Camp NaNo

Happy April 1st, 2021

Welcome to the first day of Camp NaNo. As you can see the NaNo Rhino is hard at work on plotting plot or perhaps plot holes. I applaud you for taking the time and putting in the effort to make your story your own.

Now quit wasting time reading blog posts when you should be settling in to the cabins and getting those words flowing. Best of luck. May your words never flow faster than your pen can write or your fingers type.

Cheers, james

Anime: Ascendance of a Bookworm

How far would you go to have books in your life?

I stumbled across this anime this weekend. Okay, so the hubby saw it and pegged it as something I would enjoy. And he was right. I sailed through all 14 episodes currently available on Crunchyroll.

Premise: A woman wakes up as a young child in a strange world. She carries both her own memories of her previous life and the child’s memories. The world she left behind looked a lot like our world, books were easily obtained and read. However, in her new life, books are for the nobility and the church. To complicate matters further, her new body is sickly and ravaged by an unknown illness, when she gets upset or downhearted, she gets sick. All she dreams of is being able to read, write and hold her cherished books in her hand. This means figuring out a way to create paper and through paper, books. It is a long hard road. But along the way she helps out her new family, makes friends, and discovers that maybe this new life isn’t so bad after all.

If you a bookworm, an anime fan, or fantasy fan, this series hits all the right notes. I heartily recommend it and then I won’t be alone waiting for the next season to be released.  Cheers, james

Book Review: The Glass Spare

I picked up a book on Libby, my library’s ebook app, called The Glass Spare by Lauren Destefano. This book is fantasy meets steampunk meets weird. It is the debut novel of the author. There is supposed to be a second book. A duology vs a trilogy or series, interesting concept.

Anyway I had no expectation of book or author and I fell into the swing of her world pretty quickly. It was only when telephones, air ships, and cars popped up that I got jarred out of the story. That is where the steampunk comes in, otherwise it is firmly in the fantasy realm.

The premise aludes to the myth of King Midas and frequent mentions of a “golden king” that turned all he touched into gold until he died miserable. Anyway our heronine Wil is her father’s fourth child and only daughter. She is dark where her parents and sibs are fair haired and blue eyed. Her father keeps his children mostly away from the public eye. He set up a rumor that the princess is fair and away at school of some type. Yet that is the only mention of schools in the story. In reality her father is grooming her to be a spy and she is forever getting into scraps and fights on errands for him and her brother.

Wil is pretty well rounded if a little immature. However she is only 15, and several months away from turning 16. She was born with a strange birthmark, a pale line across her chest over her heart.

She finds out she had been cursed and her touch can turn the living into jewels. The only catch is she has to be excited/frightened. So after a terrible accident she is exiled from her home and she goes in search of a cure. She finds instead the prince of the rival kingdom and yeah well. There is kidnapping, fighting, and lots of complications. As the book ends we see Wil headed home to find out why someone would have cursed her. And if she doesn’t return there will be serious repercussions for everybody else.

Hope I have wet your interest in giving this book a shot. It is a fun read and twisty enough to keep your attention. Cheers, james

Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

O’night where to start? Nevernight is the title, however it also functions as a phenomon that occurs in this world. There are three suns that never truly set except once ever 3 or so years. Hence it is never night there. Our main character is the oldest child of a well connected family only dear old dad is hung for treason and mom and baby brother are shipped off to a horriffic nightmare of a prison. While Mia is taken on the condition she would be safe except she is to be drowned instead. Doublecrosses, and even triplecrosses are a theme throughout the book.

This where things get really interesting, you have two seperate yet linked together scenes going on when we meet Mia. She is remebering her first time with a lover and her first time killing.  Okay I was torn between huh and wtf. Things then start to smooth out and I stayed with it. We get to live through Mia’s story as she transforms from a scared little girl to a trained badass assassin for the Lady of Blessed Murder.

And I will leave you there in my description, this book is not Young Adult suitable for the sex and the violence. However it is very suitable for someone that enjoys fantasy. Mr. Kristoff is a wordsmith that makes you take another look at language and story telling. It is a deep and chewy filling satisfying read and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. 

Cheers, james

Book Review: Moth and Spark

Moth and Spark is the debut novel of author Ann Leonard. Published in 2014 it has been well recieved in both the fantasy and romance genres. However as a reader of both fantasy and romance, I place it firmly in the romance with fantasy attributes catagory. It is a nice hard back with stunning cover design. 

For a quick light read this is a decent book, however if you are expecting a hardcore fantasy novel with a dash of romance this isn’t it. The love story is the author’s prime focus for over half the book while she builds the plot quietly in the background. The last third of the book did not seem as well built as the previous chapters. There were certain loose ends that were too neatly tied up without the reader feeling there was more to it. 

I wanted to like this book and parts certainly amused me, however I felt there was certain elements missing from the story. According to the author’s website she wrote this as a stand alone novel. But she has been tossing about ideas for a sequel that would be placed years in the future. Perhaps when she writes her sequel the characters will shine a light on certain events from a hisorical context. I give this novel more points from a romance than fantasy because that is what it is. Magic and dragons do not a fantasy make when they are merely window dressing for the love story. 

Cheers on this Halloween evening, james

Writing Group

I read a post about the benefits or negatives of writing groups a couple days ago. I didn’t think much of then but it has been floating around since. I have thought about joining a local write group either online or in person. However, there isn’t a lot of stuff going on in my neck of the woods, but there seem to be quite a few aspiring writers around.

In fact a gentleman I know, has written and published a children’s series. His Bobby B books touch on growing up as a young black man and learning to make good decisions. He also goes into the schools and does several programs throughout the year. One of the newspaper writers is a published author and the former county library director’s husband published a math based sci-fi/fantasy novel. A young lady I met is interested in writting a memior type story about things she has learned. She inspired me because she felt she was to young to write and no one would take her seriously. I passed on some very valuable advice I got from somewhere. “The book you write at one age, will not be the same book you write two, five or twenty years later.” I kinda paraphrased but that is the main gist. And then there is me, a scribbler, a dabbler and a storymaker. At heart I believe words touch and empower our lives, but they can hurt and destroy too.

I think by setting up a writing group, and getting different people involved, ie the schools, the college, and community leaders something positive and good could come from it. Inspiring our children breathes fresh life into our future. We in the present need to look to and respect the elders that have come before, celebrating their acomplishments and strive to make sucess from their failure. All while keeping in mind our sucesses and failures will become the foundation our future rests upon. Writing, stories, memories connect us together. There is my two cents worth on writing groups.

Cheers, james