The Sapphire Flute by Karen E. Hoover

11806837 First book review of the year goes to the wonderful Sapphire Flute (The Wolf Child Saga, #1) by Karen E. Hoover.

Here’s the summary, taken from Goodreads:

It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann. In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother’s wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father’s secret-a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father’s greatest enemy. At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C’Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayle must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls’ paths are set on a collision course…a course that C’Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.

I finished this book the last day of December, and it was such a nice book to finish the year with. I have to admit, it took me a little bit of time to get into this book for me, mainly because to begin with, the two main character girls are a little too similar for my liking. They sound a little too much alike and have too similar of temperaments at the beginning of the book, that I had to really remind myself which story I was in at the moment, as the story goes back and forth between the two.

That feeling evaporated as the story developed, though, and especially as I was simply consistently blown away with the pure imagination and originality of this book. I was so pleased by some of the elements that were implemented: specific kinds of magical tools, the description of the magic itself, and especially, especially the correlation between music and magic—because really, music is the closest thing we have to magic in our own world. Imagine if music conveyed with it images, spells, and power?

While Kayla and Ember may have similar personalities, they are both very strong female characters, and their journeys are so very different (and yet intrinsically connected!) that they do end up being distinctly individual in their stories.

The second book of the Wolf Child series (The Armor of Light) is available and I’m looking forward to reading it and seeing where this journey goes!

*****

A little background history, The Sapphire Flute was originally published by a publishing house, but that publishing house closed, so Hoover now self-publishes the ebooks, but it is still available in hardcover, if you’d rather read an actual book (the cover is a little different, though) Ebooks are available on Hoover’s blog. 🙂

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Think unicorns are white and fluffy and gentle creatures? Well, think again. In Diana Peterfreund’s Rampant, unicorns are vicious killer monsters that can only be taken down by virginal maiden descendents of Alexander the Great. Mmmhmm.

This book is a lot of fun. Okay, killer unicorns sound a little ridiculous at first—okay, a lot ridiculous—but Peterfreund finds threads of legends throughout history and weaves them together with a lot of imagination and thoroughness and makes a formidable mythology that stands on its own.

The main character, Astrid, took some time getting there, but by the end of the book she was a seriously formidable character. And isn’t that what a coming-of-age story is all about, the journey?

Things I love about this book:

1) Phil. Astrid’s cousin is awesome from the very beginning. She knows what she wants and speaks up about it, even after something potentially soul-crushing happens to her.

2) Bonegrinder. Bonegrinder is a zhi (pronounced “g”), a little goat-like unicorn—she’s vicious of her own account, but she grows on you.

3) The Boy. He’s pitter-pat worthy. And I do mean worthy.

4) Astrid. It took me a while, like I said, but I honestly loved her by the end of the book and was cheering her every step of the way.

5) Cory. I love her development throughout the book.

What I didn’t like was that a couple of the other hunters were a little hard to distinguish from one another. They were introduced well, but got lost in the hussle. This was forgivable, however, in that overall they were seriously awesome.

All in all, though, I thought the book was wonderful. It really earned its ending and I’m looking forward to reading the second book, Ascendant.

Linger by Maggie Steifvater

Sometimes life gets in the way of even the books you want to read most. That’s what happened for me for Linger. Between getting married, getting used to being married,  moving three times, and general life? Well, I didn’t finish many books at all in the past year and a half.

But anyhow.

As a start, here’s my review of Shiver, the first novel in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.

I loved Shiver, and reread it before starting this. What’s really fabulous about these books is the voice and the fact that Sam’s is so poetic, while Grace’s is very fact for fact—just like the characters themselves.

I have to admit, I was less enthralled both by my reread of Shiver and by a lot of Linger than I was the first time I read Shiver. But I blame this more on the timing of my reading it (I’d been reading a lot of whiny YA, and while Stiefvater’s angst is, as I said, much more poetic than the usual fare, it is still teenage angst).

