Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Glad I Found My Way Back

It is stunning to me that the movie version had a submarine car, Jaws, a secret underwater hideout for villains and so much more nonsense when the book was perfectly good by itself. I'm not quite sure why they share a name to tell you the truth. Granted, I didn't enjoy the book too awful much, but it was solid and fun to read like all of the other Bonds.

The story was written not from Bond's perspective which is the norm, but from the girls. This was a bit different and although it made me not think as much of the book, this twist did make me applaud Ian Fleming all the more. I like the fact that he wrote what he felt like writing and didn't fall for any demands that might have been pressed on him by others. It's as if he's always trying something new just to see how it will fit for a bit.

Unlike the movie there is a ton of introspection and flashbacks from the main character. It's not till halfway through the book that Bond actually shows up. I know I was supposed to care if only cause part way through the book Fleming writes how his protagonist is learning to write.

Well, I settled down in my new job as ‘Assistant to the Editor’ and I was given more writing to do and less legwork and in due course, after I had been there for a year, I graduated to a by-line and ‘Vivienne Michel’ became a public person and my salary went up to twenty guineas. Len liked the way I got on with things and wasn’t afraid of people, and he taught me a lot about writing—tricks like hooking the reader with your lead paragraph, using short sentences, avoiding ‘okay’ English and, above all, writing about people.

Although he was writing about people, I still had a hard time caring about this people. I even faltered in starting this book. I read the first few chapters, gave up, read two other books that you can find in previous posts on this topic, The Corpse Goddess and Wool, then came back to it. I'm glad I did. It was worthwhile all told.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Incredibly Short, But Incredibly Clever

The title describes both this post and the Word Smith . . . my son. For previous posts about his ability to "know things up" hit the link in this sentence or the Word Smith link on the right side of the page.

We have been watching the Olympics. I'm trying to instill in him a sense of patriotism and and understanding of the Olympic Games. Nevertheless, he saw archery, fencing, biking et al. Whilst watching swimming today he decided he wanted to watch a different event.

"Dad, can you fast forward to Jump-nastics"

I knew immediately what he meant, and why he might say it. Then I wondered about my own pronunciation. Perhaps I'm saying things too quick. Perhaps he just has better ideas on what things should be called.

Friday, July 27, 2012

It Kept Me Reading

Who wouldn't want to keep reading when you read this as the first line and the first few passages:

Bud Mitchell drove his Ford Explorer along Dune Road. Up ahead was a sign that said CUPSOGUE BEACH COUNTY PARK— OPEN DAWN TO DUSK. It was dusk, but Bud drove through an empty parking field, on the far side of which was a wide nature trail, partially blocked by a roll-up fence. A sign said NO VEHICLES. 

He said to the woman sitting in his passenger seat, “Are you sure you want to do this?” 

Jill Winslow replied, “Yes. It’s exciting.” 

Bud nodded without enthusiasm. He skirted around the fence and continued on in four-wheel drive along the sandy trail flanked by high, grass-covered dunes. Having extramarital sex should have been exciting enough for both of them, he thought, but Jill didn’t see it that way. For her, cheating on her husband was only worth it if the sex, romance, and excitement were better than at home. For him, the taboo of having sex with another man’s wife was the turn-on.

DeMille, Nelson - Night Fall (John Corey)

It gets even better when their video tape recorder records the missile that shoots down TWA Flight 800.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

That Was Fast

Unharmed? What was it the captain of detectives had said about ‘scars’? I just didn’t believe him. The scars of my terror had been healed, wiped away, by this stranger who slept with a gun under his pillow, this secret agent who was only known by a number. 

A secret agent? I didn’t care what he did. A number? I had already forgotten it. I knew exactly who he was and what he was. And everything, every smallest detail, would be written on my heart for ever.

Fleming, Ian - The Spy Who Loved Me

Despite the speed with which I read it, and despite my history of liking Ian Fleming's novels, I didn't really like this one. I'll have more on this in the upcoming review, but savvy readers might be able to guess from the first and last lines from the book why I didn't care for it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Old Standby? Not So Much.

Back to an old standby . . . James Bond thanks to Ian Fleming. I'll have more on this one later, but the first line should have been a clue that I was getting something different.

I was running away. I was running away from England, from my childhood, from the winter, from a sequence of untidy, unattractive love-affairs, from the few sticks of furniture and jumble of overworn clothes that my London life had collected around me; and I was running away from drabness, fustiness, snobbery, the claustrophobia of close horizons and from my inability, although I am quite an attractive rat, to make headway in the rat-race. In fact, I was running away from almost everything except the law.

