writing

Nightmares

I just woke up from a horrible nightmare. I haven’t had one so horribly disturbing in a very long time.

Now it’s 5:30am on a Sunday and I can’t sleep.

Hmm. This might be great fodder for a horror website’s new short fiction contest….

Isn’t it great to be a writer?

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Book Review: The Raven, by Sylvain Reynard

The Raven

By Sylvain Reynard

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

Review by Sarabeth Pollock

 

When the sun goes down in Florence, the Prince of Florence awakens.

In Sylvain Reynard’s novella The Prince, we met the mysterious Prince of Florence.  Now in The Raven we learn more about the mysterious Prince and we also meet a woman who captivates him in a most unexpected way.

It’s May of 2013 and the Prince of Florence has just retrieved his prized collection of illustrations from the Uffizi Gallery.  They’re not copies, as Professor Gabriel Emerson believes.  They’re original drawings by Sandro Botticelli, and they had been stolen over a century prior.  But just as the Prince is about to celebrate, he hears a woman’s screams and he smells blood.  The vampyre rushes off to make sure he’s the first one to find her.

Raven Wood is an art restorer at the Uffizi Gallery.  On this night she’s walking home from a party when everything changes.   A week goes by that she can’t remember.  Raven wakes up and is literally a completely different person on the outside.  She also discovers that the Uffizi has been robbed, and she’s at the top of the suspect list.  It isn’t helping things that her disability no longer exists and she looks like a completely different person.

In the meantime, the Emerson Family-Professor Gabriel Emerson, wife Julianne, and daughter Clare-have arrived in Florence as the police search for clues in the robbery.  Little do they know, they’re being watched by a dark presence who presides over Florence when the sun goes down.

The Raven is a departure from the paranormal romance genre in that while the love story between Raven and the Prince (whose true identity is revealed in the book) is a large part of the plot, there are many other elements that come to the fore.  Salvation, hope, redemption, faith…these all play a central role in the story.  There’s also the political system at work in the vampyre world; the Prince of Florence reigns over the Consilium, a council of vampyre elders who serve their Prince much like a presidential cabinet.  There are rumors of hostility from neighboring provinces that keep the Prince in a state of constant vigilance, and when he finds himself falling for Raven, he knows that she will always be a target among his kind.  However, the Prince finds that his Cassita is worth fighting for.

The best thing about having my own blog is that when I write a review, I can say whatever I like.  Normally I try to stay as objective as possible.  But not today.  I love this book.  This book appeals to me on so many levels.  I love the characters, I love the story, and I love how the story is woven within the history of Florence to such an extent that Florence herself has become a central character.  Sylvain Reynard’s writing is magical that way. I’m not even sure that paranormal romance is a suitable descriptor for this new series.  It’s literary fiction, with a splash of paranormal romance, intermingled with historical fiction.  The lush prose and vivid imagery are utterly captivating.  The only real comparisons I can draw to other authors in the genre who write with such attention to detail are Anne Rice and Deborah Harkness.  I have spent the past weeks imagining the Prince and Raven and wondering what will happen next.  It isn’t often that characters capture my imagination so thoroughly, but Raven and the Prince have.

I am eager to see what Sylvain Reynard has in store for his Florentine Series.

 

Click here to read Part One of my interview with Sylvain Reynard

Click here to read Part Two of my interview with Sylvain Reynard

Click here to buy The Raven

Click here to buy The Prince

Support Author AJ Linn and Buy His Books

I’ve written about my friend AJ Linn before. He’s a guy who had a blog, then he started writing a book. Three books later and now he’s working on his fourth novel. Four books. The guy is a machine.

I’m shamelessly plugging the fact that Mr. Linn put his books on sale over at Smashwords (here is a direct link) and if you haven’t checked out his Gentleman’s Series yet, you should give it a shot.

It isn’t often that we get a romance series written by a man from the male perspective.  AJ Linn has done just that, and he brings a fresh voice to the genre with his hero and protagonist, Donovan Hart. Throughout the three novels (A Gentleman’s Affair, A Gentleman’s Secret and A Gentleman’s Memoir) Donovan tells the story of his very personal quest to find true love, including all of the hits and misses he suffers along the way.

