Ana Linden: Albatross

albatross

In her collection of stories Ana Linden refuses to have her characters see through rose colored glasses or have happily ever after futures.

Don’t expect extraordinary individuals, always able to make the world a better place, when they can hardly save themselves. This world is not one of untainted, selfless, righteous spiritual leaders either, just as it is not one devoid of violence, crime, pain or punishment.
https://analindenblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/albatross-the-big-day/

In Albatross, the opening story, Linden gives us an honest perspective of husband and wife regarding the staleness of their marriage.

Then there is the single woman’s paranoia and fears that accompany what it’s like to live alone after being robbed.

And the story about the affair. “The moment we met, we knew the week spent together would be one of those times so essentially shallow, that it can have nothing less than a profound effect on both of us.”

Ana Linden has the ability to surprise and at times shock. Her characters are often “running away from someone, something or running to catch them, him, whoever.”

Running away from memories and the past, Ana Linden’s stories challenge us to dig deeper where safety lies. Safety and home are recurring themes in these stories. In Freedom her character builds herself a home with an inheritance: It’s so fulfilling to have an endpoint in sight, after all this time.”

A second layer to these stories has to do with self-awareness. Not the fluffy kind but an honest awareness of the fear of losing one’s identity by getting too close. The kind that brings you to the scary heart of emotions and thoughts, of guilt and doubt. The kind that makes you feel uneasy and provides insightful (sometimes horrific) snippets of what goes on behind closed doors and minds.

Ana Linden writes with a certain innocence, breaks the rules and is at times obscure and experimental. Like her nameless characters she is unconventional in her writing. A writers’ writer, one might say.

Click here for an excerpt of Albatross.

 

Jacqui Murray: Born In A Treacherous Time

This post is part of Jacqui Murray’s book launch.

Jacqui Murray

 

Jacqui Murray took twenty years to write Born in A Treacherous Time. One might think that’s a long time but then the setting of her novel goes back 1.8 million years. Yikes!

Drawing from insights from various fields in paleo sciences and history the novel takes us into what survival and living everyday must have been like during this period in the hot, dry savannas of East Africa.

Lucy, whom you may remember from To Hunt a Sub  shows both ape like and human traits. She exhibits empathy, kinship, responsibility, inquisitiveness and tenderness. In her efforts to belong  into her new group Lucy confronts jealousy by the female members who disapprove of her going out to hunt. (Not a female thing to do).

The hunt plays a major role in this novel where Lucy – sometimes stalked by predators, sometimes herself the predator – encounters life and death situations. Murray excels at describing the different hunts and the rituals attached to them. I found these aspects of the novel to be very informative as well as adventurous.

Murray has a way of placing the reader right there in the jungle following Lucy in her will to survive. Right there with her in the climatic changes, witnessing man’s first weather forecaster. You are running/jogging/racing alongside Lucy. Learning how her group communicates. You admire her creativity and passion to solve problems and invent tools. Admire her knowledge of plants and their healing properties. You root for her. She is our pre-historic heroine!

We are far, far away from online shopping, walking on the moon, finding cures for diseases, building high-rises and even the invention of the wheel. Born in a Treacherous Time is a testament to the greatness and dominance of man against nature.

This is a novel which filled me with gratitude and respect for my ancestors and their resilience.  To somewhat quote Jacqui Murray in an interview with Tina Frisco:

Murray treats early man with majesty and nobility.

 

 

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Available at: Kindle US, Kindle UK, Kindle Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daffodils

Daffodils are my favorite flower. Last fall I planted dozens of daffodil bulbs at my family grave. Today, when I went to check on the daffodils I was delighted to find a host of golden daffodils lighting up the aisle.

I picked enough for a bouquet and left the rest behind for joy and beauty.

daffodils-e1526863346678.jpg

 

Here’s William Wordsworth’s famous poem on daffodils: 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Wishing you all a joyous weekend. 

