Five Minute Fiction

The dog was taking me for a walk, not an unusual occurrence at 10am in the morning. Given that Geoffrey the Bull Mastiff was one hundred and twenty pounds of pure, dopey muscle, it was the best time of the day to go walking. Mainly because there was no-one else alive in the immediate vicinity; no people, no mailmen, no delivery vans, no cats, no dogs and no birds.
With any luck, anyway.
Except for this morning, of course.maxresdefault
Coming out of the house, I set off in the usual loping, leaping, half-run and half-walk required to keep up with Geoffrey. A most unusual gait, which, I suspected, conveyed precisely who was in charge of our walk.
It wasn’t me.
And this became exceedingly obvious when Geoffrey caught sight of a man on the other side of the street and in his wisdom, decided we should cross the street to give the man a closer inspection.
Imagine the scene, if you will. The man – perhaps in his mid-thirties, tall, with one of those builds which suggest he carries lean muscle – wearing pristine grey trousers and a black, button-down shirt, glances up to see a lumbering, drooling mass of russet fur, towing a medium height, slightly overweight woman wearing black three-quarter length leggings and an oversized man’s t-shirt.
It was a recipe for disaster…

Five Minute Fiction…

The cemetery was still, quiet. It seemed as I walked further into the grounds of the majestic, gothic church, its dominating presence overwhelmed the city beyond, forcing it into silence. No sound penetrated this far into the grounds, and the thick moss beneath my feet also muffled any footsteps.

I walked among the stones, reading the heartfelt epitaths to loved ones, the words which reduced so many lives to the bare bones of existence – date of birth, date of death. What had these people done in the gap between those dates? How had they lived, laughed, loved?

I stopped in front of the grave I sought, dropping the carryall containing my tools at my feet. I scanned the marble a second time, confirming the name, birth and death.

“Time to wake up,” I muttered.

Book Review: Vegas Run by Rachel Brune

42615866Vegas Run by Rachel Brune

Synopsis:

Retirement is not working out for Rick Keller.
Betrayed by a friend. Tortured by the agency he used to work for. A debt called in by an old adversary.
While Rick has been hiding in the north country, MONIKER has been building a supernatural army. This time when they call him in, they don’t need an agent — they’re eliminating the competition. No matter how fast or far he runs, it won’t be enough.
So this time, he’s going to burn them to the ground.

My Review:

Ms. Brune is an excellent storyteller, and she outdoes herself with this, the second book in the Rick Keller Project. The action comes fast and furious, with the reader taken along for the ride as Rick Keller finds himself in a whole new bucket of trouble.
With quick quips, non-stop action and a range of well-written and interesting characters, I would thoroughly recommend this book as a great read. Things don’t always work out well for Rick Keller, but his life is certainly never dull!

5 stars

A Change of Pace

I’ve been considering this situation for quite some time. Being bipolar means my ‘feels’ are sometimes exploded beyond what is rational, my decisions are spur of the moment, and taken without thought of the ramifications.

So it is with no small amount of consideration that I’ve come to this decision, a decision based on what I think is best for me.

As of this week, I am unlikely to update this page, or my blog page in regard to D.S. Williams and Leah Dempster’s writing work. Promoting myself is something I’m increasingly uncomfortable with, and in all honesty, the effort doesn’t seem to make any difference.

There are so many authors out there. So many. It makes my head spin when I see the amount of writers who are publishing, and trying to get their work noticed. And it suddenly occurred to me, a few weeks back, that what I’m doing isn’t fun. I’ve gotten myself caught in a Catch 22 – I’m publicising to get my books noticed, I worry because I don’t get sales, and in all honesty… it occurred to me that I don’t want to reach the next level. Or the one after that. I don’t want to publicise myself, or my books, or try and cajole people to read them. I don’t want to attend meet & greets, or conventions, or book signings. It isn’t my style, never has been, and never will be. I don’t want to be ‘famous’. I don’t want to be well-known. And in all likelihood, that would never happen anyway, so why flog myself to death trying to achieve something I don’t want?