A lot of what made this book slower than the first is that there is a lot of waiting in this book. The characters are waiting for a chance to be together because they’re separated by Grace’s suddenly-proactive parents, and a sudden sickness.

Meanwhile, we’re being thrown into the heads of Isabel and a new character Cole, and neither head is a particularly friendly place. Of course, I knew that going in… and I already loved Isabel, unlike some. From what I knew about Cole (read: that he had a massive fanbase) I knew he’d probably win me over… but oh, he takes some time.

This really is two stories woven into one by circumstance—Sam and Grace’s story, and Cole’s story, with Isabel commentating on both.

The end of this book makes everything worth it, though. The whole thing slips together beautifully—and Cole’s turning a new leaf of the redemption flavor is just as winning as it should be, mainly because it’s clearly the just the beginning of something.

Glad to say I already have Forever waiting in the wings. Hoping it’s a strong ending. With Maggie Stiefvater, I’m not too worried.

 

Music Monday – Save Me by The Pierces

“Save Me” by The Pierces

Background: This song is all about being crushed under the weight of secrets you can’t share. It’s about deciding whether or not to put your trust in people, and knowing for some things that it’s not the best idea. Would you have the strength to keep a dangerous secret if letting it out would put people in danger, or would you find someone you can lean on to take the pressure off of you alone? What’s the trade-off? Is it worth it?

My song history: I first heard this song on the killer episode “The End of the World” from the 1999 TV show, Roswell. In case you don’t remember it, it’s about four teenagers who are actually aliens from the 1947 Roswell crash. If you’ve never seen it and you love YA paranormal (okay, technically it’s sci-fi, but it’s special-powers sci-fi, not that kind of sci-fi) then I encourage you to give it a watch… it was way before its time. Anyhow, this song was featured in one of the most heart-wrenching episodes, and I’ve loved it ever since.

What drew me in: Really it was the utter perfection of how it fit into the Roswell episode. That show had a savant for music—one that was sadly butchured when the show went to DVD and 95% of the music was replaced. I loved the theme of the song, too, though. The narrator’s secrets have piled up so much that she is the “only one” who can save herself. It’s that forced independence that really rings true in the song, and a theme that is so very important in YA fiction—and life, too.

For my writing: This is the song I turn to for secrets. The whole song shouts about secrets that can’t be told—which is just what a secret feels like sometimes when you’re dying to share it… like it’s the loudest thing in your head. I haven’t used this song a whole lot in my own writing yet, but I’m building up towards something that can justify its implied importance. I love the character in the song—someone who is all alone in a fight, basically—and my stories—Jethro in particular—will definitely be taking me to places like that in the future.

What I’m Reading Wednesday – Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I have to admit, sometimes when it comes to reading, I feel like I’m playing a never-ending catch-up game. I’m not a fast reader (yes, you may gasp) and I like to reread books… which only puts me further behind sometimes. Right now the other two books I’m reading are rereads, gearing me up for finishing up their respective series (Fablehaven, and The Wolves of Mercy Falls).

But I’m trying to put newer books that I own into my reading circulation. Because let’s face it, I like talking about new(ish) books just as much as anybody else.

So right now, my newer book that I’m reading is Across the Universe by Beth Revis. If you’re not familiar, it’s about a girl named Amy who gets cryogenically frozen so she can travel 300 years asleep with her parents to help inhabit a new world. Only she gets woken up fifty years early… and someone’s done it on purpose. Now she has to adjust to life on board a ship with its own unique civilization, where someone just may be a murderer…

Oh, and if she ever sees her parents again, she’ll be double their age. Awkward… And devastating, considering she’s given up her entire outside life to be with them.

Anyhow. I’m about a quarter of the way into the book now. If you’ve heard all the hype about this book? Believe it. I’ve loved every minute of it. Revis has a sharp, crisp voice, and Amy and Eldest (the other POV in the book) are both very unique. I love, love, LOVE Amy. She’s feisty and not afraid to say what she’s thinking (which is good, because she’s going to have to ask a LOT of questions here really soon).

