Friday, February 1, 2013

Forged in Flame, A Review - and a link

I was thrilled to be reminded by Sallie Lundy-Frommer that I was her guest not long ago - senior moment. I really liked this interview:

Now for the review:

They inspire our creations, the creations of madmen. They fire the embers of our weak imaginations and make us soar over the nullities of our lives to speak with gods. Leonardo da Vinci, “the Conqueror,” longed to copy them. Thousands of our best young artists and designers struggle to illustrate them. And in Forged in Flame, five authors tell their stories: here there be Dragons.

This slim anthology of five novellas explores dragons as they might have appeared in mythology, how they might have interacted, even mated, with humanity, and how the innate madness of these creations might fire the madness of inventors. Thirty-one year old Samuel Mayo is first, with a short appropriately titled “First Flight.” This novella might be targeted at the middle grade reader, with young teen-aged protagonists and a villain who must steal an unnatural power source. The “flight” refers to the boy’s invention and the demon dragon that must steal the power-generator to wreak havoc on a post-apocalyptic Earth. We leap back to the wonders of a medieval landscape, with a peaceable kingdom besieged on all sides – except from the North, the land of the mystical creatures who would leave the kingdom to its fate. But then the Dragon Kingdom learns that it has scales in the game. The massive, peaceful giants weigh in on the side of harmony. This novella is written by a fantasy writer, Brian Collier, who has always made writing his profession.

Eric White, another writer who struggles to create his fantasy world out of a schedule committed to earning a living another way, brings us a medieval aquascape, rather than a landscape. In “Birth Pains,” a girl reprises Mary by bearing without the benefit of a man, but she carries triplets – triplet dragons, that is. Even when she seems like a girl in trouble, used by a boy whose reputation she has sworn to protect, two heroes arise to bring her to the place where she can make this miraculous birth. One is her devoted grandmother, and another is a sea warrior who makes Admiral Peary go weak at the knees.  In “Golden Legacy” by 22-year-old author Jana Boskey, a man of decidedly paranormal blood – half dragon, half “Faerie” – is hunted by an Assassin, a teenaged girl who knows nothing but pursuit of people with paranormal abilities. There is an ongoing struggle of life and death here; Boskey’s genius is to make the supremely powerful dragon legend hover between life and death at the point of a dagger wielded by a teen-aged girl.

In “Heart of Steel,” Caitlyn McColl brings us the mind of the insatiable inventor, whose quest for truth transforms into a lust for revenge when he finds his beloved apparently murdered. The remarkable genius who brings forth cyborg creatures of every description brings a great dragon automaton to life to seek revenge. The identity of the killer, and the nature of the crime, twist the plot into a psychological pretzel.  The final story, from D. Robert Pease, author of the two Noah Zarc novels, brings us full-circle in the lore of dragons. In “A Chink in the Armor,” the dragon seeks the greatest warrior on Earth to confront and to test the mettle of in battle. Humanity has found that it has come upon an enemy that it cannot overcome. In the words of Blue Oyster Cult, “History shows again and again how Nature points out the folly of men!”

Forged in Flame is my first exposure to dragons since the Lord of the Rings and Wagner’s Ring Cycle operas. I was mightily impressed by the scope of the works contained herein, from the geeklike to the epic. The writers and editors who compiled this volume have done a marvelous job! There is one flaw, that borders on the serious: it is not OK to miss homophones in the editing process. A writer can be excused (barely) for using “vile” when he means “vial,” but a publisher had better keep such mistakes out of their product if it is to make a name for itself as a quality publisher. This fault is severe enough to lose half a mark in my book. If I could break a star, this would reduce my rating from 5 to 4.5 stars, but in a whole-star system, I give this collection five stars and a resume for a copy editor.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

NightBallet Press: Debut of Prayerbook Bouquet by Zachary Fishel!

NightBallet Press: Debut of Prayerbook Bouquet by Zachary Fishel!

