Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review Devon Monk's Dead Iron.

An apology here for those who have read this already...I evidently used terms such as "his" in this review,  Devon is a she.  Surprised no one took me to task over that. And I used the word "word" when I wanted world. Hopefully I caught all of the mis-pronouns .

I hadn’t planned on doing this so soon but I did a shorter version of this review on a writer’s forum I belonged to and had a couple of extra minute so here it is:

I have been reading a book in a semi new series. "Dead Iron" by Devon Monk. Oh boy he is some writer. First of her's I have read even though he has out a few.

This series--with three now--is hmm, well I'm not sure. They call it steampunk but is it? It is but it's more than that. I want to say an extreme version of Steampunk but that's not quite right either, it's like steampunk took a sudden left turn. More like Gearpunk? That's not quiet right either. Hmmm, SteamgearStrangepunk? Yes, strange has a capitol letter. You have to read the book to get the significance of that. 

It's set in Western times, about the time they built the railroad. It has what are probably elves and dwarves but they are not called that. The short, wide men dig tunnels and stone talks to them. 

Not sure how to talk more about without giving away major plot points but I think it’s worth the read. I will say that the Strange are dark beings who want bodies--any type but especially human. I believe that even the good guy’s from the other Realm are called Strange but they are different.  

However I will say one things--well two things. One is that a part of the ending is strongly hinted at. I won’t be the only one to figure it out. At the same time there are surprises and one or two times someone different than expected shows up to help.  

The second item I will mention is a tiny spoiler. It has little to do with the plot. What a warwagon where in you know what did that come from?? There is no warning, it just kind appears to hold off one set of good guys. What is Devon a fan of John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and/or directer Burt Kennedy? For those who don’t know it’s an old Western.

There's danger, a curse by a god, guys that turn into wolves, Magic, a witch, adventure and great writing. It's action packed with little time to catch your breath. There is some but as I said little. The world Devon invented has characteristics of UF and Western fantasies but he adds some twists so it’s not the same old. Monk is another one to model writing after, he knows how to do action scenes. It forced me to read past my allotted time. 

That's it for me for this one. 

Oct 18 Update PS

Warned you'll/

   One thing I forgot to mention, I have changed a few things about my Hero in the UF series of short stories I have referenced. Things like his name. He is still an artist but now his painter name is Simon Sayz, I haven’t quite decided on a mage name, but it will be close. Neither name is his birth name. He has four and I am trying to think of a name that is close to Simon. Probably a Spanish name since his mother was Hispanic. Speaking of that I haven’t quite decided if his parents are still alive. I think I had them dead in the first story but I’m not sure. Maybe alive but completely out of the picture. 

A couple of his friends while growing up have been changed,  

And what I call things will be changed, it is no longer “spell”. And the world with the fae and mythological creatures is called the Secondary world. It is in the same place as the First world but different from it in many ways. 

All that means I need to go back and change names and add a sentence or two when I redo the stories to get them ready to place in a story set for e-publishing. I can do that. 
And I want to use two real life settings that Laura Resnick’ used in her Esther Diamond series but I will have to find them myself to see if they really are real.  :)  And if you have not read them DO it!  Great stuff, a bit on the lighthearted side with at least a dash of romance in them.

As to the hard SF flash I referenced in the main update post: for a few seconds I considered trying to expand it enough to send it to WotF. I would need to add at least two thousand words to it. David like longer stories because you can put in more stuff he likes but shorter stories can make it. So I would need to add another try-fail cycle maybe two more, some emotional angst, more setting, more of an explanation of what happened. But I decided it wasn’t worth the effort. 

Oh, yes the original 450 word story was inspired by a pic on the Speculative writers community of Google+. If you join G+ and the community you might be able to see the pic. Just look for my profile and you will find all my posts.  

And that story I think is so good, that gets complete rejections, has been sent to Intergalactic Medicine Show or IGMS. I don’t know if they have different levels of rejections like F&SF but hopefully I can get a personal comment on it. Love to send it to John Joseph Adams formally or F&SF now of LIghtspeed and various anthologies, but it’s too long for Lightspeed I believe. I will double check to make sure but I really believe it’s too long. If if happened to be two or three hundred words over I probably would cut out some of it but I’ll be surprised if even that is the case. 

One more thing on Indie publishing. I have a story set of eleven quirky or odd stories but I’ve been too busy to get them ready. I keep forgetting about it. Wouldn’t take long once I got going with it.   

