mystery

A Story About A Man, A Trail And The Life Before

I don’t even remember why I clicked on this story. It was in one of my digests simply listed as ‘One Heckuva Hike’. Mild curiosity was probably the culprit. But what started off as a beautiful story about the Appalachian Trail ended up going deeper into the human psyche than I ever expected.

You can read A Long Walk’s End here.

It’s long, but really, really worth the read. Especially if you’re a writer.

So go on. Dive in without knowing anything like I did. It will be much better that way. I’m just going to sit here for a while and wait.

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Done?

Good.

Amazing right?

Not done? Fine, but here there be spoilers…

I’ve never been someone who reads a lot of non-fiction, but I have read a lot of crime non-fiction. I think it started in my childhood with the crime magazines my older cousin left out in her room. Back then, I’d read anything new I could get my hands on in a household that had books, but rarely bought new ones. The magazines were horribly violent, had pictures of crime scenes and were definitely not meant for a child still in primary school, but they were fascinating. I loved the way they related police investigations, even if they did give rise to my unfortunate ability to be terrified by just about any true crime story because, ‘it could happen to me’. However, those magazines were not particularly well-written. They were about shock and gore.

A Long Walk’s End is the exact opposite. It’s a masterpiece that uses some of the best tools of fiction writing. It just happens to be non-fiction. Truman Capote would be proud. I was blown away by how the writer suckered you in with this heart-warming story of Bismarck the hiker, only to bit by bit, mind-blowing twist after mind-blowing twist, peel away the layers of this affable man to reveal a sordid story worthy of the Coen brothers.

Even with few answers presented to us about motivations, the missing money, what really happened in Bismarck’s brain all those years, and what happened to his first wife, we have a story here that builds tension to revelations we never saw coming. Is Hammes guilty of the crimes the FBI suspects he committed? A trial will tell us eventually. Perhaps even fill in the blanks.

But it’s the way the writer wove the story out of the low-key, mostly unknown, laid-back and genteel life of those hikers that walk the Trail that really made it work. You come away feeling you’ve experienced something beautiful, peaceful and right. Something that makes you smell the pinecones and long for the vistas. That Hammes was part of this world–a valued, loved part of it–boggles the mind, even as it does nothing to diminish its pureness. You want to join that Trail. You want to escape. You want to remake your life and leave all the mistakes and trials and problems behind.

For a brief span of minutes, you can relate to what this man did and why. For an instant, you run away with him to this beautiful place where you can be anyone. Where you can start over.

It is a profoundly disturbing realisation and key to this article’s impact. If what the FBI believes happened is what happened, then Hammes is that most terrifying of villains. The guy next door. The monster that wears a normal-skin. The one you think is just like you, until you realise too late, he’s not even human.

I’m not surprised William Browning has won awards for his writing. It’s hard to spin captivating truths out of your imagination, as writers do. It’s even harder to do it when you’re writing about the real world, and your main characters will never fully be known to you.

I take my hat off to this piece of writing and to Mr. Browning. And I’d tell every writer, new or old, to read this and take a look at how drama, tension and stunning plot twists can work in fiction, and non-fiction, if you know how to wield theme, setting, pacing, characterization and revelation the right way.

It’s a lot harder than it looks, we all know that. But when someone gets it right, it’s looks so, so easy. And we should all take notes.

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

An Announcement for the Trinis

Hey! I’ve been a bit too tired this week to blog, but I thought I’d just make a little announcement.

LEX TALIONIS is currently available for sale at RIK Bookstores Limited in Trinidad. I’m in my local bookstores!

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I know right? Crazy!

Anyway, if you’re a Trini, or you plan to be in Trinidad any time soon, please feel free to head on down to your local RIK and pick up a copy of my science fiction mystery, LEX TALIONIS. It’s already sold out in some locations, but there are still copies to be had at Trincity, Price Plaza, Gulf City and Port-of-Spain.

If you go to a location and there aren’t any copies, please let the staff know you want a copy so that they will order more. I’d appreciate that simple act because it will help support a local author (me!) by making it more likely that RIK will bring in another shipment. Also, if you really want your copy now, you can ask the staff to tell you where copies are available so that you can purchase the book at another branch.

