writing

The Bookshine Bandit – New LEX TALIONIS Review

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Yes, I know I’m very late. But I’m only one week late in China!

I should have come by at least a couple of times last month, but in my defense, I was writing pretty steadily. I’m still at it and I’ve also been very busy at work, but I have some cool things happening on the writing front, so I thought I’d pop by, say hello and check in with everyone.

Hope you all are having a great year so far, and that only more good things are in your future.

While we’re here, you can check out my latest review for LEX TALIONIS. It’s later than the reviewer intended, but I’ll wait for a 5 star for a pretty long time lol.

You heard that, right? 5 STARS!

You can check it out at The Bookshine Bandit.

I have to say, I think the title of that review will end up being my elevator pitch lol.

See you again soon. Until then, stay thirsty, my friends!

Public Service Announcement!

You may have noticed I’ve been gone a while. That was due to several factors including illness, a very busy period at work, trying to write more, a vacation and general laziness (not in that order).

However, I’ve since got over my bronchitis, killed my work assignment and had a blast on vacation in St. Vincent (My first 5 star resort! Pictures to come!). When life gets that good, it follows that something not so great might happen and that was this week, when I tried to put on my computer and return to my writing schedule.

sad star wars depressed disappointed yoda

Suffice it to say, I paid $1,000 to fix this thing in May, and it’s not working. Again. I was heartbroken. Especially since my vacation has left me with cashflow problems the like of Bear Stearns before it died a swift, painful death.

Worse, I have no computer to write on.

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But there are angels in the world, and one of them is my sister. So I am getting an early Christmas/Birthday present in the form of my very first laptop ever. I’m a bit nervous about using a smaller device and I will also need stuff like a new desk, but I’m incredibly happy to be getting a new machine.

love happy smiling hug computer

new computer glitter graphic year

Unfortunately, this means writing and blogging will also take just a bit longer before I start up again, but hopefully this time I’ll be able to keep at it for a while. My priority these days is writing though, so I’ll not be as frequent a poster as I used to be, as you probably already noticed.

In the meantime, I’ll post cool stuff I find on the internet when I can. So here’s a link to a helpful blog on 51 things that break reader immersion for my writing friends out there. 

Till we meet again…stay thirsty, my friends!

A Wonderful New Review for LEX TALIONIS in Caribbean Beat Magazine

I’m really over the moon about this one!

Caribbean Beat magazine is produced by Caribbean Airlines and given away free on every flight they have, both in and out of the Caribbean, for two months. I’m extremely lucky and grateful to be included in their bookshelf. In the past, I’ve heard about great books like ‘A Brief History Of Seven Killings’–which won the Man Booker prize, among others–from reading the magazine while traveling around the islands on business.

You can read the review here, just scroll down a bit. 

My favourite part? The closing lines:

‘Lex Talionis sings a bloody song of both forgetting and redemption, and of the price we pay for a little tenderness, when least we expect to be taxed for our freedoms.’

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*Squees with joy*

*Dances around*

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programme!

3 Day Quote Challenge…And There They Go, Over The Finish Line!

Today’s day three of the 3 Day Quote Challenge. We made it all the way to the last day, guys! Thanks again to Erin Burns for nominating me. Go read her blog. You won’t regret it.

You can find out about the rules in my first post here.

And are today’s quotes. That’s right…in honour of this being the third and last day of the challenge, I’ve decided to post three quotes about one of my very favourite things. Books and reading. None of them, I trust, will need any explanation:

NEVER be ashamed..of your books :):

There’s only one of you, my friends. Only one unique, glorious, fascinating you. So don’t waste your time trying to be anyone else, or meeting anyone else’s idea of who or what you should be. Read what you love, watch what you love, be what you love.

Keep reading. It's one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have. -Lloyd Alexander:

Is there any place more fun, exciting and endlessly entertaining than the depths of our own minds?

So true.:

Reading is the gift that keeps on giving. Let’s make sure more kids know that joy.

