Let me begin by saying Happy Father’s Day. Today is what you make of it, and whether you’re a dad or father, today is also a representation of how you’re perceived by those that look up to you. So make the best of it, and may your love and honor of those that love you echo resoundingly.
Now to the meat of what I want to share – stories. As a writer, I spend a lot of time in my mind and doing research. Of course, that’s when I’m not actually writing, which happens to be almost all the time. Well, not so much the past two months.
See, I’ve recently been chilling and reading. Chilling, because I think it was time to. I’ve seen authors put up numbers and I’d like to share some myself. 165k, 148k, 201k, 101k, 110k, 105k, 112k, 80k, 175k, 92k, 144k, and finally, 125k. How’s that for word count? That’s over the past two years too. One would think that I’d be burned out by now. Nope. I ain’t hardly tired. As a matter of fact, I have to edit all that stuff. And I’m seriously looking forward to it.
Nonetheless, lately I’ve been chilling and reading stuff that has taken hold of my imagination in the most fantastical way.
First up is ‘Livian,’ by Michelle Picarella. You won’t get any spoilers here, by the way. Anyway, ‘Livian’ is a high fantasy tale about growth and a young girl’s development. Michelle’s crafty design of the tale is so clear that the words flew by and I wasn’t able to savor each page long enough. Additionally, the way she wrote the story leaves no question unanswered, no stone unturned, and I literally felt for the character’s well-being from the very first page. Humph! And she calls herself a newbie. Yeah right.
Michelle is talented, witty, and a joy to talk to as well. She also developed the idea for ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ anthology. (#7DS on Twitter) An idea that pulled me, Phlegyas-The mind Juggler, Dawn Kirby, Stephen Penner, Tymothy Longoria, and Vickie Adair together. As our team leader, and writer of Sloth, Michelle also turns out to be quite the business mind too. She’s definitely a treasure. One I’m proud to call a friend.
Next up is Jennifer Wylie’s ‘Sweet Light.’ If I’d seen the book on a shelf at the store, I would have passed on it. That’s the truth. But luck prevailed. I met Jennifer at Chicago’s Printer’s Row Literary Festival a couple of weeks ago and found her to be a totally enthralling person. She’s modest, kind, sincere, and has a terrifically warm smile. Moving on, Jennifer doubted that ‘Sweet Light’ would be my kind of story after I told her about the type of stuff I write. Though I agreed with her at the time, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Well, I bought ‘Sweet Light’ and read it. Holy crap! There isn’t a page in the book I didn’t find interesting. From the main character’s decisions and emotive actions, I found myself pulled along at a comfortable pace, learning so much about the main character. Then, when I figured I had it all worked out, the story that is, Jennifer broke my heart and made me feel good about it in the process. Being a man, I didn’t cry. Instead, I wanted to kick somebody’s butt for what happened to my favorite character, but I kept reading with higher hopes. Lo-and-behold, Jennifer made sure my hope prevailed. Nope. I didn’t cry then either. Neither had I figured out the story. Jennifer Wylie ensures that the reader doesn’t get too low, while taking them on a fun high otherwise. And in the end, she made me feel good. Oh yeah, she signed my book too. I’m just lucky like that.
Third is my good friend, Dawn Kirby’s ‘Consequences.’ It’s the fourth book in her ‘Secrets Series.’ Wow! Now here’s a storyline that will drive you, the reader. I’ve followed Dawn’s characters from the initial book and I feel like I know them personally. Some I abhor completely and other are as endearing as Dawn is herself. She writes these stories so well. Dawn, seamlessly, plunks the reader down in the middle of the urban fantasy realm with her characters. It’s nothing short of a pleasure when she gives me something new to read.
I could use a lot of words to say how great Dawn is. However, Dawn as a person and writer, those words would fall short, in my estimation. She’s as good or as great as anyone, and immeasurable by mere words. Dawn Kirby is also my friend and someone I truly admire.
Finally there’s Sean Hayden. Expletiving expletive! This dude is hot! Sean’s book ‘Origins’ is what’s called a must read. The pages even turn themselves. What’s more, you only think you know Vampires. I know I did. Or thought I did, that is. Everything changed when I read ‘Origins.’ Sean didn’t try to reinvent the wheel with this offering. Instead, he tried something far more challenging. Sean may have changed the perspective of Vampire lore. ‘Origins’certainly worked for me, and I’m betting it’ll work for you too.
Sean’s muse is clearly original. Kinda like the title – ‘Origins’ – the beginning of a whole new way of seeing things that have always been there. If Sean doesn’t live in a world of Vamps and Shifters, he damn well ought to.
I also have a signed copy of ‘Origins.’ Yep. Lucky.
See, I met Sean along with Jennifer at the Literary Festival. I was pleased to find both of them to be exceptional people. As my luck would further have it, they treated me like a friend upon meeting me in person for the first time. I was so taken with them that I hope to develop personal friendships that’ll transcend the professional realm. Kinda like the relationships I share with Dawn and Michelle.
In closing, I want to reiterate that I’ve read four fantastic books during my chilling-time. I also know the writers of those books. In them and their stories, I’ve found relaxation, fun, a refreshed muse, and people whose careers I’ll eagerly watch. Thank you, Dawn, Jen, Michelle, and Sean. Thanks for being the coolest. #justsayin.