Thanks in advance for all the support, and if you do buy a copy, be sure to let me know in the comments. Who knows? I might just make arrangements to autograph it for you! Just drop me a line in the comments.

Kameron Hurley Gets Real With Writers

I read this piece today at Chuck Wendig’s blog. It said what I believe about the writing business, but in a much more elegant way. There is, for example, a reason I called it a business. But when award-winning writer Kameron Hurley says it, it sounds so much better.

Must be that whole ‘award-winning writer’ thing.

Seriously, I wish every author would read this article and take note.

After reading that, I meandered on to this article, also a guest post by Hurley. This one really hit home, particularly since I’ve just published a book myself, quickly realising the things she spoke so eloquently of here.

I think every writer should read this article too. Because it’s inspirational.

I’ve been psyching myself out over a bad review here and there, and fretting over my lack of success, as I saw it. But recently, my sister helped me put some things in perspective. She reminded me that even when things were darkest in my life, I kept writing. Now, at the beginning of the writing career I’ve always wanted, I’m talking myself out of doing what I’ve always loved because of my doubts.

Talk about acting senselessly.

This is the one thing I’ve always come back to. The one thing I feel I can do better than most people. Something I love to do. And I’m actually talking myself out of it because of some misguided sense that I haven’t achieved anything.

Kameron is raw and real here and she shares some really personal things.  Thank god she talked about how important persistence is. And how it’s really not about getting to the top, because there is no top. There is simply the journey.

That made me remember that I decide what success is. I am the one who can stop me from achieving. No one else. If I want to continue writing, I can. I just have to remember that it’s all about action. I can’t write if I don’t write. And if I want to do this for a living, I can’t not write.

So I’m going to write.

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Lawrence M. Schoen–who needs to teach me the Klingon language some day–graciously invited me to partake of his unusual feature, ‘Eating Authors’, in which various authors recall their most memorable meal.

Find out what was my favourite meal ever and why.

Just click here.

And if you came here because you found me through Dr. Schoen’s blog or my Twitter feed:

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In Her Own Words – Meet Lex From My Novel LEX TALIONIS

I posted this a while back on Angela Highland’s website, but I’ve had a few more followers drop by since then, so I thought it might be a good time to repost it. 

Without further ado, here’s Lex. And no, she’s not your average girl…

I would introduce myself, but I don’t know my name.

My life began a couple of weeks ago, when I died in the Emergency Room of the Mathis Clinic on the planet Serron. My doctor, Colin Mayfeld, was about to write his final report when a little humanoid alien broke into the room, sat on my chest and brought me back with one touch.

I don’t remember any of it.

I don’t remember being in an alley near Bradley spaceport,  even though that’s where I was found, barely alive but still breathing. An unconscious girl in a bloody spacesuit, with no ID chit.

I don’t remember talking to the alien when  it brought me back, but Dr. Mayfeld says I did. The funny thing is, he says I didn’t speak Universal–I spoke Latin. And I asked the alien for help.

I’ll have to take his word for it. About what I said, that is, not about speaking Latin. I know I can speak Latin because I have had the same phrase going round and round in my head since I was able to make a coherent thought.

Lex Talionis. The law of retaliation–of revenge.

That’s the other thing I know.

I want revenge.

Someone killed me. Someone beat me, tortured me, raped me and left me for dead in an alley. Someone is walking around out there thinking I’m gone and never coming back. Some bastard thinks my story is over.

Well, it’s not over.

I’m not an ordinary girl. I’m healing faster than Dr. Mayfeld expected. I’m getting better every day.  It’s because I’m an N-gene. I was genetically engineered in vitro to be smarter, stronger, faster. Whoever did this to me might have over-powered me once, but they’re never going to get that chance again.

I’ve given myself a name–Lex. And I have help. The alien that saved me can’t speak, but it’s still with me. I think it knows something. I think it can help me remember.

Dr. Mayfeld is doing what he can too. He has friends who might be able to assist the Troopers as they investigate the attack on me. There are ways to work on getting my memory back. He’s going to do whatever it takes to help. I don’t know why he cares. But he does.

