their own copy.
Mockingjay - Collins Suzanne Because this book is the last in the series, the review is partly of The Hunger Games as a whole.

Once again there are annoying dichotomies, as there were in the first two books. Katniss and Gale are allowed outside District 13 to hunt. The quarter rations food; why don’t they have teams of hunters and gatherers to supplement the food supply? Why haven’t they captured and bred animals for slaughter? Also, Katniss is a national freedom symbol the resistance leaders are bent on protecting, yet they allow her in combat.

Katniss finally seems to be thinking less of her own welfare and more of others’ and is beginning to be believable as a heroine, but it’s a case of too little, too late. She is still self-centered and despicable, unlikable, and implausible as a role model, which she is compelled to be as a central theme of the story. To cap it off, in the end when she chooses between Gale and Peeta, her reasoning is based solely on what she needs without regard for either man, what they might feel for her, or even what she might feel for them. Her choice is the result of nothing more than what she’ll get out of it.

The story is interesting enough. I suppose it’s typical of the YA genre, whose works seem to be written at about the fourth-grade level, like the average newspaper column. But like that in the typical paper, the writing is not beautiful, bereft of anything to stimulate the intellect or evoke images that rise above the level of mud, blood, and crud.

On the editorial side, there were problems with word usage (“even if the marble continues to leech [leach] my body heat”; “But the general consensus was [“But the consensus” because general is inherent in the definition of consensus]”), verb inflection (“Everyone on the roof, except for the soldiers manning the machine guns, begin [begins]”), and comma splices. And Collins’s editors still have no idea what a subjunctive is, what the difference between hung and hanged is, or how to use who versus whom. Oddly enough, gerundives are used correctly, and as with the second book, there were far fewer problems than the first one had.

There seem to be plenty of readers who have no quarrel with any aspect of Collins’s series. I’m not among them.