Traitor’s Masque: A Review

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gorgeous cover!

Title: Traitor’s Masque

Author: Kenley Davidson

Free on Kindle Unlimited

So you’re wondering what would be left of Cinderella without the magic? Turns out, a really great story!

Here’s the publisher’s summary:

Trystan has only two goals — to free herself from her stepmother’s household and to live her life on her own terms. But she cannot do so alone. In her desperation, she accepts the aid of a mysterious band of conspirators in exchange for her promise to help protect the kingdom. Trystan is uncertain whether her new friends can be trusted, but then she meets Donevan, a compelling and enigmatic young man whose face haunts her dreams.

Caught between her desire for love and the needs of a kingdom in turmoil, Trystan attends the Royal Masque, where she learns that her quest for a happy ending may have betrayed the man she loves. Plunged headlong into a nightmare of duplicity, espionage and intrigue, she will have just one chance at redemption, though she may be forced to sacrifice everything she’s ever dreamed of to prevent her kingdom from falling into the hands of a ruthless adversary.

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another great cover

I just found this one when looking for new Kindle Unlimited books – I love that program, BTW, so many great books for one price – and I found this one. I’ve never read anything by this author before but I admit to being a sucker for fairy tales. You might think I’d be too old for them, but even at my age, there’s nothing quite like a Happily Ever After.

It didn’t take me long before I was hooked! Trystan is a little bit of a brat at first, but I did like her. Really she’s just awfully young and self-centered at first. By the end of the book though, she’s really learned to be aware of the people around her and not take things for granted. As for Ramsey, he won my heart from the first. I loved this serious, responsible prince who just wants a few minutes privacy. Except this girl keeps crossing his path!

I liked the secondary characters as well and I’m so glad there are more stories out there. I will definitely be reading the next in this series and I see there’s even a prequel about Lizabeth, Ramsey’s aunt. I’m looking forward to reading them. You should definitely check these out!

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NaNoWriMo Update

I’m still writing! I’m almost to 40,000 words. I’m rewriting a previous story, and I’m at the point where the previous stuff is not working, so I’m having to write new stuff. I hope this new version is better, but at this point I can’t tell for sure. All I know is that the old stuff didn’t work anymore.

For those of you who are writing, how’s it going? Are you still passionate about your story? Maybe that’s what’s slowing me down – I’m not feeling that urge to write. But I’m writing anyway! Anyone who thinks writing isn’t work should try it for a while, right?

Good luck to all of you! And if you’re behind, don’t give up! Your story needs you!

Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life

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Title: Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life

A somewhat funny collection of short stories about Dahl’s time living in the English country side and some friendships he made there. If you only know him from his children’s books, like Matilda and James and the Giant Peach, then you’re in for a shock. The first story is about a cow he owned that needed to be serviced by a bull. Quite funny, but definitely not for kids! The last story about pheasant poaching was the funniest.

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Weekend Writing Prompt

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“No more theme parks. Once was enough.”

“You know that was a good time. What you mean is, no more camping. If I want to get all sweaty and swat bugs, I can sit out in my backyard.”

“Whatever. You had a great time. Once you stopped whining.”

“So where should we go?”

Goat Castle: A Review

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions, however, remain my own.
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Title: Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South

Author: Karen L. Cox

Summary:

In 1932, the city of Natchez, Mississippi, reckoned with an unexpected influx of journalists and tourists as the lurid story of a local murder was splashed across headlines nationwide. Two eccentrics, Richard Dana and Octavia Dockery–known in the press as the “Wild Man” and the “Goat Woman”–enlisted an African American man named George Pearls to rob their reclusive neighbor, Jennie Merrill, at her estate. During the attempted robbery, Merrill was shot and killed. The crime drew national coverage when it came to light that Dana and Dockery, the alleged murderers, shared their huge, decaying antebellum mansion with their goats and other livestock, which prompted journalists to call the estate “Goat Castle.” Pearls was killed by an Arkansas policeman in an unrelated incident before he could face trial. 

However, as was all too typical in the Jim Crow South, the white community demanded “justice,” and an innocent black woman named Emily Burns was ultimately sent to prison for the murder of Merrill. Dana and Dockery not only avoided punishment but also lived to profit from the notoriety of the murder.

In telling this strange, fascinating story, Karen Cox highlights the larger ideas that made the tale so irresistible to the popular press and provides a unique lens through which to view the transformation of the plantation South into the fallen, Gothic South.

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19st century Psalter. Isolated over white with clipping path

My review:

This was a great book to read this month. It reminded me that no matter how much I push the boundaries of probability with writing, TRUTH IS STILL STRANGER THAN FICTION! Seriously, I could not make this stuff up.

A faded Southern belle murdered during a home invasion, planned by a couple who live in a house full of goat crap?? Who would imagine that? And then to have them get away with the crime, but a random Black woman have it pinned on her? OK, actually, that sounds completely believable. Sad, but true.

