Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Great Book for a Cold, Dark Winter Night

N.B. I received this novel from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander is a fascinating novel which juxtaposes modernity with sixteenth century Transylvania—who wouldn’t be intrigued?

Through Edward Kelley’s point of view, we experience not only the exotic customs, foods, and dress of the late Middle Ages, but we also meet the Countess Elisabeth Bathory—likely the world’s premier female serial killer—whose evil exploits the author imbues with occult purposes.

These occult practices carry into the future and affect the lives of the other two point-of-view characters Jackdaw and Felix, who use Kelley’s diary to understand and vanquish the evil that’s survived into the present day.

Despite the many point-of-view shifts, the pacing of the novel was quite good. And the characters, especially Jackdaw, were very engaging. Though like most novels with multiple viewpoints, it takes several chapters to be fully vested in each of the main characters.

One disappointment I had with the book was that in the climax I felt a little distanced from the characters. Another issue was that the author included a passage where Felix explained why he believed in the magic/occult happenings and how the supernatural realm came to be. Obviously, novels are fictional worlds, which the reader has accepted for the sake of the story. So to include a passage trying to make it all seem real drew me out of the story and felt a bit disingenuous.

Aside from those minor objections, this novel was a fun romp through a paranormal view of the past and present. It is the perfect read for an adult curled up in front of the fireplace on a dark night, craving a scary story.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Finding Zombies!

Today, I'm happy to be part of Loni Townsend's blog tour for her new novel, This World Bites.

 Thank you for having me on your blog, Connie!

A while back, you shared a post about finding passive voice by adding "by zombies" after the verb. If it makes sense, then it is passive voice. I love that tip, especially when it came to This World Bites.

 I started creating passive sentences, just to see zombies interacting with my characters.

  Cera and her gang were attacked...by zombies.

I giggled because that actually happened in my book, but not in a passive fashion. The zombies attacked Cera and her gang. I played with sentences and traded extreme cases with my friends. And then one Sunday morning, I was sitting in church, singing along with the worship songs when my writer's brain kicked into high.

  The stone was rolled away...by zombies. His perfect love could not be overcome...by zombies.

 The zombie apocalypse was happening right there in church! I really should've been focused on praise, but instead I was analyzing lyrics, wondering how they could make the writing stronger, and after doing so, would it make praise more effective? Effective, maybe, as in I wouldn't have been distracted by the writing. That happens with all writing. I'm still working on finding all the unintentional zombies in my stories.

 For those of you who want a quick tip on finding passive voice, check out Connie's post. If you want a story with intentional zombies, try out This World Bites and it might make you laugh. Do you have any other tips for finding passive voice? Have you come across any unintentional humorous lines that work well with zombies?

Thanks, Loni!! And be sure to check out the links to Loni's website and the link to her novel on Amazon.