 

Anneli Purchase: The Wind Weeps

The Wind Weeps ​

A romantic fishing tale​​​​​​​​​

Although knowing practically nothing about fishing, Andrea accidently finds herself in the hard-working sub-culture of commercial fishing. She painfully learns the ins and outs of fishing from preparing the boat for the season to the camaraderie within the fishing community and its inevitable human tensions.
The setting is exquisite, wild and beautiful and the author has the talent to create vivid, emotionally packed images.

Annel photo

photo source

In her attempts to redefine a life for herself Andrea is forced to face the complexities of her abuse and their devastating effects on her romantic relationships.
This is a story about survival: physical survival, moral survival and survival of the soul.

 

Anneli

The Wind Weeps, is a must-read for any woman who has been or is trying to get out of an abusive relationship. But it is also a man’s story as it involves the rugged world of commercial fishing on the gorgeous coast of British Columbia.

Click here for more details on Anneli Purchase’s books.

 

 

 

 

 

How To End With A Bang

To finish the novel is one trick, but to end your story is quite another. C. Patrick Schulze.

This was on one of the slides in a webinar I recently listened to.

The class was given by Dr. Barbara Henderson as one of the Penquin Random House Writers Academy Masterclasses in which she discussed aspects of writing a crime novel, including such topics as keeping the plot tight and how to end your novel with a bang.

Barbara Henderson

 

A good ending must feel right. Finish with a sentence that has impact and leaves your reader thinking. Make the ending satisfying to the reader. Satisfying the reader not just intellectually but emotionally.

 

If you’re interested in listening to the entire class here it is. It runs about 50 minutes. I picked up some good tips and found it to be an excellent reminder of what crime fiction is about. Many of the tips though can be applied to writing in general. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carrie Rubin’s Benjamin Oris

Benjamin Oris, Carrie Rubin’s protagonist in her latest medical thriller is a med student/construction type of hero. A sexy combination. No wonder women are attracted to him. He is your basic guy next door who wears boxers to bed, buys cheap ties and tends to have untrimmed stubble because his life is so chaotic that he hardly has time to shave. He is caught up in a web involving women, a Vodou curse that goes back two hundred years, a mysterious relationship with his mother and having his supervisor down his throat. To name a few of his problems. 

He’s easy to like.

The Bone Curse

The novel reads smoothly and there is a good level of palpable tension that increases throughout. Being a supernatural medical thriller the author does a great job creating a hospital environment and dwelling deep into Vodou curses. 

A believer of paranormal I am not. Neither is Carrie Rubin. Or her protagonist Ben Oris. But, as Carol Keen  points out in her review of The Bone Curse on Goodreads, it doesn’t matter.

It isn’t necessary for him (Ben Oris) to believe a curse has power or not. When others believe it, he is forced to take the curse seriously.

As Carrie Rubin does. Her usage of Haitian terms and her writing style ( “…, easing some of the heartache in the room.”) add charm to the novel. Before the opening of each chapter the author straightforwardly provides a date and time: Thursday, August 6, 10:00 A.M. This I found to be a very smart and efficient way for my distracted mind to keep track of the time span of the novel.

Although the ending was satisfying and all her loose ends were tightly tied, Carrie Rubin left the door open to a Book 2 with enough suspense to want to know how Oris’ relationship with the people he loves will develop. Including that of a disease detective in the Epidemic Intelligence Service.

The Bone Curse is available here

For more reviews on The Bone Curse:

https://jmmcdowell.com/2018/03/23/book-review-the-bone-curse/

https://writersite.org/category/book-review/

I won The Bone Curse in Carrie Rubin’s ARC Giveaway awhile back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free Online Crime Writing Course

How to write crime fiction

Just thought I’d pass this along:

Free Webinar on how to write a crime novel presented by The Writers’ Academy at Penguin-Random House.  Thursday March 29.

It sounds interesting. 

Here’s more info: 

http://www.course-enquiry.com/webmail/107002/360067594/c40d1da3646c3c2495bd94d88c24286b5b903de9a8966d1b7ddcab0276647878