Glenn Cooper’s Library Of The Dead, and an update

Hello everyone and welcome back to uh, that thing I do where I blog about books!

I know, I know. It’s been ages. I’ve been dealing with a lot of… stuff, lately. Personal, most of it good but some things have required me to adjust and its taken up a lot of my time. Along with that I’ve been madly collecting books (help, I might get swallowed by them) and working furiously on my novel, Pirates of Time, which I’m planning to publish this year if the proverbial fates allow. Work has been swallowing up a lot of time too so that’s been fun (regular travel to the other side of town, aka, where did five hours of my life just go).

Onwards with the review! I’ve been reading Library of the Dead for quite some time now. Largely, this has been because of a very slow start to the book itself. I was convinced I wouldn’t keep it and just send it off to another good home, buuuut the end has me clinging onto it like a favourite sweater. The writing style is clipped and to the point, which is something I’ve always liked in an adventure novel. It’s got a little mystery thrown in, along with some perhaps predictable but still fun romance, and it kept me hooked until the end. It reminded me very much of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, specifically in its structure and pace. It certainly fits in with the adventure theme that the late 2000’s produced, and has the same style of witty banter and relateable characters.

The main character, Will, is a perpetually drunken FBI agent tasked with unravelling the Doomsday Case, a string of what is assumed to be murders with no obvious culprit. His search leads him down many twisting paths, but the last thing he expected was to uncover a centuries old mystery that itself has no logical explanation. His investigation is often stymied by false leads and an uncooperative government, and ends with a twist that leaves him both jobless and shocked, but a better man. There’s a lead to a sequel as well, The Book of Souls, which Will again features in. The first chapter and the prologue were included at the end of my copy, and it looks to be a book I’d happily read though it seems to be based on a similar premise to its predecessor.

Critiques and other comments… the only thing that really bothered me was the slow start to the novel. In saying that, the slow approach did help to make the climaxes that much more exciting. The novel’s characters did play to some stereotypes, but in the end it worked in favour of the piece by adding extra colour and intrigue to the plot. Will was an unpredictable narrator: you never quite knew what he’d do next, and his believability was only enhanced.

All in all, I’ve decided to hold onto Library of the Dead, and I look forward to reading its sequel. It’s a slamming adventure novel and one I’d definitely recommend to anyone who is a die hard fan of the genre.

Happy reading, folks, and stay tuned for more updates and reviews!

-P

The Curse of Writer’s Block

Hello everyone and welcome to a much delayed post! I do apologise for my absence. I’ve been dealing with some personal issues and I hope they’re all resolved. AT ANY RATE, said issues have been giving me a horrible case of writer’s block and it is with this post that I tell you what I did to fix it! Also share some fun things.

ORDER THE FIRST: http://tabletopaudio.com/

So. Reasons why this is great. One, it’s designed for D&D games. Two, it also works for PoT, which is what I’ve been trying to get my head around with the writer’s block.

ORDER THE SECOND: https://mynoise.net/

This site has been my go-to for quite some time now. It’s particularly good for doing scenes situated in craggy mountain passes, or like… monasteries and things.

ORDER THE THIRD: Self Care.

I had a friend point out to me how important it is to keep yourself in good check, even when you think you might be okay. I’ve been working a heck of a lot lately and my boss was most wonderful and thought I could do with five days off. I’ve been spending the time gaming and not doing very much, but I’d also forgotten that sometimes you just have to go outside for some fresh air, eat healthy, go do something wholesome. AND DRINK YOUR WATER. Tea is good and all but you can’t survive on it. Stress relief is also very important, particularly if your ordinary home environment isn’t as supportive as it could be. I like to try and meditate or go visit different parts of the city sometimes for this, and it really does help.

ORDER THE FOURTH: Expand Your Horizons!

So here you are, a writer, sitting with your laptop or your Alphasmart or your notepad, and you think to yourself that your writing might be getting a bit stale. ADVENTURE, MY FRIENDS! Go out, explore the world. It’s there for you to enjoy, so go do it. Lean something new. Pick up a book, visit a museum or go see a play. Sometimes your work can seem stale because you’ve been staring at it for too long, or because your surroundings are also stale and a bit crabby because when was the last time you vacuumed? Made that bed? Sorted that kitchen cupboard that’s been bugging you for weeks? Do the thing. Make the progress. Clear the cobwebs. WRITE.

So yeah. That’s my little spiel for the time being. I’ve also been tearing my way through a few books, which I might review as time goes on.

Do stay tuned, and good luck with your projects both great and small! Or like, anything in between. Do your thing.

-P

Review: The Road to Dune

Hello everyone!

I know it’s been far too long. I should really get to updating this more regularly. Anyway, the past few weeks (months?) have seen me take a trip to Melbourne, where I picked up a few more books and spent my days blissfully immersed in the culture and amazing culinary delights of the capital city. It was also freezing and very wet, so it was almost a reprieve to return to the warm climes of Brisbane (although my immediate need for air conditioning when I got off the plane would tell you otherwise).

Work has been keeping me suitably busy too, and as a result I’ve had very little time to write since the conclusion of July’s Camp NaNo in which I managed to smash a goal of 15,000 words on Dreamchaser, the second book in the ‘Verse Chronicles (working titles). I’ve since grabbed a copy of the ever lauded Scrivener software, and it’s been surprisingly helpful in my efforts to rekindle my daily writing habits. Sometimes a change of pace really is all you need.

