I agreed to read and review Writer’s Companion only because I’ve been a fan of Carlos Cortes’ work since reading his novel, The Prisoner. I met freelaI agreed to read and review Writer’s Companion only because I’ve been a fan of Carlos Cortes’ work since reading his novel, The Prisoner. I met freelance writer, Renée Miller by accident when I stumbled upon her snarky and all too perceptive blog. The collaboration works.
Writer’s Companion is more encyclopedic knowledge than a quick reference guide. Be prepared to sit back, read, and ponder your writing and how you can improve it.
Every section is chocked full of so much information, I had to put the book down every few chapters just to digest what I had read. And while the data and opinions were valid and important, many times I found myself on information overload.
If I were to cite one fault, it’s that it lumbers too long on particulars. The book is peppered with lengthy examples and conclusions that would make a criminal lawyer proud.
As an experienced writer, I prefer to get my information in bullet points. But newer writers would do well to put this book in their library. The explanations are so precise, it’s like getting a creative writing course for pennies. This is a textbook, an educational tome for the serious writing student.
Where this book glowed for me started in Section 3: The Craft of Rewriting. From here to the very end, the guide crackled with a punch list every writer should have in his arsenal. I loved the text on writing thoughts, tightening POV, and analysis.
In Section 4: The Rules of Writing, it listed everything you should’ve learned when you were in grammar school, but might’ve since forgotten. In Section 6: The Toolbox, the templates, resources, and links are worth the price of the book alone.
I received this book in both digital and print format. The print version is clear, easy to read and nicely formatted. The PDF version was a little wonky on my e-reader when it got to tabs and columns. Illustrations didn’t appear at all, while tabs and underlined words collapsed on one another. Switching to my desktop computer, the PDF displayed without any glitches. It was only the e-reader that seemed offended.
Digital publishers are notorious for bastardizing formats to fit its meat-grinder, so it didn’t come as a surprise when the e-reader mangled the book’s graphics. That’s par for the course when it comes to e-readers. If you read off a computer, you shouldn’t have any trouble.
Because of its size, I would advise buying the print book, not just for the ease in reading but because Writer’s Companion is more like a bible than an ordinary writing book. This is private library material. You’re going to want to refer to this book often if for nothing more than the generous resources and guides.
I was very pleased that this wasn’t just another slap-dashed how-to book, but the hearts and souls of two seasoned writers—mongrel writers as they called themselves. To me, it was like downloading the total experience and education of writing craftsmen who have been in the trenches and lived to tell about it.
San Francisco Dreams is set at the turn of the 20th century in San Francisco, just before the massive earthquake that decimated the city in biblical pSan Francisco Dreams is set at the turn of the 20th century in San Francisco, just before the massive earthquake that decimated the city in biblical proportions.
We follow the journey of Mac and Norah, two young people looking for a fresh start and finding each other aboard a train bound for San Francisco.
Their banter is light and frosty at times, but their hearts betray different responses. It’s only when tragedy strikes that they realize how much they need each other. There are no overt sexual situations and the tension of will they or won’t remains high.
It’s not a long enough story to explore the relationship more deeply, but you get the gist nonetheless.
While Mac and Norah are engaging as a couple, what really drew me in was the earthquake and its aftermath. Long forgotten facts about 1906 emerged like little gems. I inhale this sort of stuff so I was elated to glean every scrap of early 20th century atmo.
I had read how heavily Cate Masters researched the time period so it was like getting a tiny history lesson inside a story. I would have loved to have read more about Mac and Norah’s fight for survival. Considering all the real-life tragedy many people have faced recently worldwide, it was an eyeful to see how people back then dealt with such massive destruction.
Like all novellas, it’s short, and you’re left wanting to know more. But it was a treat to read about a time period so rarely visited.
History lovers, disaster lovers and people who adore true grit should try this novella.
I always go in with a bit of trepidation when I read SF. Either it's good SF with mealy characterization or relationships, or it's great chemistry, buI always go in with a bit of trepidation when I read SF. Either it's good SF with mealy characterization or relationships, or it's great chemistry, but poor world building.
So color me pleasantly surprised when I picked up KS Augustin's book, IN ENEMY HANDS. The pace was brisk, the narrative intelligent and the characters…ooh, the characters.
These were real people. I could see them, touch them. More importantly, I could empathize with them.
Moon and Srin are scientists working for the Republic, an autocratic regime who knows how to hold on to its resources—even if they have to control them at the synaptic level.
The protagonists are working on stellar forming experiments, research so vital, the Republic will stop at nothing to get their results. Srin, a math genius without equal becomes Moon's research partner, but right from the start Moon realizes there is something strange about him.
To keep him under control, the Republic erases Srin's memory every two days. Just to see this scenario played out is reason enough to buy the book. You ache for Srin as he struggles to remember shadows of his past. Augustin nails this character so completely that you can't help but sympathize.
Moon is sharp yet compassionate. You can see her struggle with the moral dilemmas that are thrown at her. You understand her fear and why she is so conflicted to help Srin. I was glued to the outcome on whether she would free Srin from his chemical yoke. Augustin had me at the edge of my seat the whole time.
If you are a science fiction lover, you must read this book. And if you are a science fiction lover who is tired of cardboard characters, you must read this author. KS Augustin gets it right.
I asked to read Alma The Younger even though I am not Mormon, nor am I familiar with their teachings. I simply knew that I enjoyed Heather Moore's stoI asked to read Alma The Younger even though I am not Mormon, nor am I familiar with their teachings. I simply knew that I enjoyed Heather Moore's stories in the past, and wanted to review it from a 'secular' point of view.
You have to understand also that I read everything with a deep level of disbelief. I demand the author prove to me that s/he can tell a story and make me live it with them.
It came as a true delight that Heather Moore didn't whitewash anything. The main character, Alma the younger, is an antihero, and he was modeled so believably, I started to wonder midway how he was going to be redeemed.
I liked too that the reason for his anger and rebellion was completely plausible and even understandable. This was a thinking man, a man with a great emotional well for compassion for his fellow human beings. So when he did strike out, the reader could empathize with his anger. This wasn't a two dimensional character. This was a man of deep convictions.
Cassia, Alma's love interest is the perfect counterpart to all-too-serious Alma. She is so sweet and kind, a young girl stepping into womanhood and carrying that burden with amazing grace. The relationship she has with Alma was truly sensitive and beautifully painted. You could feel the tension in words not spoken and the great love neither could admit.
The story opens in the middle of a crisis and then goes backward in time to tell how it came about. This particular technique is very hard to pull off well, but Heather Moore had no trouble at all hooking me and keeping my interest throughout.
I will say that this story probably has more meaning to people of faith, but that does not limit it in the least in terms of scope or grand story telling.
The characters were so well described, I could envision them easily, and the pace was terrific. I am an impatient reader at best, and one of the telltale signs that a story has me hooked is my willingness to pick it up again after I've put it down. HB Moore accomplished this again and again. I had to find out what happened next. I had to know Alma's fate and those of his friends and enemies.
Do I recommend this book? Absolutely.
The writing is crisp, the pace is brisk and the characters are most certainly memorable. If I had any qualms about the story telling it's that I think Ms. Moore cheated me. LOL. I wanted to know much more about the world building.
Perhaps those of the Mormon faith already know this world too well, but I was so intrigued by the details, I was hungry for more.
Regardless whether you are a person of faith or not, the story stays with you. That is a testament in itself. ...more