Required Reading

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Encanto by Arthur Swan

The Encanto by Arthur Swan

This book has an intriguing premise but I felt it jumped around without appropriate preparation.   An ancient possibly Mayan artifact draws the attention of a billionaire.  He then disappears from the storyline.   The premise of the book is character development and how experiences force identity introspection.

Each character was well developed except for Evan York, the billionaire. The characters underwent some significant changes in their life which caused them to re-evaluate their identity.

I enjoyed the in-depth character development but found the plot a bit murky.



 


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Friday, October 15, 2021

Q&A with Arthur Swan Author of The Encanto




Q&A with Arthur Swan Author of The Encanto

 1.    Where did you grow up /live now?

            I grew up in Wilson, a small tobacco town in eastern North Carolina. I now reside in Los Angeles.

 2.    As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

            As a very young child, I had plethora of career ambitions ranging from garbage man (the guy who rides on the back of the truck, not the one who has to drive it) to veterinarian. I also recall wanting to be a biologist for a few years and a musician.

 3.    What is your education/career background?

            Math Science

 4.    What first inspired you to write?

            In fifth grade, “volunteers” were selected to read our writing assignments aloud to the class. I was deathly terrified. I nearly passed out the first time I stood up there in front of the whole class, everyone staring at me as I tried to discern the slop I passed off as handwriting. After I stuttering through the first paragraph, a miracle happened—the kids laughed at my joke. And hearing their laughter, the ones who weren’t paying attention suddenly perked up. It was a transformative experience. Now the whole class was suddenly ready to hear what came next. They wanted to be entertained. They yearned for it. And I wanted to give it to them. After that, the writing assignments became my highest priority pieces of homework. I learned to type them up, so I could read them more easily, which I’m sure my teacher appreciated, as well.

 5.    Where/When do you best like to write?

            I like to write at 5:30 in the morning before doing anything else. As the sun comes up and the days starts, I like to be writing. Then no matter how crazy things get later on, at least I know I got some writing done.

 6.    What do you think makes a good story?

            A character who readers identify with, who must undergo a transformation.

 7.    What inspired your story?

            All the people in LA who lead socially isolated lives because they are so focused on their careers, and, often, moved to LA from somewhere else, with no family or friends or local support network. I started thinking how some isolated person’s life could go totally off the rails with no one else even knowing. Even things that get reported on often get boiled down of a catchy headline. Often, so much is left out that people come to the wrong conclusion. And more often the truth is even more unbelievable than what you hear.

            Also I wanted to write about the difference between people who can believe in something without knowing it’s true and those who can’t.

 8.    How does a new story idea come to you? Is it an event that sparks the plot or a character speaking to you?

            Character. I do like the idea of starting from an event, but without a character who is changed by the event you don’t have a story.

 9.    Is there a message/theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

            I want readers to think about the choices they’re making, if they’re really getting where they want to go. And to think about all the misunderstandings that occur when people communicate, all the misperceptions and incorrect assumptions.

 10.  What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

            Getting it done. I thought it would be fun to write a horror suspense novel where I could play with spooky images. Something quick and easy. But now here I am after six years, finally launching the first installment of a quartet.

 11.  On a Friday night, what are you most likely to be doing?

            Friday night represents a transition from my day job to a relaxing weekend of writing peppered with outdoor activities. I like to start it off with a good meal, maybe a burrito from Aroma Coffee and Tea. Then, either read or watch a show. I love Black Mirror, but sometimes it’s just too dark and too close to reality. Right now, I’m excited about the new season of Ted Lasso.

 12.  What do you like to do when you are not writing?

            Read, swim, hike, paddle board, and just sit outside and stare at the horizon.

 13.  Who are some of your favorite authors?

            James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Andre Dubus III, Stephen King, Donna Tartt, John Kennedy Toole, Kurt Vonnegut.

 14.  Whats the best writing advice you have ever received?

            “We have to remember that the greatest triumphs and the greatest tragedies of the human race are nothing to do with people being basically good or people being basically evil. Theyre all to do with people being basically people.” - Neil Gaiman.

 15.  What was your favorite book as a child?

            The Little Prince.

 16.  What is the one book no writer should be without?

            Writing the Block Buster Novel by Albert Zuckerman. Currently, my favorite book on writing.