The past six months, I think, for all writers have been tough. Tougher than I’ve experienced before now. Quarter 1 of this year netted me a grand total of $36… that’s for three MONTHS. I’ve just received advice regarding my Quarter 2 royalties and they amounted to just over $28.00 – again – this is my income from writing books for THREE MONTHS. Clearly, if I’m relying on this gig to get rich, it isn’t going to happen.

And I’ve found, more and more lately, that I don’t write much, and if I do, I write with one eye on what readers are going to like or not like. I’ve forgotten to write what I like and that’s a real shame, because I’m at my happiest when I’m writing from my heart, rather than my head.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to write for me, write for the fun of it, write as though nobody is ever going to read it but me.

My books will remain available, although I suspect I’ll be following through with a decision to part ways with my publisher at the end of this upcoming quarter. The books will revert to being self-published, available for anyone who has a desire to read them. New books might end up available, if I decide they’re worthy of being shared. But the decision will be based on my heart and gut, rather than a need to please others and with one eye on the bottom line.

The next few months are going to be stressful as we move into a new chapter of our lives. We’re leaving our (adult) kids behind here in Western Australia while we move to Queensland for a few years. There will be lots of changes, lots of new things to get used to, and I hope, new writing adventures for myself without the pressure of being ‘a published author’. In the majority of instances, those pressures are ones I place on myself, but I think it’s time to step back, and take a good look at the direction I’m heading in.

It started with a snowball… in her gloved hand…

snowball

Pheweee.  It’s amazing what you come across when you’re editing a first draft, stuff you didn’t even realise you were writing.  Or repeating for that matter.

In Tokens of My Confection, which is heading towards publication in (hopefully) the not too distant future, one scene involves my heroine Cady, who is hanging out with her sisters in Garrison Park, making a snowman on Christmas Eve.

When I wrote the first draft, like a lot of writers, I was just trying to get it out of my head, getting all those little bits and pieces and all the ideas in a pile on the page.  At that stage, I try not to think too hard about the final product and avoid, wherever possible, editing while I’m still getting the story out of my head.  (Of course, I’m completely hopeless at that and do get bogged down with the editing part, because let’s face it, I’m OCD and anxiety-ridden – I strive for ridiculous levels of perfections.  But that’s a post for another day.)

The editing process has been a little choppy, particularly because the Darling Husband surprised me with an announcement last week that we would be moving at the end of the year.  He’s a nearly thirty year veteran of the Australian Air Force, and we’ve outstayed our welcome here in Western Australia, but this time we’ll be moving without our Gang of Four – seventy five percent, at least, will remain in Western Australia while we post to a base on the other side of the country.  (Another reason for OCD and anxiety issues).

Consequently, the editing of Tokens, which started of swimmingly, has stuttered to a less than auspicious pace, while I try to get my head back in the game.  (And simultaneously worry about my beloved family being split apart for a couple of years).  Today, I’ve been working on Chapter Twenty Six, which includes the above-mentioned snow scene which has turned out to need a considerable amount of editing.  The scene itself is fundamentally good, and I’m happy with it, but its the persnickety details which are giving me grief.  And in this case, it’s the snowman the girls are building and the amount of time I’ve mentioned ‘snow in their glove-covered hands’.  Obviously, I wanted to set the scene, and give the reader a ‘vision’ of what is happening in that scene – the scenery, the women, their outfits, what they’re doing.  But I obviously (obviously!!!) got bogged down on those glove-covered hands.  They’re EVERYWHERE!  And repeated with endless abandon.  And way too much.  Over and over and over…

You get the picture, and as a writer, and an editor, it’s one of the things I warn people (including myself) to avoid.  Don’t ever hit your reader over the head with information.  Don’t repeatedly repeat the same piece of information.  Give your reader some credit and know that they can invest themselves enough in the story so that when you mention someone’s eyes, you don’t lead with the color of them each and every time.  (This is something I’m guilty of doing!).