As crazy as the plot is, the writer was constrained by what actually happened. I think where she excels is in building a picture of the characters involved. I felt so angry and sad for Emily Burns, the woman chosen to be the scapegoat for the crime. The sheriff never believed she had done it, but after the local police forced a confession from her, his hands were tied. Even then, she had to go to trial, but of course she couldn’t afford a strong defense, so she was found guilty by a local jury. The sheriff figured he was lucky to avoid a lynch mob, but Burns served 8 years for a crime she didn’t commit.

I really enjoyed this one. It reminds me a lot of The Devil in the Grove, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. I read an ARC edition of this one, and there were some formatting issues, but the story was visceral and real.

Rapunzel’s Revenge: A Review

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Rapunzel is a terrible tomboy growing up in a very restricted castle with no one but the guards and her mother around. One day she decides to climb to the wall that surrounds the castle.

What she sees comes as a complete shock. The entire horizon, as far as she can see, is a complete wasteland. Her mother has used her magic to drain the energy and power from the land and used it to create the gardens and food she grows for the castle. Even worse, Rapunzel’s own real mother is working in the mines. Rapunzel was taken from her by the witch.

Well, anyone familiar with the story knows what comes next, with the whole locked in a tower thing. But the Hales have given this story a fun Western twist and made Rapunzel a feisty heroine who can save herself, thank you very much. She eventually does meet Jack and teams up with him to save her real mother and stop the witch.

Lots of fun.

Quote #5

book aestheticsThe police were done with their interviews, but a strange tension seemed to have crept over the lab. The nurses and other staff had taken to leaving in pairs so no one had to go out to the parking lot alone. Security was more alert, and several memos had circulated reminding employees of safety procedures. Too little, too late, in Lutie’s opinion.

–WIP, Cindy Bohn

 

Information about my Work in Progress –

30,000 words

mystery/thriller

biracial MC

set in Grand Junction, CO

about halfway done, outline for the rest!!

Top 10 Tuesday – Sherlock Holmes

I’m kind of struggling with my blog this month. I’m so focused on NaNoWriMo and writing my book that I don’t have much brain left for anything else! But lists are always fun, so I decided to come up with some list today, and since I’m reading a Sherlock Holmes book right now I thought I would create a list of my 10 favorite stories about Sherlock Holmes.

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  1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. Always start with the original. There are problems here, that’s for sure. Doyle didn’t do rewrites so there were plenty of errors that didn’t get fixed. When it comes to creating an iconic character, though, Doyle got it exactly right.
  2. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King. The only retelling that created an original character who can stand up to Holmes and Watson. Mary Russell makes the perfect transition from the Victorian world into the modern. I love the whole series, but start from the beginning.
  3. The House of Silk by Antony Horowitz. He sticks close to the original but comes up with a new story. Great job.
  4. The Seven Percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer. Amazing twist on the whole Moriarty thing. Confronts one of the most troubling aspects of Holmes’s story.
  5. The West End Horror by Nicholas Meyer and —
  6. Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye. Both of these take advantage of the fact that Holmes worked during the time when Jack the Ripper was operating.
  7. The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer. This kid’s book is not so much about Sherlock Holmes as about his younger sister, invented cleverly here by the author. Very fun series.
  8. Sherlock Holmes through Time and Space, edited by Isaac Asimov. There are so many short stories that revolve around Holmes that it’s hard to pick one. But I *loved* the idea behind this one. Why limit such a great character to Victorian England? Even to Earth. Holmes as a robot, Holmes in space – why not!
  9. Moriarty by Antony Horowitz – I already reviewed this one here. Amazing. Amazing! You have to read this one. Listen to this one instead of reading it.
  10. A Three Pipe Problem by Julian Symons. This one takes on an actor who plays Holmes. He starts having a few problems with telling reality from the role.

Hope this list has given you Sherlock Holmes fans some ideas for further reading. If you’re not a fan already, I’d say start with the short stories. They are lots of fun.

Nanowrimo check – in

How’s your book going? Are you still excited? Or has the push to write every day slowed you down too much?

Writing should not be a chore, IMO, but it also shouldn’t wait until you’re “in the mood” to write. Sometimes good stuff comes from pushing yourself to write when you don’t feel like writing.

Here’s my book stats so far.

Title: The Second Killer

Setting: Grand Junction, Colorado

Protagonist: Lutie Mitchell, lab technician

Other characters: Eli, Lutie’s brother, also biracial, Special Forces; Josh, Lutie’s boyfriend, Maddy, nurse, Lutie’s best friend, Agent Daniel Stapleton and Agent Jen Moreda, both FBI.

My biggest challenge so far has been continuity – keeping the story in a logical timeline and making sure things are happening in the right order

My biggest triumph has been writing through some emotional stuff and still getting in the words, even when I had a migraine.

How are you doing? Any tips you want to share? Anything you’re struggling with? Let me know!

Are You Invested in Your Book?

A Writer's Path

by John Briggs

When you finish writing your book, few people will doubt you’re committed to your writing. You’ve spent months or years putting it on paper, and hopefully poured your heart into every word. If the work is personal enough, you’ve invested a great deal of yourself. If nothing else, you’ve invested your time and talent.

But now that it’s done, are you truly invested in making your book a success?

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