The Butterchurn

Author Ren Garcia tries to answer the allusive question of where authors get their creativity:

Creativity is a very personal thing. Where a person draws inspiration from will differ. I suppose, for me, creativity is a result of everything I’ve ever seen, read, watched, smelt, tasted and felt. For those with a creative persuasion these things stay in your head; you dream and ponder about them. It’s also based in all the things you love, you’ve hated, been confused by, been afraid of … everything sort of stirred together over time like a vat of hot butter in the basin of your brain continuously churned, and then recycled into something sort of like what you’ve experienced, but different. Sometimes these images linger in my head for years, slowly evolving over time before I insert them into my books. Lt. Kilos was one such character. I saw her in my thoughts for a long time, initially a banana blonde, in a colonial uniform holding a gun. Eventually the rough-and-tumble lady from Tusck spilled out onto the page, though quite a bit different than what I’d dreamed of. Things always turn out different once you get to writing.

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Write About People, Not Race

As issues of race dominate the news, H.G. Ferguson writes in Playing the Race Card on how authors should approach this:

We should write about people, not race, regardless of genre, and avoid the stereotyping and, if I may be so bold, true racism that can occur when we do not…Three films speak to this question in a powerful way: Dances with Wolves (1990), Unconquered (1947), and The Last of the Mohicans (1992).

In Dances with Wolves we are treated to a presentation of “truth.” Every single Native person is portrayed as good…every single non-Native person apart from Dunbar and Stands with a Fist is depicted as either stupid, evil, or insane. This viewpoint, in a word, is a lie. Not all Native Americans of that era were good people, and not every non-Native person was evil. Why? Because people are people, and some are good and some are not. That is the truth.

In Unconquered, we get the opposite. Every single Native person in that film is a chimplike barbarian…The view of Natives in this film is horrible and, in a word, is also a lie. Native Americans were not monosyllabic murderous Neanderthals; some of them were quite eloquent and advocates of peace. That is the truth.

The Last of the Mohicans, however, gets it right. We are shown good Natives and bad Natives, good French and bad French, good English and bad English. Why? Because that is the truth.

People are people, regardless of their tongue, ethnic background and especially the shade of their epidermis…[Martin Luther King] spoke of his dream, of the day when every person in America would be judged not by the hue of their epidermis but by what they said and did — the content of their character.

The content of our characters should be no less. Our characters must be good or evil because of what they think, say and do, who they are, not their race.

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Turn Right, and Meet Me in the Lost World

In my review of travel adventure books, we have searched for Sheba and explorers of the New World. We have also disappeared into the jungles of Latin America on the trail of lost cities. Now we will return to uncovering the ancient world.

Mark Adams set a benchmark for travel adventure lit with his Turn Right at Machu Picchu. This fish-out-of-water follows the trail of legendary explorer Hiram Bingham who brought Machu Picchu, the hidden Inca mountain refuge, to the world’s attention. A perfect combination of Adams’ travails and history — every bit a page turner as a novel.

Adams followed this adventure up with Meet Me in Atlantis. Here he tries to hunt down the true experts of the legendary lost city, among a field known for, how should I put it, fringe thinkers. His hunt leads to many possibilities, and even though not as much adventuring as his first book, it is a refreshing change to the libraries full of bizarre Atlantis speculations.

Now we turn to David RobertsThe Lost World of the Old Ones where he continues his many years of hiking off-trail into the Southwest. Readers will be amazed at how much lies undiscovered and unknown about the civilizations that once populated these states. Roberts chronicles the politics, history and conflicting visions that have attempted to preserve the past — not always successfully. A fascinating and entertaining account that will remind people that United States has its own lost civilization still waiting for discovery


Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, artifacts, History, Native Americans, Prehistory | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Character Profile: Milena

Eigen 2 No other species approaches what man has done. While the dolphins were still swimming in the sea, man was building pyramids. When the monkeys still hid in the treetops, man was landing on the Moon. And yet it is said we have forgotten our full potential. In a age long past, man could see further. The veil was not so dark. What he could do became legend. What he saw became myth. There are those, however, who have remembered who they are and what exists around them.

Some have embraced the Light. Others, the Darkness.

I have walked among the ruins, seen the shades and fought the horrors that lurk in the shadows. I control life around me. The blades surge with power. A mother, a wife. A defender, a warrior. Loving, lethal.

I am Milena. An Arc Maiden. A Watcher. The Darkness will flee from me.

Among the Shadows, coming soon.

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Turn: America’s First Spies

Less and less on television holds my attention. Repetition, little creativity and stories that don’t go anywhere. And I’m always asking myself, “Isn’t there something else I could be doing?” So, halfway through last year’s television season, I gave up on what few shows I was watching. There was one big exception, Amazon’s excellent A Man in The High Castle. Now, another gem of a find, AMC’s Turn:

Spies. Revolutionaries. War.

Where can you get this on network tv?