And once you’ve put those gloves on those characters, and set them to making a snowman in a park in the middle of winter, don’t keep beating the reader over the head with THE GLOVES!  They’re there!  We know they are on their hands!  Don’t beat this snippet of information to death!

And now, I go back to the grindstone and beat those gloves into submission!

‘Til next time.

 

Book Review by D.S. Williams

140089Dead Over Heels by Charlaine Harris

Synopsis:

Part-time librarian Aurora ‘Roe’ Teagarden lands smack in the middle of a baffling murder case in the fifth murder mystery from #1 New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris
Roe never liked Detective Sergeant Jack Burns, but she never wanted to see him dead – especially dropped from a plane right into her own front yard. Luckily, even Lawrenceton, Georgia’s finest, know that Roe couldn’t possibly be in two places at once, so her name is crossed off the suspect list.
But then other strange things happen around Roe, ranging from peculiar (her irascible cat turns up wearing a pink ribbon) to violent (her assistant at the library is attacked) to potentially deadly (her ex-lover is stabbed). Clearly there is a personal message in this madness that Roe must decipher – before it is too late . . .

D.S. Williams Review:

This would be my least favourite of the Aurora Teagarden books, mainly because there doesn’t seem to be a legitimate reason for the characters doing what they do in this one. There’s lots of unrequited love/ex-lovers changing their minds/unexplained infatuations going on which frankly, at certain times in the book didn’t seem to make sense. And given that the vast majority of these situations revolve around our heroine, a bookish, wavy-haired, glasses-wearing married librarian – it just seemed a little odd to me.
Having said that, there was plenty of mystery going on, it just didn’t seem like really brilliant mystery in comparison with previous books in the series. I almost felt as if in this one, Ms. Harris was ‘phoning it in’ – making the plot suit where she wanted it to end up, and to hell with how that worked out on paper. Despite that, it was just strong enough to keep me invested in the characters, and wanting to find out who the culprit was in the murders.

3 stars

A Book Review

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Real Murders

by Charlaine Harris

Synopsis:

Lawrenceton, Georgia, may be a growing suburb of Atlanta, but it’s still a small town at heart. Librarian Aurora ‘Roe’ Teagarden grew up there and knows more than enough about her fellow townsfolk, including which ones share her interest in the darker side of human nature . . .

With those fellow crime buffs, Roe belongs to a club called Real Murders, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases. It’s a harmless pastime – until the night she finds a member dead, killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss.

As other brutal “copycat” killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime suspects-or potential victims .

D.S. Williams Review:

I read these books a few years ago, and recently purchased them (in the omnibus edition) to reread. I will point out that unfortunately, my ebook was missing Chapter 15 of this first book in the series (I buy via Amazon but read with the Moon Reader app.).
Having said that, the story was as good as I remember, and I warmed quickly to the main character, Aurora Teagarden and the collection of characters who create the story with her. Ms Harris writes in first person, which I enjoy, and I found that the facets of Aurora’s personality were brought to life beautifully. The characters in these books are not the cardboard cutouts that are found in so many novels nowadays – in this case, the characters have flaws, idiosyncrasies and curious quirks to their personalities which make them three-dimensional and entertaining.
Aurora Teagarden has plenty of quirks of her own, but like most of us, she’d just trying to get through life one day at a time. With an interest in historic murders, Aurora is part of a local group named ‘Real Murders’ – a group with it’s own cast of quirky characters.
When those characters start turning up dead – their deaths styled to recreate famous murders from the past, Aurora starts to wonder if she’ll be a victim next – or get the blame for the murders.
The story moves along at a good pace, is thoroughly enjoyable, and an easy read. Aurora is easy to like, and her trials and tribulations were enough to keep me reading to the very end. Highly recommended.

4 stars

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