I have to admit, I fell so in love with cryo-Amy’s voice that I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy Amy’s chapters as much after she woke up. Well, she’s just woken up, and boy have I been proven wrong so far.

As to other reading… I’ve finally coordinated my Google Reader. Yes, I know I’m a jillion years behind. I had an account once, but it was full of blogs that I never really wanted to read… or at least that I don’t care to read anymore. Things that aren’t of interest to me anymore, but I thought might have been once upon a time.

Now I’ve cleaned those old blogs out and put in all of the blogs that I actually do want to keep up with. Personal friends, writers I respect and love, other writers that are struggling to get somewhere, just like me.

And I have the app on my droid, which I love more than I can say. Maybe for the first time since I was on Livejournal every day, I’ll actually be able to keep up with the blogs I care about!

What have you been reading lately?

Awesome August Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Awesome August Blog Hop, where bloggers from all over the Internet have come together to throw a summertime party!

Every blog on this hop is offering a fun prize, and entering is quick and easy. Simply follow the instructions on each blog, leave a comment, and bop right along to the next blog. You can win multiple times, so be sure to check out all the participating blogs!

ON MY BLOG, you can win an ARC of the upcoming Dystopian novel Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

From Goodreads:

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies.

Mason’s mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police–who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.

Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.

I haven’t read this book yet, but I’m so excited to! It’s a scarier, harsher dystopian society than some that we’re used to, and much closer to our world than most of the dystopes on the market. This book will be available November 1st from Simon Pulse, Simon & Schuster, but you can win it and read it early!

To enter:

1. Subscribe to my blog.

2. Subscribe to Tales From the Hollow Tree, where Isabelle Santiago and I switch off offering free YA short stories every Friday.

3. Leave me a comment and tell me that you’ve done both things. If your e-mail isn’t available through your profile, I’ll need you to leave that, too – I can’t tell you if you’ve won if I can’t contact you!

This blog hop runs through Wednesday night at midnight, so be sure to enter before then! The winner will be notified by e-mail.

Now that you’ve entered my contest, come meet all my other blog friends and see what fun things they are offering!

Awesome August Blog Hop Participants

1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author
2. Karen Hoover
3. Michael Young
4. Kristy Tate
5. cindy Hogan
6. Julie Bellon
7. Margot Hovley
8. Laurie Lewis
9. Mandi Slack
10. Melanie Jacobson
11. Joyce DiPastena
12. Renae Mackley
13. Debbi Weitzell
14. Donna Hatch
15. Carolyn Frank
16. Marsha Ward
17. Stacy Coles
18. Bonnie Harris
19. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan
20. Diony George
21. Lisa Asanuma
22. Susan Dayley
23. Christine Bryant @ Day Dreamer
24. Stephanie Humphreys
25. Ranee` Clark
26. Tamera Westhoff
27. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
28. Heather Justesen
29. Rebecca Talley
30. Jennifer Hurst
31. Aimee Brown
32. Cheryl Christensen
33. Rachelle Christensen
34. Imaginary Reads
35. Andrea Pearson

Learn more about Awesome August Blog Hop here.

Get The Code

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.

Something Expansive

What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

I don’t know that there’s one particular author who set off the inspiration for my WIP. I’d been reading a lot of young adult and middle grade fantasy of various types, and really what drove me to work on this story was the wish to write something expansive. Not “epic” necessarily… but definitely expansive.

If I had to point fingers, though… I think I’d have to single out Shannon Hale.

Despite what I just said, I’m really not much of a reader of fantasy. There is very little of it out there that doesn’t give me the urge to roll my eyes… especially high fantasy. Unless you’re J.R.R. Tolkein or Brandon Mull, you can keep your dragons to  yourself, thanks. And fairies? There was the occasional brilliant book (Lament and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater) but mostly they seemed like a thinly veiled analogy for teen angst, which I didn’t care for. And unless it’s Harry Potter, don’t even talk about wizards.

But Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl reminded me of the fantasy that I loved—had always loved. Fairy tale magic. Subtle, natural magic. Magic like the whispering of words on the wind, or later on in the series, of the language of fire and water. The Goose Girl also had this wide, sweeping landscape and crossed whole nations. It had castles and communities and class-action suits. Okay, not exactly that last one, but close enough—a group of people who were fighting for equal standing, for recognition.

Shannon Hale’s world was so real that I felt like I’d been there, maybe in a dream. I wanted to create something like that. A dream-memory-worthy world. That sure sounded expansive to me. I didn’t want to retell a fairy tale, though. Too many people were doing that… or just about to do that. I wanted to write my own fairy tale. It’s one I’ve fallen dearly in love with, with elements from many of my favorite stories throughout folklore, but I’d like to think with my own special twist.

Other inspirations for my WIP include things like Willow, The Princess Bride, and The Polar Bear King, a movie that I loved to death when I was a kid. I wanted my world to stand alongside worlds like these… quietly magical, wonderfully alive fantasy. Even Robin Hood has had its influence here and there.

Another thing all these worlds have in common? The hero in the story isn’t quite what you’d expect. Sad girl, pirate, misfit… There’s a lesson in a lot of these stories that strength can come to anybody who stands up and fights for it. That’s something I wanted to write about, too. About extreme conditions, extreme need making even an outcast into a hero.

Wish me luck with it.

Review: Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

I really, really enjoyed this book. The editing is far from perfect in some spots, but the adventure is really, REALLY fun. I mean, it gets Indiana Jones-y. At times it’s also quite creepy in a very fun way. The Indian backdrop is amazing the culture, food, and temples so richly described that this is a fabulous get-away book. Really feels like a vacation. Kelsey is a bit silly (she exclaims way too much, at least at the beginning) and you want to slap her upside the head for refusing Ren so much, but she makes up for it with her last goodbye to him, which shows surprising wisdom…. surprising because she’s acted like such a GIRL about it the whole time. Ren’s pretty dreamy. Though he gets a little ridiculous too, when Kelsey’s being pouty.

What I love about this, though, is that Kelsey doesn’t just fall into Ren’s arms—even if they are muscular and attached to a very, very pretty face. She wants to be chosen… not just the only option. And again, I really loved the adventure aspect of this book. It was more fun than any YA book I’d read in a long time—no angsty dystopia or mooning, but well-paced action through a well-researched (really well-researched!) exotic setting. Fantastic. I have never wanted to go to India more, and that’s something great fiction should do, entice you outside of your comfort zone. Brava.

Really looking forward to where Houck is going with this. I don’t know that I would have had the courage (or the foolhardiness, depending on how you look at it) to go the indie route, but it’s obviously paid off for her! I’d like to read more about her story, and I can’t wait to read Tiger’s Quest. Especially if it has more Kishan in it… what? I love an underdog. Er… cat.

A is for Älvor by Laura Bingham

Today is the first day of the monstrous A-Z blogfest, and it just happens that today I finished a book that starts with the letter A, so here we go!

Älvor is the story of Erin and Bain, twin siblings who discover a mystical cabin in the woods near their home. After a little investigation, and a few interesting encounters, they learn that they are to train to become alvs, or elves. After training, they are inducted into a magical world and a whole new community, but they aren’t there long before Bain goes off on his own, and it’s up to Erin to track him down.

This book has some great aspects to it: I could certainly see everything that was going on, and in a fantasy novel, that’s not always true with me. Secondly, aspects of it were quite original, or at least turned on their head in an interesting way. Erin and Bain were both interesting characters, and most people could probably relate to one or the other of them.

That said, there are a lot of things here that could have used some more work. In fact, something that kept running through my mind as I was reading was how I’ve heard a lot of agents and authors say that in order to get published, you should write a whole novel from beginning to end, then put it in a drawer and write a new one, and likely the second one will be better, because you’ve learned the process already and aren’t grasping around for it like you do in your first. Then sell that book. And then, if you want to, go back to the first novel and fix it up and work on it again.

