Posts Tagged ‘ fiction ’

Felix and the DreamWorld Sample

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

In honor of my children’s reading at Philcon, I am making a free sample of my upcoming short story collection, working title Felix and the DreamWorld Bandits and Other Stories, available via Smashwords. Please check it out and write a review!

Felix_Dreamworld-cover-225

Felix Discovers the DreamWorld and Other Stories

In this book for young readers, Felix learns about the DreamWorld from his mother: a place where you can do anything and go anywhere. With a child’s eye for the absurd, he explores this land with his best friends, a robot named Hobart and a dinosaur named Drusus. Felix and his friends fight a dragon, meet a unicorn, and learn that the DreamWorld offers surprises Felix could never have imagined while awake.

Free at Smashwords

Wild Violet Featured: Week of October 15

Monday, October 15th, 2012

This week, my literary magazine, Wild Violet, visits the dreamworld:

Featured: Week of October 15

Review: “Memoirs of a Geisha”

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Memoirs of a GeishaMemoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had wanted to read Arthur Golden’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” ever since seeing the movie several years ago. When I finally did, I discovered that the book is filled with just as many lush visual details but that the story is a little less romanticized than in the film. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since Hollywood movies tend to heighten drama, but the most striking part of this book is how much of a geisha’s life is mundane.

Far from being a glamorous existence, Golden’s novel exposes this bygone profession as both painstaking and heartbreaking. The rewards were few for most of the women who spent their entire lives training to entertain; spending hours perfecting their appearances; and maintaining strict codes of behavior. For those who managed to make the right connections and climb the social ladder, they could hope to secure a wealthy benefactor. Others struggled, especially as they aged.

This book has been the subject of some controversy, since Golden based it on interviews with geishas, one of whom objected to the way he portrayed events in the book. Yet, fictionalizing the book allowed Golden to pick and choose details and to focus the story in a way that lent the most drama. These were wise choices, and the book, while it may not tell any one geisha’s story, nevertheless tells the story of many woman whose profession, like their stories, has slipped into the past.

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Review: “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After receiving “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” as a Christmas present, I let it sit on a shelf for a year before reading it. I must admit: the prospect of reading about a child who lost his father on 9/11 did not excite me. Perhaps it was best that I waited, because this lyrical, fearless book has inspired me at a time when I, a stay-at-home mom of a toddler, am feeling overworked and under-inspired.

I have not gotten so excited about an author’s creative use of voice since I read William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury” in high school. Rather than concentrating on 9/11, author Jonathan Safran Foer tells a multitude of tales from a family, all dealing with separation, guilt, grief, and an inability to communicate with loved ones. These are, of course, universal concerns, and they elevate the book above the simplistic ways we often talk about tragedy.

The characters include a young boy mourning his father’s death on 9/11, as well as his grandmother and his estranged grandfather. Each tell their tales in distinct ways. The boy keeps a scrapbook of pictures that speak to him and seeks meaning by engaging in a city-wide scavenger hunt for the lock opened by a key his father left behind. The grandfather, who left while the boy’s father was young, has not spoken aloud since the Dresden bombing in World War II, where he saw unfathomable tragedy. He “speaks” through writing short sentences to people in blank books. The grandmother shares her deepest thoughts through letters which, apparently, she leaves unsent. At times, the different voices descend into nonsense or take an unusual approach to describing experience. This constant discovery and renewal is exhilarating and thought-provoking.

I highly recommend this book to any reader, but especially to writers seeking inspiration. Reading this book will make writers think about narrative and how to construct it differently, as well as how to use voice and character to tell a story and build dramatic tension. This poetic, insightful book speaks volumes about the human experience.

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Review: “Angels & Demons”

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon, #1)Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Where Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” feels revolutionary, in terms of its incorporation of real-life settings and historical documents into a thriller, “Angels & Demons” treads the same territory with less impressive results.

I read this book primarily because I’d seen the movie, and it was interesting to compare the differences between the book and the movie. There were a number of key changes to the way the action played out, and the book frequently made more sense (even if it was less dramatic and visual). But those changes aside, the book was a fairly traditional thriller. Yes, there is a religious conspiracy unveiled, but the “evidence” is less convincing and the end result far less plausible.

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