 17.  Is there a character you identify with more than any of the others?

            I identify with every one of them. When writing, I imagine I am that character. What it would be like if, for example, I weighed three hundred pounds? I do know what its like to want to eat even when I know its bad for me or I’m not hungry.  When possible, I read something by someone with that experience, or talk to them. I have a friend who’s overweight and I’ve seen the effect on his self-image.

            Ashley is probably the character I have the least in common with but I understand her feeling of social isolation caused by ambition, and living in LA. I’ve seen how isolated some people have become by their own wealth. I understand how living with another persons family seeds this longing she had for one of her own.

 

18.  What will LA FOG part 2 be released?

            Wayob’s Revenge is currently in the editing phase. Expect it in April or May, 2022.

 


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Thursday, October 7, 2021

To Light a Candle by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory


This is the sequel to The Outstretched Shadow with book three of the trilogy in my TBR pile.   Kellen has grown enormously in his role of Knight-Mage.    Ancaladar and Jermayan add some spice to the mix of characters.   The plot is simple, Demons vs. Humans.

Although the plot is clear the characters aren’t always clear.   The nuances of behavior are what makes so many of Lackey’s books so worthwhile.

There is coming of age and frustrated and deadly dealings with the endarkened.

I enjoyed the book and am enjoying the series. 


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned



Saturday, October 2, 2021

Reboots: Undead Can Dance by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin

Humphrey Boggart (A boggart is a creature in English folklore, either a household spirit or a malevolent genius loci (that is, a geographically-defined spirit) a boggart who was saddled with his first name by who originally summoned him.  He is a private eye in a world populated by Norms and Paras.   Paras being Fangs/vampires, Furs/weres and a wealth of other worldly creatures.  The story collection is tied together with Humphrey’s relationship with a werewolf and a zombie.   They collectively become the PI firm of Boggart, the Barke and the Bot.

The stories are entertaining and fun to read.   I particularly liked Skinny Jim.

I recommend this book.

 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Monday, September 27, 2021

Alien Hostiles: Solar Warden Book Two by Ian Douglas



This is second book of  a series.  Mark Hunter, a Navy SEAL, finds himself directing a mixed band of special ops troops.   Said troops are to provide security for a starship.   The ship travels through both space and time.  Earth is being manipulated by aliens but primarily our own ancestors and our reptilian predecessors.   The manipulation is intended to guarantee the existence of the manipulators.  Confused yet?

Hunter’s ethics are at odds with the chain of command that seeks to appease the groups by ignoring human exploitation and suffering.

 The plot centers on a trip to a distant planet that is the home of space faring Nazis. 

 The book explains the plausibility of such a ludicrous notion.

Space travel and time travel are adroitly merged by Douglas.

 Overall, the book was very good and I look forward to the next volume.

 As an aside, considering the number of potentially inhabitable planets in just our galaxy, it is the height of arrogance to assume we are the only intelligent (often questionable) life to be found. 

 This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart




Stick with this, it starts confusing and well, ends a bit confusing but is still worth reading.   The Paradox Hotel is where the time travelers stay before going through the Einstein time portal.  January Cole is the hotel detective.   Her interaction with the rest of the characters is really the core of the plot.

There is a plan to use the time portal to change history to benefit someone.  I am not clear as to whom but there are speculations or possibly inferences.  

January is of the school that tampering with history can be catastrophic.   The villains all feel that as long as the historic tampering benefits them, all is well.

The book had some interesting premises.

  This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Friday, September 17, 2021

Isolate by L.E. Modesitt



Modesitt can get wordy and is a social scientist in his writing.  His social commentary is often subtle and occasionally less than subtle.  In a fictional land government is in need of a change.  The major characters are a councilor, one of sixty-six and his two security aides. How they go about making change is the plot.

Avrall, an empath, and Dekkard an isolate are security specialists guarding Obreduur a Craft Councilor.   Avrall’s ability to sense others thoughts and Dekkard’s exceptional reflexes do an admirable job of protecting Obreduur. 

The three find themselves dealing with assassins, political chicanery and the tedium of politicking.

Once again those who avidly read Modesitt are aware that his books carry a load of societal insights.  There is some action.

I really enjoyed the book and I always lament there isn’t more on the last page. 


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned