Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekends, UGH!

The weekend has finally arrived and I've looked forward to it all during the work week. That's the problem, though, the weekend has arrived and there's no more work week for two whole days.

Why do I call it a problem? For the same reason that kids complain but actually prefer their parents to enforce the rules. I need structure. We all need structure, and I don't mean the kind where every waking hour -- and a few of the sleeping ones -- on the weekend given over to filling the time with as many errands and chores and social engagements as possible, so as not to have to feel guilty about taking time off during the weekend. It's what I always called planning the fun out of life when I was married.

My ex-husband was one of those people who scheduled everything, including his bowel movements, same time every day. If he didn't have his morning bathroom time at the right time, his whole day, and thus his schedule, was thrown off and he was a real bear until he got back on track.

I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants gal, in writing as in life, and I resent being told what to do and when to do it. I don't mind agreeing to a specific deadline or schedule, as long as I have some input in the process. I don't respond well to orders or demands, and don't even hit me with an ultimatum. That smile on my lips is not a good thing. Trust me. It is a promise of bad things to come.

And yet here I am complaining about the weekend when all I need to do is read, write, and loll about for two whole days. It's exhausting when you get right down to it and I just discovered I almost look forward to the work week so I know there will be a rhyme and reason to the daylight hours, and the nighttime, too. I can -- and often do -- get the urge to blow off work and loll around reading, writing, and sleeping on occasion, but that's only because I get burned out. But being forced (there's that word again) to loll around reading, writing, and sleeping is something else again.

Maybe it's not the lack of structure that bothers me but the idea that now I have to lollygag, as my grandmother would say, about. Yeah, that's it.

Okay, it doesn't make sense, but I don't have to make sense. I'm a writer. It's in the rules.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Review: The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan | JM Cornwell | Blog Post | Red Room

A stunning tale that turns the genre on its head despite literary contortions and acrobatics.

Jacob Marlowe has been a werewolf for one hundred sixty-seven years (a fact he keeps repeating throughout the book) and is about two hundred years old. He has made his mark, accumulated a vast fortune, and has no wish to continue the allotted four hundred years of a werewolf’s life. Marlowe knows the Hunt has killed the rest of his kind. He is the last and he is ready to return to the site of his creation and welcome the Hunters. His friend and familiar, Harley, wants Marlowe to go on living and Marlowe simply wants out. There is nothing left to live for and life feels pointless.

Grainer, the lead Hunter, plans to take Marlowe out personally. Marlowe killed Grainer’s father many years ago and both are ready for the showdown of their lives.

The vampires want Marlowe as well and it will be a race to the finish to see who wins the prize in the end. The difference between vampires and werewolves is all about language. Vampires speak and read and werewolves do neither, except for Jacob Marlowe.

As in The Last Werewolf, Marlowe and Glen Duncan share the same problem, too many words. Add several different writing techniques—lack of punctuation, run-on sentences, stream of consciousness, literary acrobatics—and the result is a mish-mash of styles in an episodic tale that takes a considerable amount of time getting to the point. Duncan’s writing is at times pompous and overwrought as he flexes his literary muscles, much like a bodybuilder posing in front of a mirror.

I considered tossing the book a few times, but Duncan surprised me by throwing a curve and I was off again chasing Marlowe and trying to figure out who was playing whom. As frustrating as the writing is at times, Duncan tells a compelling story and, when he sinks his teeth into it, does so with breathtaking speed.

The Last Werewolf takes the mythology of lycanthropy, throws in vampires, who loathe werewolves as much as werewolves loathe them, becoming physically sick in each other's presence, but need them to conquer their last frontier. The result is an exercise in planned obsolescence and science that fuels a race to the finish, leaving an ending that offers a satisfying sense of hope and promise. Duncan uses the werewolf mythology to good effect, penning a stand-out novel in an overflowing genre rife with copycats and the same-old, same-old.

Monday, September 05, 2011

It's Live

It's not often I get a chance to plug my book, so please forgive me if I plug mine.

Among Women just went live at David Wisehart's Kindle site. Take a look.

Much of what goes on in jails has been sensationalized for movies, television, and novels. What really happens is very different. Orleans Parish prison in New Orleans is jail, despite the name, and Pearl Caldwell was incarcerated there for six weeks, six interminable weeks when she didn't know how long she'd be there or when she'd get to see a judge or a lawyer. Among Women is the story of those six weeks and what led up to being jailed. It is also the story of how Pearl's eyes were opened and her views changed of the kinds of people who end up in jail.

She began writing as a way to maintain her sanity, but became a confidante, a modern Scheherazade, who wrote down the stories of the women she met and came to know. The long hours, the injustices, the tales of the women are woven in and around the core of Pearl's experiences. It's not an easy story, but it one that at last can be told.

The time is late December 1984. The place is New Orleans. The story is Pearl's and the women of Orleans Parish Prison.

Among Women is available at all bookstores in print and ebook. Also available at Smashwords in all ebook formats. Check it out. You'll be enlightened if you do.