Check-In

How many arms and legs do I need to hand over to get approved for a house?

Quite a lot with some to spare, it seems. If all goes well, I will be one happy camper. My to-do lists are going off the pages. When a couple items are checked off, ten more appear on it. I’m feeling absolutely frazzled and I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It’ll be our first home, and I know the approval is only half the stress. I’m not looking forward to the other half either. Just the finished product. But it sure does feel good to check things off lists, I highly recommend it.

Due to the recent real-life happenings, I haven’t written much in Parallax. I wrote three chapters at around 6k words so far. I was shooting for 10k for this month and I still may be able to make that figure, but I’m not hopeful. I had decided to participate in April’s CampNano a couple weeks ago for 30k words, but that was prior to real-life endeavors.

It’s finding the time to write (I take a while to settle in) that’s a struggle. Parallax is a new approach for me: I used the Snowflake method and have over ten pages worth of an outline. The beginning chapters of the MC has already been altered, but that’s a good thing because the original opening was weak, and I glad I found an alternative. Alterations and additions and subtractions are anticipated and welcome.

In my first finished novel, I implemented a different format: I made a basic checklist of things that needed to happen in the next chapter or two, and that’s how I eventually made it to the end of the book. It worked for that novel, but it wouldn’t have worked for Parallax because of the amount of characters, subplots, backstory and foreshadowing that needs to happen here in this so-called epic fantasy I’m writing. I have to say I feel much more organized using an outline, and in leaving it open to alterations, the outline hasn’t taken out all the spark of writing it.

So for April CampNano, I’ll see what I can do. I’m feeling pessimistic about it.

I just dug up an old fanfiction story (FFIX), and I hate to say it but I’m feeling drawn toward it. I really don’t want to put Parallax on the backburner again for the umpteenth time. I haven’t finished the fanfiction, heaven knows where I was going with it, and it certainly needs a total rewrite, but I do so love Final Fantasy IX. I’m hoping this is just a momentary lapse in interest.

As mentioned before, my real life and writing life is kind of crazy. I’m debating putting up some of my writing here but I really sort of meant this blog to be about the art of writing and book reviews, not a personal blog. It’s up for debate as of now. So for now, I’ll keep my personal life to a minimum.


Krampus: a Review

This is the first book by Brom I have read. I’ve loved his artwork since my younger days, so while perusing the library a couple weeks back, I was amazed to see some a book written by him. I know, I am a poor fan for not 71xfISQcpILknowing this. But it was called Krampus, a name I’m relatively familiar with, and I thought, of course he should write about Krampus. Brilliant! And there’s artwork included!

In Eastern European lore, Krampus is a goat-headed sort of demon with a hideously long tongue who thrashes naughty children with a bundle of sticks, and sometimes places naughty children in his basket to bring them down to hell. It’s also possibly where the term “to hell in a handbasket” came from. I always found him quite amusing.

While horror isn’t exactly my genre of choice, Krampus by Brom did not end up being as horrifying or gory as I imagined. That was totally fine by me. I like Krampus, so he and his minions didn’t scare me anyway. Kind of how vampires don’t scare me either.

On to the review:

I enjoyed Brom’s version of Krampus and his imperfect relationship with Santa. He’s linked Krampus to Loki as well as druids. Santa is the “bad guy” as we end up rooting for the misunderstood trouble-making demon. I thought it was quaint to see Krampus bemoaning how modernism has eliminated childhood innocence, and that halfway through the story, he realizes that Santa too has been treated the same and that Christmas has become a materialistic holiday. A little moral lesson is a good thing. But the devil inside him will not let goodness and joy triumph, and this will ultimately become his demise.

krampusbromIt’s a sad story, really. Brom portrays Krampus as a morbid and ruthless demon, betrayed by those he once trusted and attempting to regain the hearts and respect of people. However, coming back to the world during the information age, he is ignored or scorned. Folktales, mythos, even faith and religion, everything he once lived for, is now a thing of the past. He is unable to bring back the tidings of Yuletide.

