Thursday, April 27, 2023

Review: Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

 A very brief review. Just a quick reaction, really, that I posted at Goodreads. As follows:

Bellman & BlackBellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. Several weeks have gone by since I finished it, but I cannot stop thinking about it. The rooks are haunting me -- in a good way. The story is an epic character study of a deeply flawed man, interwoven with mythology (no spoilers). The prose is poetic, the wisdom profound and moving. The only complaint I had was that, in the first half of the book, there is little setting detail. I'm a sucker for immersive settings, and this narration was slim in that regard, until the last half. The longer I read, however, I realized that had Setterfield included richer setting details throughout the novel, the thing would've been needlessly long. The two settings that matter, the mill and the funerary goods emporium, are painted in thorough detail. And so everything fall into place and the author's choices make sense.

(view spoiler)

This is a story I will read again in a few years. 

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Blackout Poetry

Blackout poetry is not poetry you write when the power goes out. I guess you could, BUT! Blackout poetry is the surprising results you get when you take a piece of text from elsewhere, carefully select a few of the words on the page, and black out everything else, leaving a startling new message. In honor of National Poetry Month, I took a random page from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (which is in the public domain) and ran it through the Blackout Poetry Maker, here: BLACKOUT POETRY MAKER 


 If I were to reformat these words, I might make them look like this: 

night, my retreat
of anguish-- 
wild, broken 
objects ranging 
through cold stars 
and bare trees-- 
of universal stillness

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Shiny New Editions

Slowly but surely, I'm re-releasing several of my publications with new covers and, in some cases, revised text.

I decided to start at the beginning. Way back in 2011, I published my story "Fire Eater" on Amazon as a sort of test run to learn the formatting ropes before I went through the grueling process of preparing a novel series for publication.

So today, I completed the cover art and interior edits (very minor) for this dark fantasy novelette, in the hopes that snappier art will entice more readers to download the story. It received positive reviews, of which I am very proud.

So, just as a record, and an example of how critical cover art is to attracting readers, I'm going to share the old cover and the new. The comparison is laughable.

Old Cover. BLECH!
New Cover. YAY! (Love that 3D affect in the pupil!)

Next up, I'll slap new digs on Sanjen's story, the novella A Nocturne in Red. Later in the year, I hope to do the same for the entire Falcons Saga, with hefty revisions for Book 1.

Download "Fire Eater" for Kindle HERE.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

National Poetry Month: The Clerihew

I have learned something new about poetry, which isn't hard because poetry is such a huge, broad, varied topic. New things keep falling out between the lines, and shimmer, bedazzling.

The Clerihew (who knew?) is "a whimsical, four-line biographical poem of a type invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The first line is the name of the poem's subject, usually a famous person, and the remainder puts the subject in an absurd light or reveals something unknown or spurious about the subject. The rhyme scheme is AABB, and the rhymes are often forced." (Wikipedia)

So I gave this form a go in honor of National Poetry Month, and this is the cute thing I came up with:

Not earth-shattering poetry, but fun. The rhyme scheme is ABBA, too, but it's lucky it ended up rhyming at all, given my lack of a knack for it (nailed that internal rhyme!). But most importantly, I learned something, which is always a win. I do admit, however, I have a crush on that silly ol' bear.