Know Your History – 6th October – David Brin born

know your history - writingOn this day… 6th October, 1950 – David Brin born

Glen David Brin (born October 6, 1950) is an American scientist and award-winning author of science fiction. His Campbell Award winning novel The Postman was adapted as a feature film and starred Kevin Costner in 1997. Brin’s nonfiction book The Transparent Society won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association and the McGannon Communication Award.

Advice On Writing

Though SF offers me the freedom I need to explore a world undergoing drama and change, I often tell writing students that their first work of fiction should be a murder mystery.david brin

Oh, it can be a sci fi mystery, like my first novel, Sundiver. Or you might give it romance or set it in the wild west, or ancient Rome. What matters is that it should follow the plot patterns and revelatory structure of a mystery yarn.

Why? Because only mysteries demand total storytelling discipline. No distractions or arty styling or array of gimmicks can mask or make up for bad plotting. This all becomes apparent when the reader finds out who-dunnit in a mystery. In the end, the reader knows whether or not you cheated. And once you’ve had that lesson, you will never neglect it again.

Did You Know?

David earned a PHD in Astrophysics and had a succesful career as a Scientist before becoming a Sci-fi writer.

Literature was the first truly verifiably repeatable and effective form of magic. Picture how it must have impressed ancient people to look at marks — on papyrus or clay — and know they conveyed the words of scribes and kings long dead. Knowledge, wisdom and art could finally accumulate. Death was robbed some of its sting.

Writing still is magical. To create strings of black squiggles that millions of others skillfully de-code with just their eyes — into emotions and thoughts, or the struggles of believable characters, or spectacle beyond Hollywood’s wildest dreams.

Despite all of that, science and the honesty that it engenders have been our true accomplishments. I believe in a literature that explores this revolution, that presents alternatives and hard choices and that might help us to be wise about the onrushing process of change. One that helps to remind science and progress that it needs a heart. I reject the dichotomy, the notion that these things oppose each other. When a chance came along to combine the two? Who wouldn’t grab the opportunity? – See more at: http://www.davidbrin.com/faq.html#sthash.bg6MoK6f.dpuf

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Review of The Dolls #1 by Kiki Sullivan

The Dolls (The Dolls, #1)The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an interesting paranormal/fantasy novel. The story takes the journey of Eveny a teenage girl that has had to return with her aunt to the town where Eveny was born, Carrefour. But from the moment she gets there strange things seem to happen and the town treats her differently. The story then progresses to initiate Eveny into the world of magic and something similar to voodoo.
This book started really strong with a lot of atmosphere and intrigue but I did feel it let itself down a little. The love storyline with Caleb didn’t really work. It seemed a one-sided infatuation from Eveny that didn’t progress well and I think for fans of the Bella-Edward relationship that is similar to this will be a disappointment.
A few of the characters were a bit flat that could have really had an impact in the story, for example Eveny’s aunt, I felt their relationship could have been presented as much stronger, after all she was the one that brought Eveny up and she is the only person Eveny knows in the town. I did think the main character Eveny was portrayed well and although her decision making process was questionable at times, she was very likeable. However I must say the author cleverly uses the Southern American setting very well in this teenage drama, bringing some of the flatter characters to life.
Overall, I did enjoy this read and Sullivan is a great new paranormal/fantasy author that I am sure will become a hit with fans as her writing develops. Great to see a new slant on the paranormal element too.

