story

Maze 2:12:3 Storytelling

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 12:3
In the last episode 2:12:2 Blood on the streets of Oakland! Panic on the streets of Oakland! Murder on the streets of Oakland!
And here is the latest — 5 star review — for Maze.

review

Review: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On Writing: A Memoir of the CraftOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

King’s book on writing (written around 1999).
I thought it was helpful. I particular took a mental note on his comments about drafting. How he works it. Also the importance of having a beta readers, or someone like Tabitha King in your corner. I like how he also recognized the ‘magical’ part of the writing process. I think both beginning writers and tried and true authors could learn something from this book. And it is etched with King’s trademark sense of humor and some really cool anecdotes.

story

Maze 2:12:2 Storytelling

Book 2
Daughter Of Darkness Series
Chapter 12
Part 2
In the last episode 2:12:1 Maze and Ame and Kell are taking the subway back under the San Francisco Bay when they spot a bottom feeder of a guy who is planning to prey on a drunken girl. Little does he know, he is being watched. And he will be taken.

reduce me

put me ona stove
ina pot

tic-tic-tic
blue flames burst forth

beneath the pot
and i

its gettin warm in
here someone please
open the fenetre

i see you through the windows
we have cleaned

the windex was blue
then turned green

by the pines and redwoods
on the autre side

those lil bubbles forming
all along our sides
and bottom

the surface begins
to circulate

a young mist sprouts
out and hoverin

awaitin you and
me in the aquamarine
sky we seen

hi

waitin for my fix

outside

chick passes me
like im a telephone pole

unlocks the glass door
i say HEY

all i need is a filter
and some water under
boil SEE

i got this fukkin maxwell
house

OFF the street
while waitin

THANKS

she snarls but
comes back with the
smokin teapot and
papers

my shaking hands
take the paper
lean my head back
on my nekk

empty tin into
paper put paper
over mouth

lift teapot over
head and POUR

now im really
flyin

HI

book review

Review: Hilda the wicked witch

Hilda the wicked witchHilda the wicked witch by Paul Kater
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a lighthearted story introducing a wicked witch made famous now by prolific author Paul Kater in his ongoing series of many books. I have been reading one of the other tales, Lycadea, which I am enjoying, so I wanted to get back to the first book where Hilda arrives through a mishap with a mirror and an attempt to confront a black-haired beauty who may be stealing her thunder. She comes across to the humans like that stereotypical ‘crazy lady’, but when she manifests her magic, she gets your attention for sure. I found this an easy read and rather fun and playful. Most of the characters were not really well-developed, but this is a novella or novelette, so this was understandable. I wasn’t overly impressed by the writing, but it is interesting to see the evolution in Kater’s writing (compared against his later work). This author from the Netherlands weaves a good tale with comedy and magic. Many readers have grown attached to Hilda and follow the series religiously.

book review

Review: Valley of the Dolls

Valley of the DollsValley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Such a great cover and title, and the synopsis / blurb lured me in. But it was a long and rather dull read with lots of trite remarks and careless writing, and the story seemed to drag on forever, possibly because the characters were shallow and unlikable. An exception to this was Neely. I really liked Neely. She should have been the star, all along. All the other characters are in some sorta finishing school for robots and stepford wives and materialists and breeders. Fakers. Oooh, I really was waiting for an apocalyptic moment, to turn the whole thing around and feature a world run by roaches, with Nelly as the grand puba at the top of the Empire State Building, or what was left of it, anyway.

book review

Review: Only Human

Only HumanOnly Human by J.D. Estrada
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Only Human is the debut novel by JD Estrada, and the first in a series. The world-building here gets five of five stars. There’s a very rich imagination churning through these pages which kept me reading when otherwise I might have fallen off. I was confused and uncomfortable throughout the first third, stumbling alongside our courageous protagonist, Nathaniel, a human minority in a world full of demons, vampires, angels, therians, and a conscious plant kingdom. The story is ‘high fantasy’. An about-face for this career journalist turned author. You find yourself transported to various places (some on earth), from oceans to battlefields to forests to strange labyrinthine settings where shadows come to life and god knows what else. Step aside Naked Lunch, it’s time for dinner! The characters are quirky. Some are clearly dark and demonic, while others are beyond good and evil, and have settled into a murky (and endearing) gray area. A few fallen angels. And good news: the tired old morality play is mostly shoved in the trunk. Estrada emphasizes questions over answers. But there is a ripple through his universe which demands that an alliance form between disparate groups to defeat a vile enemy force, if only they can all get along for a minute.

Many of the characters enjoy deep and abiding friendships, particularly the vampires who have lived long enough to form them. I particularly enjoyed the interplay between Liam and Daniel and Nathaniel. Wonderful, cheeky dialogue. The main characters are robust. They cover a lot of ground, both physically and metaphysically. There are an awful lot of periphery characters (I had trouble keeping track of them all), and yet there is an unspoken ground always beneath them, which has something to do with mother’s lemon cake. The protagonist was endearing from the start, as he blunders his way through confusing new worlds and experiences; Nathaniel is an inquisitive human with a compelling sense of loyalty and justice. From the gate he is challenged by vampires who for some odd reason have decided to let him live (they will need him). He goes through many manipulations of body, mind and feeling, all of which are very well described. I got especially hooked when nature began to manifest around him in all sorta fascinating manner, just past the halfway point. Only as the story evolved did I begin to feel attached to his struggle in having to dig down deep to survive.

Nathaniel has to contend with the chaos and everyone around him, and when he exceeds everyone’s expectations, it does not go to his head. You get the sense that what he really has to contend with is himself. < sigh > Don’t we all? This is where he grabbed my heart. I really liked how loyal he was, putting his life on the line for his new friends. He has a wry sense of humor, I laughed many times. By the end I was pleasantly surprised by my own attachment to this story. I guess the emotional connect crept up on me. Which is good! I look forward to more adventures. This is an impressive and ambitious start for JD Estrada, and author with a talent for world-building and dialogue, and a most expressive imagination.