And the final three blogs you might like to visit:

  • kelzbelzphotography blogs on photography, her hobbies and her life. If you like arts, craft and an honest, captivating voice, this is the blog for you.
  • My friend Alex West muses on writing, movies and whatever strikes her fancy on Compulsive Writer. She’s one hell of a fantasy writer, and you can learn some really great tips here.
  • Tonya Moore has excellent writing advice and insights on her blog, especially for beginners. A great place for guest posts and free stories.

Thanks for staying with me through this challenge, my friends. And if you like my quotes, you can take a look at my Pinterest page, where I got most of them from.

Have a great weekend, and stay thirsty, my friends!

3 Day Quote Challenge…Here They Come, Down the Stretch!

Today’s day two of the 3 Day Quote Challenge. Thanks again to Erin Burns for nominating me! Go read her blog, especially if you’re looking for recommendations for fun genre books.

You can find out about the rules in my first post here.

On to today’s quote!

This quote is in my debut novel, LEX TALIONIS. In it, my young heroine Lex has lost her memory after a brutal attack that ended her life. Brought back on a hospital table by a mute alien, she embarks on a mission to find out who she was and who killed her. Revenge is her goal, but what she doesn’t know is that someone has learned that she survived the attack. And they are intent on finishing the job.

Obviously, Lex’s past is the key to who she is and what happened to her. The quote comes halfway through the book, when she’s remembered who she is and we step backward in time to see how she came to be dead in a hospital. Once we see where Lex came from, however, we know immediately that her future has been irrevocably changed by what happened to her. Literally, as we study her past, we will know her future.

I love this quote because it speaks to history, one of my favorite hobbies. It’s a lot like: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ (George Santayana). In essence, society must do its best to learn from its past, in order to avoid a future filled with old mistakes. If you want to know where society is going, you have know where we’ve come from. You can’t chart a course with a blank map.

It’s personal too. If you want a better life and a better you, you must make a study of who, and where, you are in order to figure out who, and where, you want to be. A starting point can be anywhere, but you must know what got you to that point if you want to keep moving forward instead of going in circles.

And now I nominate:

  • Mike Douton, a great friend and a writer who muses on writing and life over at Stuff and/or Junk.
  • Marlene Dotterer, a writer of romantic fantasy and science fiction who happens to be a great friend and who blogs on writing, vacationing, gardening, food and even pregnancy issues over at her blog. You’ll won’t be bored if you stop by!
  • Darke Conteur, a writer (yes, I have a lot of writer friends, why do you ask?) who does interviews and lots of posts on the craft of writing, food, paranormal fiction and wiccan and pagan life. There’s a lot to learn and explore here, and book recommendations too.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, I’ll have a special Saturday post as I wrap up this fun quote week.

Stay thirsty, my friends, and see you then.

3 Day Quote Challenge! And They’re Off!!

I’ve been nominated for the Three Day Quote Challenge by Erin Burns! She has a wonderful blog in which she reviews books, among other things. She’s extra special to me because not only did she read and like my novel LEX TALIONIS, she left reviews for it all over the place. If she wasn’t already awesome, that would have finished the job. So if you’re looking for something to read, particularly genre fiction like scifi and romance, you might want to hit up her blog for recommendations.

So here are the rules for this torture exercise:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Publish a quotes on 3 consecutive days on your blog.  The quote can be one of your own, from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
  • Nominate 3 more bloggers each day to carry on this endeavor.

My quote for today is:

There Wouldn't Be A Sky Full Of Stars If We Were All Meant To Wish On The Same One by NamedByArt on Etsy:

I love this because it reminds me of a local saying in my country. ‘What is for you, is for you.’ Both quotes address the fact that everyone is different and everyone has different destinies. Clark’s quote reminds us that we aren’t all after the same thing in life, so don’t be afraid to choose your own path and follow it.

The Trini saying means it’s okay to go after what you want, even if you fail. Because if you’re meant to have it, no one else will get it. What’s not said–but is just as important–is the idea that anything you don’t have, wasn’t meant for you in the first place. So celebrate the achievements of others. Dare to be different. Don’t be afraid to take your own path. Your destiny is your own and failure doesn’t mean you missed out on anything, or that anyone robbed you of success. It just means there’s something else wonderful in front of you that you haven’t got to yet.