So that’s it for this rather long PS but there could be another...Yikes. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Oct 18 update-WotF, ethnics, short stories.

 Okay, time for another writing update. This one has a very short Indie update:

I’m still stuck on my video for Kickstarter. I experimented and found I will have problems focusing with just me doing it. Plus finding a good level for the camera to be set at. I asked three different places for suggestions but so far no responses.

Now to writing. My last WotF story failed, completely. I really thought this one had better writing and could get a HM but nothing. It’s out at Fantasy and Science Fiction. They seem to be taking longer these days...that’s not saying much though. At one to three days longer they are still have about the fastest response around. Lightspeed is faster by far as in it takes JJA one to three days, there’s another one--I forget who at the moment--that is also quick but F&SF is faster than even most cyber magazines. Anyway, I even more think of this story as my best so far--especially in writing but the story is good too--I hope for a personal comment at least but...

I have problems trying to remember to send out stories, I usually send a bunch out on a Saturday and/or Sunday. Most of them being over the internet these days. I think I will try one a day and see if that works better. 

I am working on three stories at the moment: a steampunk Special Ops team form the POV of the Lieutenant in charge-it’s the second in a series, a UF story--the latest in a series abut a male mage--most of mine lately have been female mages, and the latest in my Urban Alchemist series. This last one has six or seven stories in it. Most are short and what I call simple stories. No world saving, not even any person saving. One story my hero Samuel has to find the clothes of a group of people. The clothes, including purses etc, just vanished. And the people are locked out of their homes. It does take Samuel three tries to get the clothes back but is in danger, he learns something in the precess. Another story deals with a Gnome plague someone has.  This last one is a combo. I seem to be doing a bunch of Gnome stories. That was the third one. I may do another one soon. 

I did a hard SF flash. It’s at least close to hard SF anyway. I sent that one to F&SF today. I originally wrote it as 460 or so word story but I expanded on it, delated some stuff, changed some details, added details etc, and now it’s around 720 words. I may try to add enough to send it to Futures, which wants hard SF stories from 750 to 850. 
The story I have now at WotF is still good writing--for me and a good story--I think. It may also have the novelty that David Farland wants. I use characters that aren’t so novel but I put a twist to the plot. I hope. 

Trying to decide on which story to do for the next quarter at WOTF. I have one story there now but it won’t be judged for at least another month. I think I will do one story I have hand written out. I didn’t do it on purpose but it came out the type of story they like. So with a little modifying here and there I think it will fit better. The writing is another problem though. But I still have another type of story I thought of two quarters ago. I know pretty much the whole plot. Never wrote it out though, very recently I came up with the opening. Maybe I do it the next quarter but start it sooner. The one I hand wrote might be different enough too plus it does have try and fail cycles like David wants, plus using the five human senses for setting and other things. We shall see how he likes this one. Finally got back the rejection before I could post this....He doesn’t-of course. So as I have said before only one pro editor likes  my writing and he’s not taking any stories at the moment.

I am tempted to work on NaNoWriMo this year, more on that here. But they want you to do a 50,000 word novel during the month of Nov. Fifty thousand is rather short for a novel but it’s a good range for a month. I have done it four times. This time I want to do the version where you can do short stories as long as they relate and are a total of 50,000. I have a couple of ideas on that but I have also thought about rewriting-as from scratch-a couple of novels I started but never finished. That was years ago and I’ve learned so much about writing since I would have to change so much it would be easier to just start over. One is Space Opera, one is UF actually set in the same world as the one I am trying to get Indie published, and a third is epic fantasy-I think. But I am also tempted not to do it. A whole lot of rushing around doing just that story plus a tiny bit on other stuff. I need to start my next WotF story and revise a couple of short stories plus work on getting that novel ready to go. 

And speaking of ethnic MCs--not that anyone was at the moment--but I have decided that one of my next MCs in UF will be half Arabic and half Mexican. I mean as in from Mexico. Or I may make the UF guy I am doing now that fusion. I have a story with a black MC and one with a half fairy and half Armenian. The number two book for Two Struggles will have a black mage and hispanic plus one in a wheelchair. Actually I have already introduced the hispanic one but he will be around more in the second. Even though I dislike Political Correctness very much--too demanding and dictatorial no matter how it started--using different ethnics, females, and even people with disabilities goes beyond PCness in my viewpoint. Nothing wrong with it--of course being forced, one way or another to do it is Totally and Way wrong. 

That’s it for this time unless I remember something I forgot, I haven’t had a PS for a while but it’s still possible.