A DIFFERENT SET OF EYES


A DIFFERENT SET OF EYES

Lynnette Jalufka

Stephen King is the one author I hear mentioned more than anyone else at writing workshops and in articles about the craft. There’s only problem: I don’t read horror. So I was excited to learn King actually wrote a book I could possibly enjoy. It’s a fantasy written for his daughter called The Eyes of the Dragon.

The book takes place in the Kingdom of Delain. Sorcerer Flagg poisons King Roland and frames the heir to the throne, Prince Peter, who is imprisoned in a tower. He then gains control over the new king, Peter’s younger brother Thomas. With Flagg’s influence, Thomas makes decisions that erode the kingdom. But Thomas has a secret Flagg doesn’t know about. 

King makes sure you know the motivation behind each character’s actions. Although the narrator constantly inserts his opinion, the book is exciting. Peter attempts one of the most unusual and daring escapes I have ever read. If you want to know what happens, read the book. 

Book Review of “The Institute” Cont.


Book Review of “The Institute” Cont.

by Adam Huddleston

As I continue my journey through Stephen King’s “The Institute” I curiously notice that while the story itself is interesting, the characters are beginning to become rather stale.  Not only that, but there are (in my humble opinion) too many of them.  King has thrown together a motley crew of “good guys” and “bad guys” in the titular location, but the sheer number of them has made the plot rather confusing.  I’m having a hard time putting a face (and the person’s characteristics) to the name.

Overall, the tale is good.  King is at his best when he presents us with interesting, relatable protagonists and antagonists.  I’m looking forward to finishing the novel, I just feel that overall, he has stuffed it with too many characters.

Book Review -The Way I Heard It


The Way I Heard It – Mike Rowe
Book review by Laura Harrison
I was shopping a few days after Christmas and I saw a book on display. Interesting, I thought. Mike Rowe wrote a book? No, must be a ghostwriter I thought. I bought the book thinking to give it to my mother who loves the show “Somebody’s Got To Do It!” (probably a spin-off of Dirty Jobs). I love both shows very entertaining and educational.  A few days later, I began reading the book and I got very excited. This was not a book written by someone who was just trying to be funny.  His writing is almost nerdy, but it isn’t. It’s like a religious writer who relates the Bible story to every day life. It’s not only inspiring, but pragmatic and pedantic. One of my favorite anecdotes in the book is about Roget and the writing of his thesaurus. It’s hard to pick a favorite they are all worth reading. I recommended this book to the librarian at Tascosa High School. He said he also wanted to read it. “Did you know he was an opera singer?” He asked me.  No, I didn’t, but the book mentioned that as well. He’s rubbed elbows with some very interesting celebrities. In one chapter he mentioned Joan Rivers.  I read about his adventures while working with her on QVC. This man has certainly led a very interesting life. I highly recommend this book. And I’ll bet you learn something too!! 🙂  Not sure my mom is getting the book after all…

Author Platforms


Author Platforms

Natalie Bright

 

Veteran writer and motivational coach Colleen M. Story helps you break the spell of invisibility to reveal the author platform that will finally draw readers your way.

For more about Colleen, visit her website here https://colleenmstory.com/

A TOURNAMENT TO REMEMBER


A TOURNAMENT TO REMEMBER

Lynnette Jalufka

I waited a long time to read Michael Jecks’ medieval mystery novel, A Tournament of Blood. I made myself read the previous books in the series first. This was the one I was excited about because it concerns one of my favorite parts of the Middle Ages, the tournament. Jecks puts his crime-solving duo, Sir Baldwin Furnshill, the Keeper of the King’s Peace, and Bailiff Simon Puttock in the middle of one. Simon is in charge of organizing the event which puts him at odds with several people, including his teenage daughter who falls in love with a squire with dishonorable intentions. Then the murders occur. Baldwin and Simon must figure out who the culprit is, even though their suspects keep dying.

The best part is when a knight accuses Simon of murdering his son and challenges him to a trial of combat, a battle to the death to prove Simon’s innocence or guilt. Baldwin becomes Simon’s champion although he hasn’t fought in sixteen years. 

There are plenty of colorful characters throughout the book. Jecks has a way of showing all their viewpoints so it’s hard to figure out who is the murderer. I like that Baldwin tempers his desire for justice with mercy when the killer is revealed. 

Although there is a touch of language and sex, the book is a great read. Details bring England in 1322 to life. I love that there is not only a character list but also a glossary of terms that is very helpful in a historical fiction. Check it out.

The Most Classic of the Classics


POSTCARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Most Classic of the Classics

By Nandy Ekle

I am a fan of horror. That’s not a secret to anyone. And there are so many great horror stories that are considered classics. Some I was assigned to read in school like Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde. I wanted more. So I made the decision to read Dracula, by Bram Stoker. 

And all I could say was WOW!

This story is written in the form of diary/journal entries and newspaper articles. Even though the book was written during an era of formal English, which makes some stories dry and hard to stick with, the language of this book was easy to digest. As a high school student with a normal attention span, I was completely captivated. I think I devoured the book in two days.

There have been hundreds of movies made based on the story. The legend of vampires goes back, probably to the beginning of time. And this was long before the romantic vampires with consciences who hate what they are. And I think we all know the basic Dracula story. 

Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to meet with the Count and discuss some property in England the Count has recently purchased. He leaves his fiancee behind with a typewriter and instructions to practice her typing. Mina, his fiancee, takes her typewriter to the country to visit her aristocratic friend, Lucy, who is being courted by three men. While Jonathan is abroad and Mina is visiting, a mysterious illness afflicts Lucy which causes her to lose blood at an alarming rate, and there seems to be no reason for her blood to disappear. Meanwhile, the count leaves Jonathan locked in the castle to feed his three vampire wives while he travels to England to view the property. Jonathan barely with his life and Mina is called to Transylvania to minister to him as he recovers. They are married and head back to England where they learn Lucy has died. Her three suitors bring in an expert to investigate the mysterious illness and the expert is convinced there is a vampire afoot. Soon Mina is also showing signs of the same illness. The group chases the count back to Transylvania where they finally kill him.

Really and truly, one of the best horror books I’ve ever read. As for versions of the movie, I love the one released in the 90s with Wynona Rider. They add a deep timeless romance to the plot which enhances the story extremely well.

If you get a chance, read Dracula by Bram Stoker.

 

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Book Review: SAWBONES – Melissa Lenhardt


SAWBONES – Melissa Lenhardt

Book Review by Rory C. Keel

Set in the post-civil war 1800s, the main character Cathrine Bennett starts her journey in New York City. Being a female and desiring to practice as a doctor, she is hindered by societal norms of the day. Falsely accused of murder by the wife of a male patient, she sails to Galveston, Texas and begins her dangerous and thrilling escape to the West.

On her trek to start a new life, she faces the loss of loved ones and her own possessions forcing her to survive. Suffering through severe storms and  Indian attacks, we see her tenacity to live and save others.

“I needed to concentrate, to push my personal tragedy and guilt to the back of my mind and focus on Captain Kindle’s wound.”

As a male reader of the Historical Western genre, I really liked this book. I picked this book up on a whim at the bookstore and ended up reading all three in the trilogy.  While characterized by some as a feminist western, I found it to be a thrilling western and offered insight into the female viewpoint of the hardships endured in the historical West.

CHARLAINE HARRIS


CHARLAINE HARRIS

Natalie Bright

Over the weekend I read two books. Both had likable characters, engaging plots but the contrast of the golden rule we’ve all heard over and over was glaringly different. Here are two similar scenes as examples of the SHOW, DON’T TELL rule. Paragraph A is “telling. Paragraph B by Charlaine Harris is “showing”.

  1. “…she tried to hide as much as possible, behind some big boulders and to try to make as little noise as possible.”
  2. “When I came to, I was in the middle of a clump of bushes and large rocks. It wasn’t dawn, but it was close. A snake was gliding by me. I could just make out that it was a rattlesnake, its tongue flicking out to catch movement. I didn’t move. I wasn’t sure I could, anyway. I pretended to myself I was choosing not to stir. The birds were singing, so the gunfire and screaming were long over.”   AN EASY DEATH by Charlaine Harris

“Showing” is putting into words the scene that’s in your head and pulling the reader into the story. Emotion brings your writing up a notch by including the five senses. How many senses can you identify in paragraph B?

Vampires, creatures of the night, bloody battles are not my usual go to for reading material but that Charlaine Harris can spin a highly entertaining tale. I was surprised at how much I enjoy her books. Her writing is phenomenal and worth your time to study. I highly recommend AN EASY DEATH, Book #1 in the Gunnie Rose series. The United States is split and in this new take on the old west, the story follows a young gunslinger named Lizbeth Rose. Harris always delivers intense action with heroines/heroes that are flawed as they face quirky villains.

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone again this year and striving to read books in different genres. What book have you discovered that is something totally different from what you usually read? Comment below and let us know.

Thanks for following WordsmithSix!

IN THE BRAVELANDS


IN THE BRAVELANDS

Lynnette Jalufka

I love The Lion King, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed reading the first three books of Erin Hunter’s Bravelands series: Broken Pride, Code of Honor, and Blood and Bone. They intertwine the stories of three African animals. Fearless is a young lion who is made an outcast when the cruel Titan destroys his pride. Thorn, a baboon, tries to fight his destiny and move up to the highest class in his tribe. Young elephant Sky discovers she has the rare gift to read bones.

The animals are ruled by one code: kill to survive. The code is broken when several murders occur, including the death of the leader of the animals, throwing the Bravelands into chaos. Different species vie for the position of Great Parent with horrific results. Fearless, Thorn, and Sky must somehow find a way to restore peace to their land. 

The books are filled with action and intrigue. Characters are not always what they seem. There are plenty of cliffhangers to keep turning the pages.

I just found out there two more books in the series. They’re going on my reading list.  

How to Write


POSTCARDS FROM THE MUSE

How to Write

By Nandy Ekle

On Writing, by Stephen King. In my opinion, the best instructional writing book out there. 

The first half of the book is a very honest sort of autobiography (which I think, as a happy “Constant Reader,” is very interesting). The second half of the book is lessons and tips. Since Mr. King is a high school English teacher, along with the fact of his enormous success as a writer, in my eyes, he is a penultimate writing teacher.

The biography half of the book gives us, the readers, an insight into his thought process. He starts with his earliest memories and goes through his experience after being hit by a car in 1999. Extremely interesting material for those of us with a deep love of words, a smattering of talent, and small income vs. daily expenses. According to the book, the King family was next to bankrupt when his first book, Carrie, hit the market. An extremely encouraging epistle.

The writing part of the book is equally helpful. This part gives some grammar advice, dialogue advice, description advice, and insight into what your reader might be thinking. He gives a scenario and a challenge to the readers of the book to write a story (set up by Mr. King himself) and send it to him for review. However, the version of the book I, myself, own is from the year 2000. 

This is why I recommend Stephen King’s On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft for anyone who wants to learn to write fictional stories.