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

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island: A Review

Ok hello again readers and welcome to the review of Treasure Island!

First off, Treasure Island is one of those classic “young-kid-turns-dashing-hero’ novels which were pretty prolific during the late 1800s. Its well written, if a little dry, but lacks nothing in the interest department. Every action is thought out and meticulously catalogued, to the point where some basic levels of seafaring knowledge are almost required to get the full enjoyment out of the book. Besides that, for a seafaring nerd like me it’s a good read and a grand tale of adventure to boot.

My only qualm with this book was how much the characters rambled. Then again, that was a common feature of writing styles of the time period and in some ways it did give the book its own kind of flavour, one which isn’t often seen these days. I’d liken it to the way Moby Dick was written, with complete attention to detail. Sometimes a little too much, perhaps. I did find, though, that the more I read of the book the easier it was to overlook these niggling details and enjoy the plot for what it was. I became so absorbed in it that I nearly missed my bus stop.

By far, the most colourful characters in Treasure Island were the pirates themselves. Each action was a drama-filled festivity, a stroke of a paintbrush of a million colours. One might even think that Stevenson had spent time with the pirates he wrote about. To some degree this has given me more inspiration for working on Pirates of Time, which I haven’t touched in a while thanks to work commitments.

That said, I think Treasure Island is a keeper for me. Its a novel you want to reread, one that gives you a warm sense of home whenever you crack it open. For me, that’s the most important thing.

That’s it from me for now, but please stay tuned for my next review of Rebecca Makkai’s The Borrower.

AdmiralCarter

Dreamstealer and Camp NaNo 2015: An Update. Also libraries are cool.

Hello all!

I will preface this post with the fact that it’s currently 0200 hours here in Aus. It’s damn cold, and I can’t sleep.

So as you can judge by the title, I’ve been keeping myself very busy with work on my newest WIP, Dreamstealer. It’s shaping up to be a surprising novel, not just because I’m writing in an unfamiliar style (first person limited) but also because it somehow feels more full than my other pieces have. I am behind on my 50k word count, but I’m making solid progress towards catching up within the next week or so (7205 words and counting). I’ve always enjoyed reading fantasy work, so perhaps that has something to do with it? Who knows. My characters are amicable and easy to work with, in contrast to Jeremiah who’s sulking something wicked because I haven’t worked on Pirates of Time in just over two weeks. I’ll get to you, buddy. No need to get your sails in a twist.

In other news, I recently made a research trip to my local library and came back with five books which ought to help me with both WIPs. Most are fiction, except for one non-fiction book about the kings and queens of the middle ages in Europe. The fiction books are mostly to help with pacing, but also to get a better idea of how steampunk worlds are built. As much effort as I’ve put in, Google’s abilities to help me have unfortunately come to an end. It’s a very tall stack of books and my D&D dice are sitting on top, waiting for my next game in a week. Things are getting busy. I plan to go back to the library and put some other books on hold from the other libraries in my district; all the good ones seem to be ages away from me. The minute I came home with the book stack my father asked me how I’d get time to read them all in between the 100 or so other books on my shelf which have yet to be opened. I justified these ones as ‘research’.

Anywho, that’s it from me for now. I’ll be giving more frequent updates as the month goes on.

And yes, I’m still reading Dune.

Never stop reading/writing!

AdmiralCarter

Camp NaNo 2015

Hello all!

So as you’ve probably noticed by my banner I’ve decided to tackle Camp NaNo for 2015. This will be my first camp, and my target is 50,000 words in a month. Piece of cake, right? Let’s hope so.

This time I’m working on a new project alongside Pirates of Time, and this new project is called Dreamstealer. It’s a high fantasy novel set on a world called Elari, where the Dream-Elders who rule the five provinces through predictive dreams are beginning to die because of a creature called the Dreamstealer. The Dreamstealer eats their dreams, and uses it to fuel chaos and unrest throughout the provinces. Wars are raging once more, and Elari is thrown into a state of bloody warfare and provincial rivalry, warlords have taken control and nowhere is safe. In the midst of all this chaos, one teenager – Eri Torain – has discovered that she has Dream Elder abilities, and is tasked with not only defeating the Dreamstealer but also with restoring peace and prosperity to the lands of Elari. Will she succeed? Stay tuned to find out!

