Saturday, 4 January 2014

First crack at a ballad

Recently I've decided to incorporate a ballad into my novel. Without context it's a little strange for sure, but it's my first crack at writing one, so here we are:

The Ballad of Trekt

The world was full of wonder, something has gone amiss

You might think me a liar, but let me tell you this

Nothing is what it seems, we must find our way

Over the Ghastly Peaks, and into the red abyss


Rely not on what you see, and listen to me speak

If curiosity stirs you awake, I know of what you seek

It requires one to jump, and to give the clouds a kiss

Over the Ghastly Peaks, and into the red abyss


A queen without a head, a town without a death

A land without a ruler, taking its last breath

If you leave this land, these things you cannot miss

Over the Ghastly Peaks, and into the red abyss


Men without a pulse, that none can keep at bay

Creatures without a face, but much they have to say

Tread lightly or you’ll fail, to have much to reminisce

Over the Ghastly Peaks, and into the red abyss


If I could leave you one line, to remember my fellow man

It’s that Destiny chimes the bells, of only those who can

Hope to save this world, one so torn from bliss

Over the Ghastly Peaks, and into the red abyss
This ballad is what gets the motor running for my main troupe of characters, providing them clues on what lies ahead, and foreshadowing for the reader. It was pretty fun to dream up, and while it's not final, I am quite happy with it!
Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Cheers!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Back on the wagon with a novel update and a few short book reviews!

After a holidays full of boozin', a beautiful wedding, a few days of family and this awesome card game called Bang!, I'm finally back on the writing train - full steam ahead!

This blog and my novel are back on the go, and I'm proud to say I'm nearly eight chapters through my novel, and about 45,000 words. I've already reached that "novella" range, yet I'm only a third through my story. Should be interesting to see what makes the cut in the end :)

I've also been reading a few books as of late, except I have this horrible habit of reading a whole bunch at once. I have two on the go on iBooks, one in the washroom, and then my night shifts are comprised of listening to audiobooks in my snow plow. All in all it's a terribly confusing way to read/listen novels, but I've become pretty damn good at it. And my wife tells me I can't double task.

Here are a few of the books I've either finished reading, or are near finished reading.

The Lies of Locke Lamora - by Scott Lynch Rating: 9.5/10

This is the best fantasy novel I've read since the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It tells the tale of a misfit group of thieves that call themselves the Gentlemen Bastards, led by Locke Lamora. It is funny, tragic, and the character development is unmatched by anything else that I've ever read. You fall in love with these characters, especially the relationship between Locke and his close friend, Jean.

Red Seas Under Red Skies - by Scott Lynch Rating 8/10

The sequel to Lynch's first installment almost lived up to the first, but lacked a few of the key characters from The Lies of Locke Lamora that I fell in love with. Notably I missed Chains, the false priest who trained Locke and Jean in the art of thievery and survival on the streets. The addition of romantic interests would also appeal to some. Still a stellar book.

The Diary of a Frazzled Mother - by Julia Frazzleby Rating 7/10

A fellow winner in The Novelist Contest, Julia Frazzleby's compilation of the ongoings, trials and tribulations that her quirky family faces on a daily basis are simply hilarious. She is a fantastic writer, and has a funny bone that I am truly envious of. This usually isn't my genre, but it was on sale for $1.00 on Amazon and iBooks over the holidays, and I believe it still is. So pick it up, give it a read, and you won't regret it!

The Grapes of Wrath - by John Steinbeck Rating 8.5/10

An absolute classic, and I'm embarrassed to say this is my first time picking this up and giving it a go. Steinbeck's dialogue and symbolism are legendary. You fall in love with the Joad family, and the book makes you yearn for the rural life, but fear it at the same time. The chapters that diverge from the plotline and work like more of an epitaph on the state of the United States and the farmers during the Great Depression are probably my favourite parts of the book. He has inspired me to look at writing differently. To be creative, and to not be afraid to stray away from the plotline as long as what you have to say is worth saying. Everything Steinbeck has to say is worth saying, and I can only hope that some day I am half the writer he is.

Allegiant (Divergent series Book #3)- by Veronica Roth Rating 2/10

To put it bluntly, Veronica Roth completely shit the bed with the final installment of her widely successful Divergent series. It's too bad, because there is a reason she was so successful with her first two books. I fell in love with Tris, Four, and the rest of the cast in the first two books. They got me through some pretty rough days, living on my own without my wife in a hamlet of 300 people during the summer of 2012. Then she churns out this pile of donkey doo.

In truth, I didn't even finish it. I got through 200 pages, and just couldn't do it. Veronica's characters all of a sudden seem fake, and she ends each and every chapter with a passionate kiss or a bitchy fight between her two protagonists that seem altogether way too fake. And the new characters she introduces have no depth, no personality, and are thrown into the plot like a small twig into a set of giant, turning cogs - just another small hurdle that gets in the way but are otherwise pointless and ineffective. It's like she completely lost her inventive spirit, and decided to turn it into a facking romance novel when she found out Hollywood wanted to make a trilogy of movies. Well the Twilight fans will love it, but I for one am deeply disappointed.

It's too bad that my longest review had to be so negative, but there you have it. Easily the biggest flop of 2013 for me.


And there you have it, some quick reviews on a few choice books I've read over the past few months. If you've read any of them, or want to know more, feel free to leave a comment below, and I'll be happy to answer! :)