What a pleasure it was to read about the initiative that my FB friend and colleague Dianne Borsenick has taken to establish this new press! I certainly plan on submitting my chapbook to them, and I encourage you all to surf over there.

Bird in the Hand...

The proverb goes, "Better to have a bird in the hand than two in the bush." Of course, if you love birds, the literal wisdom of the proverb is debatable, but the meaning is clear. If you have something now, take it, and leave the future to take care of the future. But is this good advice for novelists?

As you know, I have been "selling" 3 Through History as an ebook for a few months now, and have the following rollicking results: 8 sales, 4 that weren't free for reviewers, and one review (bless your heart, it was a five-star). I have been a little slack about my platform - most of you were wondering when my next literary fiction review was going to go up - but I have been more aggressive about finding reviewers. Still, not very good results. But last Friday, I got an email from a boutique publisher with almost no budget that wants to add my novel to their literary offerings. Rejoice! Party! Beer for everyone!

Then I opened my email yesterday, and got the big surprise that an agency that represents a lot of literary fiction and gets such novels published by the Big Six New York Publishers, wanted my manuscript! So at this moment, I sit and puzzle, wondering whether to sign the contract that the boutique house is going to send me, or roll the dice. Very large dice, but dice nevertheless.

Dear reader, what would you do? Have you ever been in a Bird-In-The-Hand situation (or live in Bird-In-Hand, PA) and made your choice? How did it turn out?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Franzen's Freedom, a Review in Verse

Franzen Freedom in Free Verse

Patty, you pirouetted freely on the floor
Of a baller gym trying to escape the still-hot embers
Of free love freely robbed from you
Honeybee rapes the flower,
Robs the honeysuckle of that which

Heaven gave, and though depraved
Men who claim your fealty, family
Fails to carry swords for girls
Carries water for criminals
With bigger dicks and wallets

Walter, frozen like a shallow pond
In Iron Ranging winter raging
Through your backwoods blood, the
Booze and smokes of the Bemidji men
Who tie the women down with drink and

Servitude. The weight of constant winter
Silent spring traps you in a world of must
Until you find a free spirit free love freely
Given in sattvic smiles saturated with
Sex and satisfaction. Shiva sweeps in

Swollen roadbeds slippery tar and loosened
Gravel thrown from truckbeds full to
Breaking broken coal soot whiskey
Fly Lalitha, fly love free for though
You came to this overpopulated

Planet poised to choke on smoke
City soaked with human sorrow
You found freedom, love to borrow
Wresting Walter from his chains
Of filial obligation now you’re gone

Children live, triangulated
Joey individuated
Wrapped in teen lust, still a boy
Coupled free of Mom and Dad
Grab that prize! Trash her later

Make connection, take that contract
Find a way to cop free stash and
Money by the hundred thousand
Find the stench of rotting blood
Turns you back, pay ill with good

Rock star Richard
Fluid rake
Will you take
Her mistake
Thrown like waste
In the face
Of the chick
Who would stick
To the pick
Your guitar
Travels far
From the heart
Of your Walt
Though you love him
You betray him
With your radar cock
you slay him
Sets him free
To love and lose
And grieve

Yet another, a girl who might redeem
Brokenness, the wretched weight of empty
Space between the fibers raveling.
Free from guttering smoky flame
Of family’s woven wick, Jessica,

Your mother’s calling,
You are my mirror. Cast the light
Where I fail, hebete presence, to shine.
Hurl spears for me. Then salve
The wounds I caused. Put the pieces of Patty

Back together. Walter’s birds, however fragile,
Can not rise or sing with their savior
Limned on a cross with

Free to be who we aren’t
Freedom’s never free
For the cost is the loss
Of who we are

Friday, January 11, 2013

Alpha Male Diner: Guest Cook Joleene Naylor + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Curious as to the person responsible for the bold cover art on 3 Through History ( Here she is, the diva of PNR, Miss Joleene Naylor...

Alpha Male Diner: Guest Cook Joleene Naylor + giveaway | I Smell Sheep