My nominees of excellent blogs for your attention:

  • M.A. is a new friend over at Romance Language where he posts infrequently, but speaks eloquently, movingly and thoughtfully about writing, reading and life when he does. It’s worth passing by just to read his archives, which is small but powerful.
  • Anna Kashina is a successful writer I’m proud to call friend. Author of several beautifully written fantasy adventure series, her latest works have won her two Prism awards from the Romance Writers of America. She doesn’t blog often, but has good insights into writing and publishing.
  • Kelpiemoon blogs on a million different topics over at Scribbles at Midnight. Writing, book reviews, society, music, you name it, it’s there. But they’re all addressed with great depth, good humour and openness. Check out the archives for funny observations and laments.

Looking forward to everyone jumping in and having a good time.

Have fun, and stay thirsty, my friends!

A Talk And An Award

* Edit:  It appears I got my history a bit wrong. Marlon James is the first Jamaican to win the Man Booker. However, the first Caribbean national to win it appears to have been V.S. Naipaul. It just so happens he was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago! 

Yesterday I had a great time giving an informal talk about speculative fiction and what it takes to be a writer to the 6th Form students at St. Augustine Secondary School. I also read a bit from one of my current shorts, Wire and Blood.

The school was newly built, the library really nice–just like the librarians–and best of all, it was air-conditioned!

This was my first class of teenagers. I’ve given talks with teenagers present before, and even younger children, but not an entire class of them. I was delighted to meet a room full of intelligent, open, enthusiastic young men and women who needed no prompting to ask questions or react to what I was saying. In short, they were a great audience that gave me lots of energy, and I hope I was able to give them some insight and inspiration.

Here’s me accepting their wonderful tokens at the end of the talk. I made out like a bandit with stuff that included a new book and writing materials. I hope the librarian remembers to tell them how much I appreciated it!

St. Augustine Secondary Talk

On another note, I just read that the Man Booker Prize has been won today by a Caribbean national for the first time! Jamaican writer Marlon James bested the competition with A Brief History of Seven Killings. I’ve been hearing about how wonderful this book is since the Bocas Lit Festival put him on the short list for the OCM Bocas Lit Prize.

Scratch that–I heard about this book long before that, through an article in Caribbean Beat Magazine just before it debuted. It’s in my very large to be read pile, I’m sad to say, but I’m delighted that the Caribbean has another great author to celebrate, and a young one too. Jamaica to the World!

Congratulations, Marlon! Thanks for raising we nose!

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Stay thirsty, my friends!

A Few Good Women…

Earlier this year, Barnes and Noble did a great article featuring 7 speculative fiction books that feature strong female characters.

Is it exhaustive? By no means. But it has a nice mix of modern and classic and also had the good sense to include the queen of Caribbean speculative fiction, Nalo Hopkinson. Seriously, if you haven’t read ‘Midnight Robber’ you’ve…well, you’ve robbed yourself of something truly special.

See what I did there?

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Have fun with the list. I have it on good authority all the books are great, even the ones I haven’t read.

What are your favourite scifi or fantasy books with strong female leads? Sound off in the comments below. And if you buy and read (or already read) any of these, be sure to let me know what you think.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Tantie, Papa And The Mango Tree On Diego Colony

A bit from a story I’m still working on. Funny thing is, I finished another story with the same character and it got an Honourable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest last year, but for some reason this story is just not cooperating. It won’t tell me how to get to the ending, just yet.

Guess I’ll just have to trunk it until it does…

The day I turn ten, my mother walk into the corrosive sea on the western edge of Diego colony.  She used to cut sheself during her depressions, so she wasn’t no stranger to pain.  She didn’t even whimper when the hissing lilac waves attack her legs and red stains start to drift ’round her in threads. 