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately.

As always, never stop reading!

AdmiralCarter

Another day, another chapter..

Hello all!

Thought I’d give you an update on what’s happening since it’s been a while. I’ve been darting between a bunch of different books lately, including the Dune chronicles by Frank Herbert, The Road to Dune, Angus Konstam’s Blackbeard biography, a novelisation of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and other various books from the local library which have all been aiding me in writing Pirates of Time. It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind in that regard, not to mention the nine secondhand books I picked up from the Lifeline Bookfest this past weekend. The teetering tower beside my bedside table has returned, except its now capped by my DnD figurines and my flower press. I’ve also been playing way too much Skyrim, but have had to give that a break due to a lack of health potions and a need of a new strategy.

Now that I’m well and truly back on the writing wagon, I find that my creative drive has changed somewhat. I’ve had to switch over writing programs from Microsoft Word to a handy little fullscreen program called Q10, which is great for writing without distractions and aiding with the short creative bursts I seem to favour these days. On top of that, inspiration has struck me square in the face once more and Pirates of Time is getting a sequel. Now, I know what you’re saying. I haven’t finished the first book. And I know, but I’m getting ever closer with each chapter and now that I can see the horizon it’s easy for me to finish my pantsing and really get into the nitty gritty of my planning. I’m one of those people who start out with a general plan, which is slowly built up over time and then cemented as I get closer to the end of the piece. It isn’t the most efficient way, but who said writing had to be efficient if it was meant to be creative?

The sequel is slowly in development. It still has no title. I do, however, know what I want it to be about. I’ve talked about it a little on my Facebook page, but no more details until then! Speaking of my page, I’ve recently decided to take up a nom-de-plum for the sake of my slightly hard to pronounce surname. I’ll see how that goes.

What are your thoughts on nom-de-plums and novel planning, everyone? Fill up that comments box, I love getting to read about your thoughts. Hopefully I’ll get up another book review soon it’s been too long.

Until next time and never stop reading!

AdmiralCarter.

Yo ho, yo ho, an author’s life for me

Hello everyone!

I do apologise for my absence. My dear Jeremiah has been taking up almost all of my time lately and staunchly refusing to let me work on anything but my novel. As most of you know, Pirates of Time is my current project and although I’ve been working on it since November of last year, it’s only now that the realities of being a writer have sunk in.

Let me clarify. For those of you who write regularly, I’m sure you’ve had the experience of telling someone about your novel, only for that person to immediately get excited and ask you for a first copy or an autograph. I’ve had many of these experiences myself, but never have I been asked for an autograph. Until today.

Most people I’ve spoken to have loved the idea behind my work: a former naval officer, turned privateer and then pirate for the sake of taking vengeance on the British state and patriarchy which had so wronged him in his childhood, only to then find himself stuck in the middle of an international fight for power and the arrival of creatures who wish to own the planet for themselves and have for years been working in the background to accomplish their goals. He’s faced with the choice of saving the planet, or forsaking his own morals and drive for the good of the British Empire. And so it is that Captain Jeremiah Carter of the HMS Excalibur finds himself faced with the greatest of calamities on the high seas and in the skies, and a brother who will stop at nothing to destroy him. I guess it’s a good feeling to know that people like the idea enough to read it (at least four suggested I turn it into a movie but I am a shocking scriptwriter), but it still freaks me out a little when people get excited. It makes me wonder what I’m to expect once I publish, and how things might change in the future. I hope good things but we never can tell until we get there.

Alas my tea has run out and I am in need of more.

Don’t stop reading,

AdmiralCarter