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Review of The Opal (Matt Turner Series Book 2) by Michael Siemsen – 4 stars

The Opal (Matt Turner, #2)The Opal by Michael Siemsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel picks up almost immediately after The Dig (book 1)left off. Matt is in a holiday resort with his girlfriend Trudi, when the archaeologist who learned of Matt’s ability in the first book shows up and kidnaps him. Forcing him to read “The Opal” Matt is thrown into the world of the Vikings and here the book is at its strongest, diving in and out of the sci-fi historical fiction idea that caught my attention in the first book.
As others have mentioned on Amazon reviews this book Siemsen made this book a lot more Action Movie/thriller based than the first novel and I do think that put me off a little, that being said the historical aspect for me was still really intriguing and still gave me that urge to turn the page and find out what will happen next.
Siemsen also went a lot more creative with the settings in this book as it featured a lot of globe-trotting and I think that meant a lot of detail in each area that the reader was having to learn, his first novel was a lot more focussed in one areas surroundings, this again had a positive and negative affect on me. I like an author to be creative with settings but think this had a bit too much chopping and changing of locations, making it feel a little laboured in places.
The characters in this book are excellent and if I am honest one of the main reasons I came back for more. I like how Matt grows in this book and the insights we get into his childhood. A great development of this character.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, it has a great storyline and interesting mix of characters. It was not as strong as book 1 in the series, but was still a great book and highly recommended. I have already bought the next one from this great author.

4 stars

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Review of The Dig (Matt Turner 1) by Michael Siemsen – Five Stars

The Dig (Matt Turner, #1)The Dig by Michael Siemsen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. A slight stray from the usual archaeology/historical fiction genre, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The description was unusual and after reading a few chapters I soon found out why. This is an eclectic mix of historical fiction and fantasy with an intriguing dual timeline that has a fast action-filled pace.
The story is told from a multi-character perspective with Matt Turner taking the role of main character. The plot is based around Matt’s unusual ability that he wants to keep a secret. This ability has also caused him a great heartache in his life and this unfolds throughout the novel. Matt uses his ability to find out the history of an artefact, a journey that leaves Matt, the historians and the reader eager to know what happened next.
An action filled drama that is an unusual read. This would appeal to fans of Elly Griffiths, Phil Rickman, Barbara Erskine or Michael Schmicker type novels.

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CALLING ALL WRITERS – Upcoming Writing Competitions

CALLING ALL HORROR & SCI-FI WRITERS…

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Two new writing opportunities from pages right here on WordPress.

So what are you waiting for?

Time to get you inspiration hat on and try these.

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dont panic

Spectral Press are launching a new Sci-fi Imprint – for an interesting, snappy, and pithy name for the line, and we would like you lot to come up with one for us. The winner will receive the entire output of the new imprint as they get published.

Closing Date: Sunday 7th June 2015

Check it out: https://spectralpress.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/competition-time/

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ravenFey Publishing is looking to put together an anthology of the most disturbing horror stories imaginable. Whether it’s about creatures who go bump in the night or those who walk around in plain daylight with evil lurking in their minds, we want them. Almost anything goes. Serial Killers. Psychopaths. Monsters. Zombies like you’ve never seen them before. Carnage. Cannibalism. Hell, even horror erotica. It can be bizarre, it can be realistic. Doesn’t matter. Let your twisted brain go wild on this one. Up to 10,000 words.

Closing Date: June 30th, 2015.

Check it out: http://www.feypublishing.com/submissions.html

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Let me know if you do and how you get on.

Good Luck!!

 

Review – The Secrets of Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford

This novel entices the reader into the storyline from the first few pages. The plot-line is very strong and the high standard of story-telling remains throughout. The main character Ruth leads the story, telling us of her fresh start with her husband Michael in their new house in an isolated area of a Scottish Island. Ruth is also re-living a childhood trauma she suffered with the move causing her to have flashbacks. The move to the house quickly invokes its own dilemma for Ruth and Michael when they find a body buried inside the house. This provokes a third historical timeline, the story where a young curate takes over the house on the remote island. This timeline vividly explores religious righteousness, forbidden lusts, tyrant landlords, myths and scientific discoveries.

The place settings within this novel were pivotal to the storyline and the description of these helped keep the storyline moving. Gifford truly brought to life the loneliness and isolation of Island life, however she also managed to represent the sense of community gained from isolated island living, not an easy combination to represent.

A superbly crafted story, I look forward to the next one.

Amazon Reviews for The Secrets of Sea House