Not only is it fun to check out a new series, but it feels great supporting a self-published writer who is doing everything on his own. 

I highly recommend the Gentleman’s Series. But hurry over to Smashwords–this sale won’t last forever!!

Writing Reviews and Recaps

I love writing.  I love all kinds of writing, from quick blog posts to short descriptions for an ad, to novel and short stories, poems, reflections, reviews and recaps.

Writing recaps is a fun challenge. If I don’t have an advance screener of a show, I try to challenge myself to write the recap as quickly as possible, while the show is airing. It’s tricky, but possible.  This is when you really notice dialogue versus action scenes. The Walking Dead is much easier than Doctor Who because there is more action and less talking.

With reviews, the challenge comes in not giving away too much of the plot while also giving the reader enough of an idea about the plot to lead him to buy a copy himself. Spoiler-free reviews are tricky, but coveted. (Though I do see requests for spoilers every now and then from people who know they won’t read the book but want to know what happens)

Writing reviews is like doing book reports over and over again, except now I’m doing it for the joy of it, and not because I’m in school.

I do recall a time in 5th grade when writing a book report on a book we got to choose on our own. I chose a novelization of Back to the Future II. It took me a long time to write, and eventually I realized I was doing way too much summary.  In retrospect, this was my first recap. It only goes to show that I was born to be a writer!

Writing. A Lot.

Life has a funny way of sorting itself out.  It really does.  Call it fate, cosmic coincidence, or divine intervention.  Whatever you call it, it works.

I needed more time to write, and suddenly the sea parted and the time appeared.  (So, too, did several new clients, which is both fantastic and time consuming–but no complaints here!)  With my new time and schedule, I have spent every morning this week working with clients and then writing during a three hours gap.  This schedule will change next week, as I’m sure it will do for the remainder of the semester, but the great thing is that I’ve had a chance to enjoy the time and to see how helpful it is to have it.

There will always be interruptions.  Last night I was being called upon to run a late-night errand, and as I was leaving I was also frantically trying to capture an idea in my notebook.  But in the end both tasks were accomplished.  I ran the errand and I finished the thought. (Of course, I still need to finish said thought in the article I’m currently working on today, but…c’est la vie)

So…I’m writing.  I’m writing.  There is nothing else I’d rather be doing right now. And it feels great.

Writing with Someone Else’s Voice

Have you ever been asked to wrote something for someone else? I’m not talking about writing fiction and moving between different characters. I’m talking about producing a piece of writing with someone else’s voice and tone.

I’ve written letters of recommendation for bosses before. Those are relatively easy because generally they follow a pattern.

I’m trying to come up with content for a friend’s website. It needs to include information about events and recaps of shows.  She’s a comedian.  And since she’s a comedian she wants everything to sound like her. 

I’m not a comedian.  I dropped out of comedy school because as Freud would say, I’m too anal retentive.  (Ironically, I was a valedictorian and I’ve never dropped out of anything)  So writing content in her voice is an interesting challenge.

However, I feel like it’s a good experience and it will broaden my horizons and all that jazz.

So…(insert humor here)

Discipline and Writing: One of Many Resolutions for 2015

One of my resolutions for 2015 is to write more.  This is a huge goal because I have to do a ton of writing. A ton. No, seriously, a ton.

In addition to working on my nonfiction education book (for my business), I need to write more for my professional blog, my personal blog, a blog I write for a friend’s comedy show, various articles I publish, recaps and articles for DarkMediaOnline.com, and personal writing (including the novels I’ve been writing for years now).  Some of it overlaps, but most of it is 100% fresh and unique.

In sum, it’s a ton of writing on a regular basis.

To get it all done, I need discipline.  I need to focus on whatever I’m working on and not let myself become distracted by other things.

Of course, it’s easier said than done…but it’s still early in 2015. I have high hopes 🙂