Wednesday, May 7, 2014

There It Is Again . . .

 . . . the ever-present description of "morning" (see all the other mentions here) This time I found it in Tucker by Louis L'Amour.

Twice during the endless night I woke up, once from the pain of my wound, another time from the cold. I felt sick and very tired, and when morning came at last, a gray, dull morning with slanting rain and lowering clouds , my mouth was dry, my head ached, and when I tried to stand I was weak and dizzy. But I knew I must move. If I stayed where I was, in the state I was in, I would surely die.

L'Amour, Louis - Tucker

Not half bad as far as all the morning descriptions go. I think one day soon I will compile them all into one large post so I can compare them.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Those of you who read this blog often realize that not only am I firmly in the midst of a  first person point of view narrator reading binge (see here), but also I sometimes will throw a Louis L'Amour western just for kicks (here). Not only are they first person, but they offer a walk down memory lane for me, having read so many as a child. I was about to start a new Lee Child novel, for his Jack Reacher character so often reminds me of a L'Amour western (here), but I wanted to show Tucker (here) in first just to get in the right frame of mind.

WHEN I RODE up to the buffalo wallow pa was lying there with his leg broke and his horse gone.

L'Amour, Louis - Tucker

Short, sweet, to the point as far as first lines go. Not quite epic, but not bad either. Kinda what you expect to get from the rest of the book as well.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

All Out of Order

I just realized I got all out of order with that last book, McNally's Secret by Lawrence Sanders. I forgot to post the first line, and boy is it a doozey. So, to make up for that oversight, today I offer the following:

I POURED A FEW drops of an ’87 Mondavi Chardonnay into her navel and leaned down to slurp it out.

Sanders, Lawrence - McNally's Secret

Now I'm a fan of Sanders, so I was going to read on regardless of the first line. But for non-fans I would imagine this would be the type of line to make a fellow read on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Expected Melancholiness

Count on a melancholy ending when you read a Lawrence Sander's novel. McNally's Secret is no different. This novel ends with this:

We finished our margaritas. I signed the tab and we went outside, Connie wearing my new hat. It galled me, a little, that it looked better on her than it did on me. 

I opened the door of the Miata for her, but she paused and gripped my arm. She looked into my eyes. 

She said, “Do you think we might get back together again?” 

I said, “One never knows, do one?”

Sanders, Lawrence - McNally's Secret

It was a good book, a tad to "fluffy" for my tastes, but that could just be that I'm overwhelmed by first person mysteries at the moment. I yearn for some meat in my literary diet. I want a book on the craft of writing, or a Charles Dickens tome, or something long and sweeping like Lonesome Dove or Shogun. A world building experience to take me away. McNally's Secret that was not. Still a good book and I love Archie.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another Morning . . . Another Blog Post

I was wondering what I was going to write about today, there's a great post (here) at The Kill Zone, a great one on why writer's need editors (here) also at The Kill Zone, then there is a terrific infographic (here) that I found on the Corner.

Then I read this:

I came out into a nothing morning , the sky as colorless as a slate pavement, the air unmoving and damp. It was bloody hot , and a nice, refreshing cloudburst would have been a blessing. But that leaden sky offered no shadows and no hope. All in all, a grayish scene— enough to depress the most chipper of do-gooders and make one ponder the value of crawling out of bed on such a blah day.

Sanders, Lawrence - McNally's Secret 

Not so much a line about the morning, as I've been cataloging (here), but more of a passage. A good one too.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Game of Thrones Recap

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I like the Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) (see here) series of books. I am a part of a silly little group on the Facebook that shares ideas about Game of Thrones, both show and book. I hear from friends at work and otherwise about the books and the show. I've read, and continue to re-read the series prior to the release of each new book. So far, this article in the WSJ (here) by Marshall Crook, could be one of the best regarding the characters in the series then anything I've yet read.

As I have said before (here) I love the characters that Martin is able to develop for his books. They are excessively deep, each has their own story, and the plots and sub-plots all weave together in and out, in and out almost interminably. But Crook says it best regarding the greater usage of the characters as a part of the story:

Jaime’s sexual assault of Cersei is just one cruelty in an episode full of them: Ser Dontos is killed with a bolt to the face moments after delivering Sansa to Littlefinger.  Arya and the Hound enjoy the hospitality of a farmer and daughter, but then the Hound robs them of their silver as Arya helplessly looks on. In both cases, callous self-interest was the only motivation. Littlefinger kills the drunken knight to ensure his silence. And the Hound robs the farmer because the farmer is weak. Weak people don’t survive, so what does he need the silver for anyway.

Or take the peasant boy, who watches Thenns and wildlings murder his parents. They are people the Hound won’t mourn: The vulnerable ones.  They pop up in the show occasionally, when the writers need to remind us of the hefty collateral damage in Westeros.

Ygritte shot an arrow and killed the boy’s father.  She is as ruthless and capable as the Hound. It is a cue to recalibrate our perspective from time to time, and remember that just outside the walls of each unfolding castle are commoners living and dying at the whims of kings and bandits.

It's an article worth reading and I look forward to more from this source.

Being both a reader and a watcher I've always felt that the show leaves alot to be desired. The characters are far more alive on the page than on the screen. It's nice to see that from the WSJ perspective those characters come off not just as representatives of something larger, but just as deep and rich in their own way as the book's characters.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Shouting Into the Wind

Sometimes I feel like my whole writing life is just shouting into the wind. You know what I mean. Throwing stuff out there and hoping that someone hears it but all the same you're pretty sure no one does.

This blog for instance. Sure I get some traffic. Any responses? Painfully few. Then again, how many of the blogs that I read do I respond to? Painfully few.

Another wind shouting aspect of my writing life? Self publishing. How many books have I actually sold? A handful. I've gotten some good reviews but sales . . . not so much. I will say that some of the best self-publishing marketing dollars that I have spent has been on Goodreads, but that's a topic for another time, when I review my self-publishing marketing schemes (see here for more).

For now I'll just keep on a-shouting and hoping that someone hears me. Hope I don't go hoarse in the mean time.