Storming – a review

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Time for another review – Storming by K.M. Weiland – the third novel from a writer whose website is a mine of writing gems. Her fiction writing certainly demonstrates all the craft that she mentors on her website. So on to the review:

Storming lives up to the blurb that inspired me, “Cocky, funny, and full of heart, Storming is a jaunty historical/dieselpunk mash-up that combines rip-roaring adventure and small-town charm with the thrill of futuristic possibilities.”

I was hooked from the opening, when a young woman falls from the clouds in front of Hitch Hitchcock’s biplane. Hitch is a pilot protagonist who has run away from his past, but now has to face it head-on as he tries to “save his Nebraska hometown from storm-wielding sky pirates.”

The young woman, Jael is mysterious and spunky, and tied to the pirates, which is craftily revealed. I wanted Hitch and Jael to fall for each other, but nothing is ever so easy, especially in one of K.M Weiland’s novels. I gave up trying to suss out what was going to happen next – after getting caught out in her first novel, “Behold the Dawn” [another recommended read]. She knows exactly how to make the twists pay off.

All the characters are memorable, including the supporting cast – I could really visualise the Berringer brothers. The young boy Walter adds a strong thread that kept me on the edge of my Kindle as his story weaves throughout, and he adds to the exhilarating climax.

Having read a few ‘steampunk’ novels, I relished the sky pirates and their strange weather-controlling airship, and their unusual language. At first, Jael speaks only this language and a smattering of English words, adding to the mystery of her and her people. I sensed a Slavic origin, and have my own theories, but read the novel and form your own.

K.M Weiland has written yet another novel that demonstrates that she ‘practises what she preaches’.

 

 

 

Why read?

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It’s February 3rd and time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly post. I may be Insecure but I’m putting aside the whining and complaining – for a few days at least.

Today I want to be positive and talk about the benefits of reading from a writer’s point of view. And by that I don’t mean just reading what you write, although as writers we should to do that a few times from a reader’s perspective.

For now, I’m talking about other books, not just for the sheer pleasure but for the lessons that we can learn. We can learn what works and what doesn’t from both great reads that keep us hooked from the first sentence, and from those shockers that are an endless struggle. In each novel there should be at least one lesson – even if it’s ‘make sure you use an editor’ or ‘flowing words are like magic’.

So what have I learned over the decades?

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Roger Woddis in 1986 – photo by BG

When I started out on my writer’s journey, my writing tutor, the late great Roger Woddis said that my writing suffered from too much ‘purple prose’. The problem stemmed from my passion for “Lord of the Rings” and the style of J.R.R. Tolkien. I was trying to emulate him without understanding the way that he used language. However, over the decades and with many re-reads, I am learning to see the master at work. And as I read other writers, I see that a writer can effectively use beautiful language without obscuring the meaning.

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The current lesson is about ‘Multiple POVs’, which is relevant since my current WIP, “Storms Compass”, tells the stories of various characters struggling to survive after a mega solar storm devastates the Earth. My critique partner suggested that I look at how Steve Harrison handles multiple viewpoints in TimeStorm”. The POVs each have their own chapter with the character’s name as the title. Each one feeds into the evolving plot, which has me gripped – so a review will follow very soon.  There is a main POV character and the other POVs add to his story.

I could go on, giving examples from books that I have read, but I want to end by directing you to K.M. Weiland, a writer whose website is an invaluable resource, and includes many articles that refer to novels and movies as examples. For instance, I am working through my character’s arcs at present, and she gives some great examples – see: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/character-arcs-3/. This and other articles show the importance of reading other novels. The added bonus is that K.M Weiland writes novels in which she practices what she preaches, from her early novels Behold the Dawn and Dreamlander – both of which I enjoyed – to Storming, which is next on my To Read list.

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And beyond that I may be delving into the real classics like Machiavelli ‘s “The Prince” and the stories in “The Mabinogion“. We can all learn from the master storytellers of the past.

So read on dudes!

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group –https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

The awesome co-hosts for the February 3 posting of the IWSG are Allison Gammons,Tamara Narayan, Eva E. Solar, Rachel Pattison, and Ann V. Friend! 

 

Bring on the Revolution

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As there is no progress on the Idaho front, I am reverting to another aspect of my weekly Pick’N’Mix Theme – Books.

So we start with my review of the last book that I’ve read, T E Taylor’s Revolution Day.

Who can a revolutionary trust?

As an autocratic and repressive ruler hanging onto power after 37 years, Carlos Almanzor seems to have little choice as he tries to survive. The scenario that Tim Taylor paints so vividly echoes the real-life situations of so many abusers of power, and the downward spirals of many dictators. And the scheming of Carlos’ colleagues proves very Machiavellian – very appropriate since I won a copy of “The Prince” on the launch day of Tim’s engrossing novel.

In a way, I could relate being part-Chilean and having known both refugees from Pinochet and supporters of the Sandinista Revolution. The Latin flavour worked as well as the political elements, and through it all I had to root for Carlos’ estranged and imprisoned wife Juanita, as she reflected on the revolution and what could have been. In her character there were clever echoes of other imprisoned leaders that represent hope. Perhaps for liberty there is light at the end of the darkness.

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Peering into the Unknown

Since reading “Revolution Day”, I’ve scanned the bookshelves in my office and in my Kindle. Too many books to read, and I can’t stop buying more. For everyone that I finish, I buy three more.

The dilemma was resolved when I had an idea for a short story and began looking into the Viking foothold in Vinland. Having read an interview with author Heather Day Gilbert when God’s Daughter (Vikings of the New World Saga Book 1) was published, I’ve chosen that as my next foray.

There are other books that I’m reading or rather have on the go, like “The Welsh Gypsies” by A.O.H. Jarman and “Four Years on the Great Lakes, 1813-1816: The Journal of Lieutenant David Wingfield, Royal Navy” by Don Bamford, & Paul Carroll. But they are non-fiction research, so I dip in and out of them for my own writing. They will be on my desk for a few more months.

Have you read any of these books, even Machiavelli’s “The Prince”?