Obviously that isn’t true for all writers, but I felt like maybe Älvor could have benefited by this advice, or at least from a few more beta readers. There were a lot of places that just didn’t quite hit the mark like they should have, or more to the point, could have. This book had a lot of potential, but I feel it was underwritten. There was a lot of telling rather than showing, a lot of info-dumping that could have been related through actually going through the scenes, instead of summing them up later, and in general it felt a little rushed, like the author was taking the easy route and handing ability over to her characters, instead of having them earn it.

My main concern with the novel, though, are Erin and Bain themselves. They were meant to be fifteen years old, turning sixteen in the course of the novel, but they were written much younger, to where I was imagining them being twelve or thirteen, at most. Once in a while a comment would be thrown in that reflected the ages they were supposed to be, and I was completely jarred out of the story for a second. I had two versions of Erin and Bain in my head—the younger ones, who read like their own age, and the older versions, who I forced my imagination to come up with.

I was also a little disappointed with the kids themselves. Erin had the potential to become quite the hero in this story, but instead she spends a whole month being heartbroken and feeling like she’s nothing because her brother left her—this is as bad as Bella going catatonic just because her boyfriend broke up with her. Not the best message to send to kids. I wanted Erin to realize that she could be her own person and that she could save Bain because he needed to be saved, but instead she wasn’t even particularly worried about her brother—just selfishly wanted him back, as she says herself.

I… don’t know what to do with that. I can’t understand anyone losing all contact with a close family member for an entire month or more without worrying even a little bit what might have happened to them. Even when Erin does move forward with looking for her brother, also, 95% of it is done by others and handed to her. She falls for another elf named Joel that becomes her friend, when really all we get about him that’s anything at all attractive is—that he’s attractive. In their first encounter Erin is bored with him, and there’s nothing to talk about until she admits she wants to find Bain—then that is all they talk about. Suddenly Erin is blushing around him and being self-conscious, but why would she, if they have nothing in common, something she also said herself?

Joel is helpful, though, certainly. He knows the ins and outs of the elf world, and is able to like I said, hand information to Erin on a plate. Joel doesn’t even do most of the work himself, there are mysterious, amorphous groups of techie elves that belong to the community that do the work for them.

Really, I think this book played it safe in a lot of ways, ways that robbed the book of being as strong as it could be. Middle-grade readers would probably enjoy the book, but I didn’t very much. The sequel comes out in just a few days, but I don’t know that I’ll be going to track it down… still, I wish the author the very best.

Writing bumps (and successes!)

Sometimes writing feels like walking in the dark down a bumpy road. I’ve had a lot of bumps in my writing the past few months, mostly in the form of minor freak-outs that I just can’t cut it. I’ve been lucky, though, that I always have someone waiting to listen to me as I worry, and miraculously a lot of my worries have been followed immediately by a light clicking on, and my being able to see that much further of my path.

What do I mean? Well, I’ll tell you.

Firstly, I had a BIG block on Jethro… I’m talking about a month and a half’s worth of block. I knew who my bad guy was, I could see him, I just didn’t know how to get him to find out about my characters… and how can he hunt them down, if he can’t find out about them?

I avoided this block for a long time. I basically didn’t even open my manuscript because until I knew how to connect point A to point B (or more like point Q to point R, in relation to the story) I was sure I couldn’t get anywhere else. I was in California living with my sister at the time, and she basically called an intervention, worried that I wasn’t doing any writing, which I was specifically there to do. I flipped out on her pretty much, spilling all over to her about my seemingly impossible situation. Then after talking through the complexities of it to her and virtually draining myself of anything I could even think on the subject, the answer popped into my head a few days later. And it was the simplest thing in the world. So obvious, in fact, that I was really tempted to knock my head against a wall like they do in movies sometimes. (Movies? TV shows? Does anyone ever do this anymore?) (Maybe I should say, I literally wanted to headdesk.)

I had a similar freak-out on my Secret Project. I was worried that the middle wasn’t exciting enough, and there was a lot of middle. A part of me thought that this was going to have to be the story I shelved for years and years until I was “good enough” to write it. I talked to Isabelle Santiago about this one, and she assured me that what I had was good, that I already knew what I needed, just like I had before, and that this was a story that needs to be out in the public. (It’s so nice to have a friend who fangirls your WIP unabashedly.)