I don’t know if I scream or say anything.  I remember her sinking into the waves, graceful, graceful, and I remember running toward her.  I was lucky–I trip and kilkitay on my face. I fling out my right arm, trying to save myself, just as a wave come toward me.  My hand started burning, as if a thousand flames was under it, and I could still see the lilac coming toward my face, hissing all the way.

That was a bad day.  The worst day.  I could deal with anything because of that day.

I keep telling myself that as I walk down to the pier, sand sucking and trapping my shoes all the way.  I have to prepare myself before I get to the crowd on the beach or crapaud smoke my pipe.

I have to forget the waves biting the shore in front me.

I almost reach them when they turn as one to look at me.  Resentment and anger shifting and molding so many faces.  It fascinating how them faces is every shade between white and brown.  You don’t notice them things when you pass people on main street, but here, together, I can’t see nothing else.

I blink and shake off the distraction.  The metal in me like patterns. Is just the wired side of me, fixating, as usual.

The crowd split as someone push they way toward me.  Manno.  He bare arms shiny with sweat in the midday sunlight.  He nutmeg brown face twisted with grief and rage.  Big man, Manno, but usually no trouble.  Today, with his son John John in a coma back at Diego’s only Clinic, he definitely my biggest problem.

Before the crowd shift and fall back in behind Manno, I see Boyie standing next to the pier. He scared, poor thing. Beyond him, at the end of the metal platform, he tiny ferry rising and falling on the lilac waves. 

“Now you reach?”  Manno’s voice almost cracks.  “Now?”

“Is Market Day.”  I reminded him.  “I come when I hear.”

“Well, we don’t need you.”  Esther, Manno’s wife, push through behind him and grab he arm.  She small and bald with big grey eyes in she cappuccino face.  Today, the look she give me make them less beautiful.

“Esther,” I nod my head at her.  “I very sorry for what happen, but don’t forget who you talking to.”

“You threatening us?”  Esther’s eyes narrow.  “Who food you does eat every day?”

“So you exempt?  You could do what you like because you run the hydroponics lab?”  I shake my head.  “Esther, I not Tantie for some–I Tantie for all.”

“You protect him long enough,” Manno says through tight lips.  “No more.  Not after John John.”

A murmur of agreement goes through the crowd.  I ignore it.  People will talk theyself into anything if you let them.  My job is not to let them.

Wondering if to even bother to finish it. Perhaps I should just move on to other stories instead of wasting my time?

Decisions, decisions…

Stay thirsty, my friends!

SciFi From Around The World

There’s a cool article in the Guardian today for anyone looking for links so they can start reading scifi that isn’t default American/English.

Scifi from all corners of the globe has always been around, but recently some of those works have been hitting the mainstream, culminating in this year’s Hugo Awards, where the Chinese novel, The Three-Body Problem, walked away with Best Novel. There are so many stunning, unique, fascinating and entertaining stories out there now, coming from completely new and original points of view.

There are also writers, like myself, who take the old myths and legends, stir them up with beloved scifi troupes and try to find a story that’s fresh and unexpected in it.

The same thing is happening in Fantasy, and across spec fic. It’s been a long time coming, but we have spec fic in the Western world that’s beginning to show a little of the huge market that’s out there.

I think that’s cause for celebration, don’t you?

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Okay, maybe not quite like that…

Best part of this article for me is that a former OWW member, Aliette de Bodard, is mentioned. Hurrah for my writing workshop! For those of us who have been there forever, hurrah for the Zoo and the good old OWW! It’s amazing how many truly great writers have left the OWW and gone on to great things: CC Finlay, Elizabeth Bear, Aliette de Bodard, Jim Butcher, Rae Carson, Fran Wilde, N.K. Jemisin…the list goes on and on.

The great thing about these writers is they’re all doing their part to push against the boundaries and turn spec fic on it’s head in the best way possible. By giving a voice in the mainstream to those who had no place there before.

Congratulations to all you guys for being part of a revolution! This is only the beginning, because we have a lot more stories left to share and new writers all around the world popping up and joining the club every day. Welcome everyone, and congrats. Keep it coming!

Have a great weekend and stay thirsty, my friends.