Monday 15 April 2013

Just finished reading: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Okay. Need to rest after reading this one. I blasted through the last 120 pages or so. I do still think you read it more carefully when it is the printed book rather than Kindle, so for authors I really love, I will get the printed book. I am still not sold on the whole Kindle thing!

Wow. A terrific read that balances the first book nicely. It was a very satisfying book, and I never expected it to be as godo as the first. If you take it as one whole volume, you have one hell of a story there.

Apart from Kendare's amazing way with words and descriptions, what''s really freaky is that there is a home, just like on the cover of Anna Dressed in Blood, close to my old junior school. I haven't been up there in years, but now I am tempted, just to see if Anna's there. God, I hope not.

I need to relax and recover from this one, then do a more detailed review. Good on you Kendare Blake. You've done it again.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Currently Reading: "Girl of Nightmares" by Kendare Blake

[book:Girl of Nightmares|12507214]

After I had read the first 'Anna' book, 'Anna Dressed in Blood', I was excited and at the same time, a bit scared of the follow up, 'Girl of Nightmares', because the standard set in Anna, 1, was so high.

How could it possibly match it?

The first book smashed you over the head from page 1, and kept bludgeoning you throughout.

The second book, so far, revolves around Cas's near infatuated state regarding Anna. This 'love story' was never going to be the conventional 'boy meets girl and falls in love' story, and I remember, as a teenage boy, what it was like to be crazy in love (not real, but it felt real enough) with a girl (or girls) who did not reciprocate.

So far, it's not for certain that Anna wants to show affection for Cas, even if she wants to.

After all, she has bigger problems, she is in Hell, whether she deserves to be or not, is another matter.

Some reviews I have seen (without spoilers) seem to wish that Cas should be ghost hunting more, rather than fawning over how to save Anna (assuming she can be saved).

I think this book is so far, a very solid follow up. It is not set at the blistering pace of the first book, which may disappoint some, but if you really like Cas and the other characters (I reserve judgement only on Morfran, so far!) you should pursue with the story. I'm basically at the half-way point in the story, and still enjoying it.

That says a lot more about Kendare Blake's writing style, which veers from easy to eat up to detailed so strongly, you are pulled right in. I am a huge fan of this author, and almost certainly going to read her Anti Goddess series and other stories.

So. This is not 'Anna Dressed in Blood'. It's different. And in my view, that is no bad thing. My only advice is to read the first book, first, then enjoy both. I'll be fascinated to see how it all works out.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

The day you complete the draft of your novel is so hard won

You may have been there, and know what I'm talking about. That moment when you finally complete the draft of your novel. Something that has consumed you longer than you recall. The sacrifices you made to make it happen. The long nights, the early mornings, the afternoons where you wanted to rest, but plots, story lines, characters, and yes - sequels, popped into your head. It happens most for me when I'm in bed, or having a well earned bath. You know - moments when you are supposed to be doing absolutely nothing. 

But you can't leave it there, no.

You have to do something about it. So the slumber ends, or the bath plug is pulled. You go back to the novel and work on it some more. I arrive at an expanse now - one that says 'hey, you got your life back', but I know this is only a temporary thing, a ceasefire between writer and its creation. Is there a point to all this? Well, maybe.

For me, for many of you, perhaps, you've reached a point where you say 'Yes, I'm done, I'm happy' (for now). Of course, you feel happy, feel proud. My latest 'work' clocked in at over 85000 words, and the previous one at 101,000. I've never worked on anything so hard in my life. With my first book, the semi-autobiographical 'Essence of Martial Arts', I learned so much about the process that with all the plethora of errors made, I resolved to make future books - should they ever be published - far better than that one. Isn't that the aim of writers, to better their previous works? Absolutely, we have to be committed to that. Should money come into it? I say no, because you have to write because you enjoy writing, telling stories, enlisting people's opinions on your creation.

 Money corrupts. Would I like to be living more comfortably? Of course. But as I ploughed through my book, things were not so bad, because I could slip into that world, any time I liked. It is far better a feeling than any drug I could take (not interested in that, never was, never will be!) or to indulge in some other past-time that leaves you, well, feeling cold, like a lover with you in the night, but departed by morning. So yes, I feel a bit lost since completing the draft, but there are other things to do, pay attention to, and work on. My family may even have me back for a while. When they tire of that (And they will) they will want me to go back to my writing.

 The draft has been completed, a small battle won. War is about to break out though - with myself (am I happy, truly happy with what I've done), with agents (they can slam a text out of existence because it doesn't meet a-b-c criteria) and publishers (remember how Harry Potter was thought of as 'a book about a boarding school...who would be interested in that?' Thankfully JK Rowling pressed on! Whatever your thoughts when you complete your first draft, I wish you happy writing.