Categories: History | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Awakening Strength

A new excerpt from Among the Shadows:

The wild men were too frenzied to notice or care that it was a woman who approached them at a steady pace. One, though, wondered why she didn’t look the least bit afraid, and why her eyes radiated in the fading light. Unfortunately, his fear didn’t overcome his momentum.

Kyra easily deflected the first blade and thrust the other katana into the man’s neck. She pulled it out and turned to block another. He at least made another swing before she wrestled the sword from him and slashed him with her second blade.

This all before the first attacker hit the ground.

Another ran at her, only to be pummeled into the ground by Scout. Two others were almost on him with their swords when they screamed in pain and hit the ground face first. Arrows stuck in their backs. Knights had chased the wildmen, wondering who fought them in the moonlight. A woman appeared out of the light.

“Are you another from the portal? Another Watcher?” They asked her, nervously eyeing the cat as it approached Kyra.

“I suppose I am.” She wiped the blades on the ground. “I came here looking for my mother. Saken took her, and I mean to take her back and show him my mother’s blades.”

“Saken is dead. Your mother saw to that. They left for the portal. That way, where the beast went. It is not far.”

“Come, Scout, this isn’t over.” Alice hadn’t strayed. Kyra mounted her and paused to catch her breath for but a moment. A terrible strength had been awakened in her.

She liked it and she didn’t.


The war begins later this month…

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Kat Bloodmayne is Tainted

Kat Bloodmayne has a secret. She has the power within her to use nature as a weapon. Problem is that she doesn’t know where the power came from or how to control it all that well. People around her are getting hurt, and worse now that she is being hunted for her power.

Hunted by someone she knows well, protected by a man who may not be on her side and running in a world where the darkness is far more sinister than she she could have imagined.

This is Morgan L. Busse‘s new book Tainted. Set in a dystopian steampunk world — think a Victorian world with airships where science and the old world clash and converge.

Also think fantasy with a bit of Frankenstein simmering in the background.

I was very impressed with Morgan’s new page turner. There have many repetitive attempts at dystopia in book and film, and many failures or not-quite-there steampunk attempts. Morgan doesn’t succumb to these pitfalls and creates an original story in a well-realized world. I could see this story playing out on the big screen and Morgan has certainly established herself as a storyteller to pay attention to.

And Kat Bloodmayne is not a heroine to be trifled with.

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7 Reasons Bookstores Rock

Haven’t had much time to post lately, but others have been making up for it: Nadine Brandes gives us 7 Reasons Bookstores Rock even in our internet age. Kat Heckenbach has fantastic 68 Book Marketing Ideas you cannot ignore. Finally, Aya and her readers share 51 Book Quotes for you to ponder.

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Goodreads – Get Reading

I’m in the process of updating my Goodreads page. Still more to do, but I know many of the writers and biblophiles out there are also on Goodreads. So click over to my Goodreads page and lets get linked up on the web’s top reading social media site. And if you aren’t on Goodreads, and are a book fanatic, what are you waiting for?

Categories: Books | Tags: , | 1 Comment

First-look: Among the Shadows

And now, a first-look excerpt from Among the Shadows:

The Righteous One unsheathed a blackened dagger that Solana swore had a subtle red glow. This wasn’t time to sit by like a distressed princess. These men had almost killed her and still intended to do so. No time like the present to stir things up a bit. Their drug had all but left her body as she drew the ripples of energy through her body to her fingertips. Dust began to spin on the floor beneath each hand, rising to them in a swirling column. Soon torrents of air tore through the doorway, forming a cyclone around her. Her hair whirled; her eyes burned green. One man tried to shoot as Solana approached them, but she sent the bullets back into his chest by blasts of air she commanded. Her opponents had never imagined such a terror as they shouted and cursed in their native tongue. They turned to run, but the vortexes of air she threw reached them first, lifting each off the ground and crushing them against the wall. Falling into a crumpled heap, they didn’t move.

Ethan attached an octagonal beacon to the wall and pressed a button on the device. A red light began to flash. He looked at the man on the floor. His breathing was labored. “A little something to hurry you on your way to the Dark One.”

The final moments of the Righteous One’s life were about to slip away. No inkling of remorse could be found in the dying man’s eyes, no longer veiled. In a final moment of clarity, he spoke carefully and slowly.

“The worst evil you can imagine is but a shadow of what lies conspiring, hidden and unseen, waiting patiently to emerge and spread its suffocating malice. I am nothing compared to what is to come.” His eyes froze, vacant and still, and the last breath left him

Darkness fled from the room.

“That was a bit disconcerting,” Solana said, with a shiver. The weight of oppression had vanished. A crossing through the veil.

Now Ethan was quiet; his gaze didn’t flinch from the vaguely outlined road. What he had done – what they had done – no doubt ran through his mind. In hers, it made her feel alive, but would it always? She could see that Ethan had been through so much more.

“Here it comes,” he said in a whisper.

Solana looked through the broken rear window of the truck. A streak of fire fell from above. An explosion reached into the sky and a rumble moved across the desert. Poetic justice it was.

No one could hide from the Light.

Among the Shadows breaks through the veil July 2016.

Categories: Books, Fiction, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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