Fantasy and the problem with Tolkien — The Write Stuff

The eternal dilemma of the fantasy writer: Has every story been told or can I tell an old one in a new way?  Read what Sue Vincent at The Write Stuff says about it. Regardless, I will continue to write my own fantasies and hope they have half the depth of Tolkien’s Middle Earth…

It has to be said that Tolkien causes problems. Quite apart from being so addictive that, once read, you are likely to go back and read the books again, you may never find anywhere quite as rich as Middle Earth within the pages of another book. Anyone whose introduction to fantasy is via The Hobbit […]

via Fantasy and the problem with Tolkien — The Write Stuff

Audiobook Reviewer Has Weighed In

If you ever wanted to find a site that extensively reviews audiobooks of all genres, is the place.  Their library of reviews is extensive. I was so tickled to find them.

The folks at Audiobook Reviewer were kind enough to review Quest of the Dreamwalker and here’s a bit of what they had to say:

Stacy Bennett, the author has skillfully created a world so mystical yet realistic that one cannot stop listening to this epic novel.  It has everything – passion, mystery, action, evil, fighting, and so much more! … Zachary Johnson, narrator, performs this epic novel as if he were born to do so.  He owns the book with his talent to step into the story and wear each character as if it was his true identity…  

You can read more of this review here along with a thousand others in just the right genre to suit your taste.

                Listen to the magic!




Memorial Day Thoughts

I was married to a Marine – once upon a time. And in my heart, there is a room set aside for the military, a room full of tender love and respect.  Even though the men I knew were chock full of bluster and arrogance, they also had brave hearts and uncommon courage when it mattered. Yes, they were human, but they were also heroes in the making. 

Memorial Day is for honoring those who died in our service. Not just served but the ones who faced mortal enemies and lost. And all for an ideal. I wonder, as we move forward into troubled times, if we have become the nation they believed we could be. The nation we should be. I’m not preaching a cause and I don’t care what your stand on politics is. Today is a day to recognize their sacrifice, to acknowledge that someone’s spouse, sibling, or child died so you could live the life you have. Today is a day to consider what it means to be worthy of that sacrifice, that gift.

Are we living up to that legacy? Or is there still work to be done?   

Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known only to God.


I do not understand…
They bring so many, many flowers to me—
Rainbows of roses, wreaths from every land;
And hosts of solemn strangers come to see
My tomb here on these quiet, wooded heights.
My tomb here seems to be
One of the sights.

The low-voiced men, who speak
Of me quite fondly, call me The Unknown:
But now and then at dusk, Madonna-meek,
Bent, mournful mothers come to me alone
And whisper down—the flowers and grasses through—
Such names as “Jim” and “John”…
I wish I knew.

And once my sweetheart came.
She did not—nay, of course she could not—know,
But thought of me, and crooned to me the name
She called me by—how many years ago?
A very precious name. Her eyes were wet,
Yet glowing, flaming so…
She won’t forget!

 – E.O. Laughlin

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MidWeek Flash: Reiterated Love

Since I was late on last week’s MidWeek Flash, it’s already time for another one. But this simply gorgeous photo clicked with a thought and voila. 

Reiterated Love

I stood on the old pier watching the beginning of the end. Conflicting memories danced in my head as the sky turned molten around us. Lilia’s fearful whimper tugged at me and I tucked her in close. Her body trembled against my side. Whether the result of my presence or the sky, I couldn’t be sure.

“We have to go,” I urged.

“I’m tired,” she said, “tired of … all of you.”

“The ship is waiting.”

“Maybe I don’t want to go.” Though soft and halting, she cast the words at me like a challenge.

I gazed down on the face I’d known all my life, the face of my purpose. This woman was very reason I was alive. Her guarded hazel eyes met mine, testing my resolve. Haunted by a hundred deaths, she silently dared me to argue. Her lips were a hard line, yet I couldn’t resist reliving the memory of them playing over my skin, kissing me in ways that heated my blood. Continue reading “MidWeek Flash: Reiterated Love”

MidWeek Flash: Lighting the Way

It’s been more than a week since I wrote some flash, and feels even longer. But I’m back. As usual, I made an effort to kick back against the obvious and take this piece in a lighter direction. I leave it to you whether I’ve succeeded and still managed to write something intriguing.  