I only care about a few things right now. I care about remembering my past. I care about being fully healed. And I care about finding who did this to me.

Because when I do find them, I’m going to make them wish to all the Gods in all the galaxies that they had killed me right the first time.

Cover - Final

A Chance to Win A Free Copy of LEX TALIONIS!

I have a new interview up at the GetLostInAStory blog.

This is great news for you because anyone who comments on the blog gets a chance to win a free copy of LEX TALIONIS!

So head on over for a quick read and a chance at free stuff.

Feel free to tell all your friends and share the link.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

LEX TALIONIS at The American Book Center, Holland

You totally have to see this.

Yes, this is my book. On an actual bookself. In the Netherlands. For sale and everything.

Notice, I am right next to…NEIL GAIMAN!!

Guess my last name is one hell of a blessing 😉 Never even thought of that.

Bq-Toy3IQAEuBGu

 

In other news, doesn’t my book look pretty and everything? Almost like I’m a real writer lol.

Stay thirsty, my friends. Never give up. If you do, you will end up here, on top of the world, drinking a beer with me.

The American Book Center Has LEX TALIONIS!

My book is now available at the amazing American Book Center in Amsterdam, Holland!

Here’s the announcement!

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Radio Interview with Ujima Radio about LEX TALIONIS

So here’s the link I promised of my first radio interview with Cheryl Morgan of Ujima Radio, Bristol, UK.

There was a technical hitch at the beginning, so the recording starts again after only a few minutes, but it’s smooth sailing after that. There are a few ads to wade through though.

I was the first part of the show, but the second interview with comics writer, Leah Moore, daughter of the famous Alan Moore, was really good too. Loved her take on parenting. And what Paulette says at the end about the West Indies is very true.

(And yes, we prefer to be referred to as the West Indies when we’re from certain countries like Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Avoids confusion with the rest of the Caribbean, such as the British or US Virgin Islands, or the coastlines of Latin America.)

I think I didn’t sound too bad. I was nervous and worried that would come out in my voice, but I made myself listen to it and I’m glad I did. It’s weird to hear your own voice played back to you though. I sound nothing like I sound in my own head. Isn’t that strange how that’s always the case? I mean, I know why that happens, but it’s still strange to experience it.

That wasn’t the full interview. The full interview will be up on a podcast sometime next week, so I’ll post that when it goes up. But for now, you can hear me ramble on a bit about my country and my influences. I talk more about my book, LEX TALIONIS, in the full interview.

Let me know if you enjoyed it! I certainly did. Felt like a celebrity for a couple of hours. Even if the truth is no one knows who the heck I am or would give a whit if they did lol.

Not giving a fuck reaction gifs

Stay thirsty my friends!

Red Letter Day!

This morning I had a first.

My first ever radio interview! Cheryl Morgan of Ujima Radio in the UK took the time to chat with me about ‘Lex Talionis’, my life as a West Indian and my science fiction influences, among other things. I was so nervous! Hope no one hears it in my voice.

In any case, Cheryl assured me she would edit it so I didn’t sound like an idiot, so I’m going to rely on that to save me.

In other news, I’ve been busy updating around here. You’ll find that the first chapter of ‘Lex Talionis’ is up on this website for your reading pleasure. If you want to know why Publisher’s Weekly called it a ‘stunning debut’, feel free to take a gander. If you like what you see, go ahead and follow the links lying around here to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

If you don’t like either of these sites, you can check out my other links on my newly updated ‘Lex News’ page. All the sites that sell ‘Lex Talionis’ are now listed there, as well as all my recent interviews and reviews.

I also have a great new reader review up on Goodreads, for which I must profusely thank the writer. It has excerpts and everything and she clearly put a lot of time and effort into explaining why she thought ‘Lex Talionis’ deserved five stars. It made my day!

And now back to slacking off a bit, because I’m on a short vacation and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The World Cup is on, guys! Go Brasil! Go Germany! Go Argentina! Go every African nation in the Cup! I’m rooting for you all!

But mostly for Brasil!

Stay thirsty, my friends.