Starting in January I joined a critique group through Authors Incognito, a group of LDS writers (that’s writers who are LDS, not necessarily writers who write LDS books)(and yes, I’m LDS too). I’ve been having the chapters of Jethro critiqued—so far just the first chapters of Jethro, the ones which flowed like water onto the screen that I’d thought were so good. I’ve gotten them back torn up and abused, with red ink all over them… and then I had another freak-out, this time needing both my husband and Isabelle’s assurance that firstly, Jethro was good, and secondly, this is a first draft… all the little things get fixed in the editing, which is way more fun than writing. (Would you have ever believed that back when you were in school? I sure wouldn’t have.)

Part of me wanted to run into a corner and hide, and bury my poor little manuscript under a shroud of anonymity so that it would never be critiqued again. But most of me was starting to realize, yeah, these are things I need to address in my writing. I have good, gripping prose in me, I know I do… but maybe I don’t have it in my first drafts, and that’s okay, so long as it’s in there by the end.

My latest flip-out experience was also Jethro, and it was just the other night. I’d been reading a bunch of blog posts about writing the book from the right character, and even though Jethro is really an ensemble piece, suddenly I was terrified that the character I’d chosen as the “main” was wrong. And I’m talking about thinking  this nineteen and a half chapters into writing it. One of my secondary characters just sparkles so much more, and I know she has some serious demons that’ll be in her path very, very soon, and I thought maybe the character I’d picked just couldn’t hack it, couldn’t carry a full-length novel that would keep teens and adults reading.

This was maybe my biggest heart-attack yet. How could I have so misjudged? How could I have gotten it all so mixed up?

But then logic kicked in… the character I’d chosen had to be right. Considering who she was, what her personal history was, there was no way she was wrong. She was the one. The only one who could tell the story as a hero. Well, maybe one of two… but that’s a bit of a secret.

Still, this presented me with a problem. Luckily, this problem also turned out to be a solution. You see, I knew the answer to this question, too. The question being, “How to make my main character be more exciting,” or more to the point, “How to torture my main character just a bit more?” I knew because it was already in an earlier version of this story, but it was something I’d thrown out because I’d wanted to involve another character in that story arc, a character that it was vital to the plot that she be involved.

So again, I panicked a little bit. I had 1+1+1, and I needed it to equal 2, because in this case, 3 just wouldn’t cut it. 3 would be preposterous.

I ranted at my husband about this problem for a few minutes, but he was working on other things and I was talking too fast to really understand probably, anyhow. In this instance, I pulled out my trusty notepad and just started scribbling. I basically did a web-diagram, in the messiest, fastest cursive that I can claim.

And you know what? My problem worked itself out. In a way that not only was simple and logical, but that actually solved another little problem I’d had with my plot, and had me feeling like standing up and cheering for my characters, because they’d just proved to me how awesome they really could be. I jumped from that to writing almost a full scene, only stopping because it was late and I was bone-tired.

The one other bump I’ve had recently had nothing to do with writer’s block, but more with my laptop charger, which died on me unexpectedly about a week ago. Without a charger, my laptop turned into a big ole’ paperweight for a few days, and stealing time on my husband’s desktop wasn’t fully cutting it. I got my new shiny charger in the mail from Amazon the day before yesterday, though, and while I was out pretty much most of the day yesterday, I got on today to find that Jethro had actually crossed 40K while I wasn’t looking. I’m excited! Secret Project has over 55K, but not in a solid, chronological block like Jethro. I can’t say this is the longest thing I’ve ever written (I was a fanficcer, once upon a time… ssh… it’s a secret!) but it’s the longest I’ve had of a wholly original story.

Success suddenly seems a lot closer in hand than it ever has before.

(And hey, while I’m here, check out my contribution to The Hollow Tree today. We post free reads there every Friday, don’t forget!)