Thank you again to Miranda for her weekly prompts. And if any of you out there think you might have a story inside you waiting to come out. Come write with us! Really we don’t bite (much). 

Lighting the Way

“I see dead people.”

My husky imitation echoes slightly in the dim hallway as a wry smirk plays across my lips. Unfortunately, anyone who could hear me now probably won’t get the reference, or appreciate the humor. Still, the irony makes me chuckle.

Even though the sun hangs in a cloudless sky outside, the hallway feels dark, shadowed, oppressed. I take slow, deliberate steps, stowing the humor and breathing deeply. Settling into my purpose, I reach out with my inner sense, inviting contact. Many are still here. Too many. They know I’ve come but they don’t trust me. Yet. Continue reading “MidWeek Flash: Lighting the Way”

Review: A Torch Against the Night

A Torch Against the Night

by Sabaa Tahir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This sequel does not disappoint!

I was eagerly waiting for this sequel to come out, having been delighted with An Ember in the Ashes. I knew in my bones what was coming would be heart wrenching and difficult but I trusted in Ms. Tahir. I was not disappointed. I held my breath and hurried through the chapters needing to know what came next. In her world that is intricate, complicated and brutal, you grow to appreciate each of the three characters,. You want to hate some, to say this one is good and this one bad, but you can’t. An expert at the gray area, Tahir sneaks them into your heart with their hopes, their dreams, their virtues and their flaws.

As for the narration, the voice actors reprised their performances from An Ember in the Ashes and I felt like I was meeting old friends after a lengthy absence. The continuity in the voices, in the characters felt like coming home. I don’t normally like present tense, but the reading here was so smooth, that even when I transitioned to the page for a time, I didn’t even notice until I was done.

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Review: An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes

by Sabaa Tahir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had not heard anything about this title or author when I bought the audiobook. I eventually also bought it in paperback because I needed the consummation of actually turning the pages at times. Sometimes, the audio read felt too slow because I just wanted, no needed, to know what happened next.

In a world where the Martial Empire has spread to most of the continent, disobedience is brutally punished and those from subservient nations are turned into slaves. Laia, a scholar girl, must face her fears and risk death to save her brother while Elias Veturius, a member of one of the most respected Martial families, despises what he has become and longs for freedom. Their paths are destined to cross and cross again as they battle to stay alive and find what matters to them most.

I was surprised at the ease with which I became engrossed in the story, rooting for characters, feeling their pains. I was hooked from the first page. I love Ms. Tahir’s writing though I’m not sure I could say what is different about it, just that it resonates with me.

The narrators also were perfect fits for their characters, Mr. West in particular. Told from the first person viewpoint with a full cast, I felt like I knew Laia, Helene and Elias by the end of it. This book deserved its accolade of Best YA Book of 2015. Definitely worth a read or a listen.

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Review: The Immorality Clause

The Immorality Clause

by Brian Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bladerunner in the Red Light District.

This title is a bit outside my usual fare. I’m not a huge fan of noir or crime novels but it looked intriguing. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be my cup of tea. (I rated it as if it was the kind of book I would like, personal prejudices aside.)

It was a cliche in a slightly over the top kind of way. And though, that is not to my taste I’m sure many would love it. It was very tactfully written for the subject matter, neither too gory nor too timid. It was moderately well-paced but I felt, at times, the clues didn’t quite follow; coincidences were too pat. Otherwise, it was enjoyable.

As for the narration, it was the bright spot in this book for me. Mr. Pena sounds just like you’d expect a rough around the edges cop to sound. A likable jerk. He did a good job with the acting, this being entirely from the 1st person perspective which is a tough job. And though he did a wonderful job altering his voice to perform the voices of the robots and other characters, I felt that at times the story let him down.

If you like noir crime, I predict you will really enjoy this book. For those of us who don’t, you may want to pass.

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