To the review! The Road to Dune, written by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson, is a collaborative companion to the Dune series (the first book, Dune, published in 1965 and written by Frank Herbert). This treasure trove of information speaks of many things, including Herbert’s worldbuilding process for the Dune series, many short stories and spinoffs, character information and inspiration, and even excerpt from letters between Herbert and his editors on the concepts driving the Dune series. As someone who has only read the first novel in the six-book sci-fi series, I did encounter a few spoilers about the following books. That didn’t bother me too much, though, because the series itself is so complex that it needs a guide.

What did I really like about this? It’s attention to detail. I’ve read a few companion books in the past, but none of them really give you an insight into the author’s mind like The Road to Dune did. It mirrors the detail given to the world construction in the Dune series, and even clears up some of the more confounded ideas. Since Dune focuses heavily on political manoeuvres, its easy to get lost and forget who’s doing what. That’s a quality which originally drew me into the series, but eventually I began wondering if I needed to keep a timeline. The companion clears that up, and points out how some of the characters were meant to serve different roles than what they ended up doing.

What else stood out? In particular, the longevity of the Dune series. One thing I’ve heard many readers say is that although they liked the book/series, it felt too long and drawn out. It reminds me in some ways of the “too many sequels” problem that some perfectly good movies suffer from, where over time some of the original content becomes mired in too many layers of meaning and it loses its charm. The first book of Dune still holds its attraction for me, but after reading the development within the companion, it seems that the whole cult following that Paul Atriedes creates is… perhaps taken too far. Then again, maybe that’s a reflection on how humanity deals with things like that. Take something and run with it, until it loses steam, then pick up something else. It’s a perpetual cycle, and its definitely reflected well in Dune and in the following works spotlighted in The Road to Dune.

There’s not much more to say on that point. I was reading this book in between reading Dune and a bunch of other novels, including Skeins Unfurled by K.M. Vanderbilt, so progress has been very slow. Next on my review list will be Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, which I picked up some time ago from a secondhand book sale and am already enamoured with. Along with that, I’ll be working on some language details for the ‘Verse Chronicles, so stay tuned for conlang developments!

That’s all from me. Don’t stop reading!

AdmiralCarter

 

 

Dreamstealer, and Blog Updates

Hello readers!

So as I capped off my last post with indecision about what to read next, I thought I’d update you all on what’s happening.

I may have gone on a book buying spree and picked up a copy of KM Vanderbilt’s Skeins Unfurled: Prequel to the Breadth Key Cycle, as well as the very talented RR Virdi’s books Grave Beginnings and Grave Measures. I’ve been informed that these are stellar novels, so I thought I’d give them a go. I still have to get through Dream Stalker by Amy Hopkins too, so from these selections I doubt I’ll be in need of any new reading material for quite some times.

As for my own work, as some of you may know progress on the Dreamstealer books ground to a halt recently thanks to the dreaded writer’s block, which despite my best efforts I hadn’t been able to shake. Until about two days ago, when out of nowhere I managed a few hundred words for the draft of Book 2. It’s been a steady progress since then, which is encouraging, and so long as I keep it up I should be back on track to have it finished so I can get to editing Book One. Which needs… rather a lot of work. I’ve also had a few revelations about characters, and decided that my plot could do with some shaping up too.

Anyway, back to work for me. I’ll keep you all updated.

Don’t stop reading!

AdmiralCarter.

Updates, and Camp NaNo April 2016

Hello readers!

Apologies for being so absent lately. Last month has been slightly crazy in between catching up on reading, Camp, a holiday, and my job. So let’s start from the top, shall we?

The beginning of April marked the first round of Camp NaNoWriMo, which I started participating in last year. As some of you may (or may not) know, I recently went through a major case of writer’s block which left me without words for the better part of 6 months. This was mostly because I was adjusting to my new job (which isn’t so new any more). As a result, work on Dreamstealer came to a grinding halt and it sat at onto 800 pages for far too long. So when April started, it was kind of a kick in the rear to get back to work. Except… I still had no motivation. My solution was to start working on Book Two of the Dreamstealer chronicles, which I’ve called Dreamchaser. I’m not even a full chapter in, but so far its turning out to be a far darker work than its predecessor. Once I have the ground work done, (and the third book done and dusted, its funny how one book can suddenly turn into a trilogy) I plan on going back for edits, beta reads, and then the big publishing day. I’m both nervous and incredibly excited that the Dreamstealer series is going to be my first book. It’s a huge task, but I never said I didn’t like a good challenge!

Besides Camp, April has been full of nerdy pastimes including a trip to Supanova on the second week of the month with my boyfriend. It was great fun and I came home with way too much loot. I also played a bit too much Skyrim, and may or may not have generated a new idea for a sci-fi novel. In between all of this I decided I would finish reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s  Treasure Island, which has been sitting on my bedside table for goodness knows how long. It was… an interesting read, which I’ll detail in my next post because otherwise this one will be humungous.

So, happy May, and onwards to the review!

-P

WINNING CAMP NANO!

Hello everyone!

Yes it’s super late so I’ll make this short.

I just won Camp NaNo for 2015! I’m so excited! I only had a limit of 30k this time around, as I started late and there was no way I’d get through the usual 50k. Even so, Dreamstealer is taking great shape and I’m very excited to see what happens next!

For now though, dear readers, I’m signing off. The bed calls.

Don’t stop reading!

-AdmiralCarter