Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Out of the Woods

This is a post I wrote a while back.  I was looking back on my Facebook and found it, and thought it was pretty cool.

Do you ever look back at old writing and it feels like something someone else wrote?

After a long time, the princess made her own way out of the woods. Perhaps she no longer attracted the attentions of unicorns, and she had not worn flowers in her hair in a very long time. Her hair was not entirely red anymore and the wine in her basket for grandma was long gone. She carried her own pack, and knew that often, the heroes with the shiniest armour are the ones that can be trusted least. She knew how to handle wolves and never danced in fairy rings at night. She even knew that woodsman can sometimes come to your aid but more often than not, it's better to have an axe handy yourself.

When she made her way to the village she remembered as a girl, it was smaller, somehow, and there were heartsick memories lurking in shadowy corners. She ignored them and kept moving.

She didn't expect any fairy godmothers to help her. They were busy with their own lives, figuring out how to stop their wings from drooping, how to clean pumpkin carriages, or the best key for a song to get mice to sew little garmets for themselves. That sort of thing.

She found the house of her mother, long empty, cleaned it, chased fat dimpled spiders out of corners, lit a fire, mended curtains, cooked stews. A cat that had been living off the mice in the nearby woods took up a perch on her stoop, courteously ate rodents, sometimes leaving a bit of tail for the princess in payment for the scratches he deigned to let her give him.

If, sometimes, a young girl came to visit her, and they drank tea and talked of possible futures with handsome strangers and fate's change, if, sometimes, those young girls took away vials of hope and left a little money behind, well, that's small business for you. Time spent in dark woods with wolves and heroes will teach you a lot about fate, and futures, and the comforts of a small house with comfortable chairs.

But she never, ever, fed them gingerbread. That sort of thing only leads to trouble.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Orleans by Sherri Smith. Book Review.

Okay, so I'm going to exercise some dusty, rusty brain cells and write a book review.  Reciprocal reviewing and such seems to be important in the "Indy" book publishing game, so I need to get my game-face back on where that comes in.

I'll practice with a book I just finished, called Orleans by Sherri L. Smith.   The novel was shelved locally as YA, but I honestly think it's not really a YA novel.  Perhaps my definitions of that are outdated-- thinking of Nancy Drew and Tiger Eyes (a novel, frankly, that doesn't work for my definition of YA either, come to think of it, anymore... I should probably revisit this idea at a later date.  I'm sure it has something to do with Maia's impending tween-ness and is a deep seated issue of my own).

It is a novel that one could call post-apocalyptic, but isn't really.  It's more a "post-really bad time" period. New Orleans and parts of the deep South coastal region have been decimated by a series of terrible hurricanes, disease, and are "walled" off from the rest of the country.

Our protagonist, Fen, a 20something woman, struggles with the responsibility of saving/rescuing/delivering the infant child of a friend.  There are a series of small quests and a larger quest within the story, and a few interesting twists and betrayals that I actually did not see coming.  (Well, to be fair, I saw one of them coming and missed one of them).

The novel has an interesting vibe-- rich descriptions of a New Orleans in a state of decay but still living up to some of what makes it the city it is now.  The patois/slang that the characters of the "Tribes" have developed, the experience of multi-racial groups bound together by a new "type" of living, the strength of Fen's character.  All of these are pluses, and make for a quick read.

The only thing I would probably critique would be a nit-picky detail of trying to figure out exactly how much of the South and the area are walled off.  I didn't get a good feeling for why New Orleans was singled out when so much of the South would have been also affected by the storms and disease that the author imagines.  I couldn't exactly tell if the "wall" was simply around New Orleans city limits or the entire South Gulf Coast region or what.  Some geographical grounding might have helped me, but that also could be because I'm from the area and just wanted more detail.  I really enjoyed it that the author set one of these kinds of novels in the South, and in a city that would be full of contradiction as New Orleans is ripe to be in this scenario.  She does much of it justice, I think.

Overall, an interesting read, and I highly recommend it.  I think I'll create a rating system of Dabbles:  I give it three days of dabble time.  (For how long it both held my attention and how long, in the spurts of time I find here and there to read it, it took me to read.)

I'm not sure my system is going to work because I'm not sure I can quantify it properly.  Let's just say this is a Yes book.  Go read it.  If you're a fan of dystopian Sci-Fi, gritty "almost" reality, speculative climate mysteries, YA novels like those of the Hunger Games and Divergent series, you should like this novel.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

First Post!

This will be where I'll blog the stuff I'm working on, news, book tours, giveaways, etc.  Bloggity goodness!