Krampus, of course, is the highlight of this story. I felt the secondary characters were his minions, and then the human characters as tertiary, almost like a side note. The story is mostly told from a human’s point of view, and his story is sympathetic but I wasn’t really drawn to him. This was the weak point in the story.

But overall, it was a fun read and I enjoyed Brom’s characterization of Krampus. I’d say 7.5/10. The included artwork was wonderful, as always, Brom never disappoints in that department. If you enjoy art, you must visit his online gallery.

Via Goodreads, I spotted Brom wrote another morbid tale, this time about Peter Pan, called the Child Thief. Peter Pan isn’t exactly the Peter Pan we’ve come to love thanks to Disney, and I’m sure Brom has done a mighty fine rendition of his Pan. I will certainly be reading it soon!


The Final Empire: a Review

While it’s still fresh in my mind, let me capture the subplots in Mistborn to help me better rework the intricacies of Parallax.

Please note that there are a heck of a lot of spoilers in the proceeding content. If you’re planning on reading this book, ah, well, maybe you can skip this review! Continue reading


Twilight Watch; a Review

Twilight Watch, book 3 of Sergei Lukyanenko’s Watch series. For those unfamiliar, the Watch series is about supernaturals living among us called Others, mainly consisting of vampires and magicians and witches and werewolves, etc., who are either on the light or the dark side. The watches, divided into a day and night watch are, respectively, supernatural police forces who keep watch on its counterpart to maintain order. Supernaturals in disguise, as it were.

Twilight Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko

Twilight Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko

Overall, I was very satisfied with this one. Day Watch (#2), not so much. I guess the night watchers are more appealing to me as a reader.

We come back to Anton from Night Watch. He’s dragged back into duty during vacation with the news that an Other is planning on transforming humans into Others via a spell that supposedly doesn’t exist. Well of course it exists, and Anton must find this schemer before he does such a thing and permanently erases the human race. We wouldn’t want a world full of enchanters and werewolves and vampires now would we.

Pros:

  1. Lukyanenko delves into the morality and politics of being an Other. I must say, any supernatural novel or series is incomplete without this personal question becoming an issue for the character. I was very glad to see this.
  2. The book was written in three parts. Anton is unsuccessful in part 1. When I began part 2, I was thrown because the setting and characters took a 90 degree turn. But by the third part, parts 1 and 2 are wonderfully woven together. Lukyanenko delivers.
  3. I still get a kick out of the fact that Lukyanenko’s vampires cannot consume from a drunk. In Russia. Where vodka abounds. Garlic? Vampires scoff. Whiskey? You’re done. Stinks to be a vampire in Russia.

Cons:

  1. By the time the plot thickened, I had already predicted who the schemer was. The blurb on the back cover gave it away, too. Why would they do that? I wanted to think there would be a twist about the whodunnit, but alas, there was none. This may be a big no-no to some readers, and maybe it’s just because I’m a fan of Lukyanenko, but his story-telling is very entertaining despite the main plot being easy to predict.
  2. Okay. The lyrics thing is getting dull. I love music, don’t get me wrong, but when I read lyrics to a tune I don’t know, it … falls flat. And the lyrics aren’t even that fantastic. But its his book so he can do what he likes with it. But this is the main reason why I would never put lyrics in a piece of literary work, no matter how brilliant I think the words to a song are.
  3. Again, lots and lots of dialogue. Like, 80+% of the story was dialogue. But in this book, it didn’t bother me as much, but still rather noticeable.

I’m a nice reader. 8 out of 10, the minus two mainly for the predictability of the story. But he’s laid some serious foundations for the next book in the series so hopefully I can find the next one, The Last Watch, somewhere on half dot com where I buy most of my books. I much prefer a nappy used book than a crispy stiff new one.