Fleming, Ian -The Spy Who Loved Me

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Not a Bad Diversion

As I said in yesterday's post, reading The Corpse Goddess by Kristi Jones was a bit out of the norm based on my historical reading preferences. It's a good thing that the book and it's content is also out of the norm. I liked getting out of my comfort zone, particularly with this book. It wasn't a commitment book, it was more of a light read, but it had a fun story that rolled along at a decent pace, interesting history lessons in a area I knew little about, but best of all the characters were intriguing and engaging.

I would be among the first to disparage and bemoan the swelling crescendo of fantasy novels particularly those spawned off of the Harry Potter and Twilight series. On BookBlogs, and in my local writing group, the results of this uptick can be seen quite readily and most of the writing is syrupy and not worthwhile. For a moment that's what I thought I was getting into with The Corpse Goddess. Instead I found a fun story with compelling characters and an eminently fresh story that had a fantastic bent and flashes of humor.

I read an article a few weeks ago in the Writer's Digest about creating suspense and providing surprises and twists to keep the reader involved and always guessing. Miss Jones does this throughout her novel. One of my favorite parts occurred when the protagonist, Meg, drives home to confront her parents and runs into her father. Keep in mind that Meg is slowly decomposing and turning into a corpse. Her father should be shocked to see her decay.

Meg shifted her feet, feeling exposed, while her father looked her up and down. His eyes lingered on her bandaged hands. "Ah. I see you have begun your transformation. This is a surprise. Your mother will be most definitely pleased."

I saw a few of her twists coming and was happily surprised with them. This one was one I missed and thought was well done. 

I liked some other aspects of the book. Particularly this simile:

Their captive struggled into a sitting position, his arms bound behind his back. His delicate white skin burned peeled tomato red. Snot ran from his nose. Hatred radiated off of him like a Texas heat wave.

Finally, I said I really like the character development. There is one major character, Dr. Gonzalez, who was turning out to be a somewhat shallow character, all of a sudden hit new depths when he told his son why he had to help Meg. This little passage too came out of left field, but did so much to provide needed character development that it really made the character.

“I couldn't save your mother, Armando. But what wakes me up at night is knowing that I didn't do everything I could to help her. God help me, I couldn't watch her die. I stayed away from the hospital, and I buried myself in work. I did everything to avoid seeing her wither away. I did everything to avoid the pain and the mess and the decay. I won't do that to another human being ever again. Not ever.”

All in all it was a good book to read and although the genre isn't my cup of tea, I will read Miss Jones' next book and look forward to the next in the series.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Last Week's Last Line

I just finished reading a book that was a tad out of my comfort zone. It's always good to try something different and see what the other side reads. This was also a book by a local writer, so it was good to support the arts. I'll have more on it later when I write a review, but for now, here's the way Kristi Jones ended The Corpse Goddess:

Mother drops her shrunken hand, temporarily releasing me from her granite grip. Mother is ruthless. She is clever and cruel. She is, after all, a goddess. A Valkyrie of the highest order. She was smart enough to have more than one child, and she knows how to use us. I'm certain that when she sees my vision for the future of our kind, she will become my first follower.

The Corpse Goddess - Kristi Jones

I thought the ending might have been one of the best parts. It was a nice little, somewhat expected, twist that sure got my attention and made me think Miss Jones has a good little franchise started.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sci-Fi World Building

I'm not a huge fan of Sci-Fi, but I have my favorites. Having just read Wool, I started thinking about my favorite Fantasy and Sci-Fi authors and why I like them.

As you know from my past posts, I really like Vernor Vinge and George R.R. Martin. I like them because they are great at world building. Constructing an entire world from nothing, with its own problems, people and concerns.  I think these two are the best of the best at this. Hugh Howley did a good job with Wool, but the world was a pretty tight little world. More like building an aquarium, not a whole world. One of the worst well known authors is Neal Stephenson. Go read Anathema and try to be impressed.

I bring this up for two reasons. First I read this article from a blog I like called The Kill Zone that was entitled  5 Tips on World Building from Scratch. It's a decent article and well worth a look. The second reason is that I am shying away from writing a novel, Soul Food, because the idea of world building is so scary. This would be a huge undertaking and having never tried it, I'm a tad overwhelmed by the idea. I wonder if there is some way to try a small world building exercise.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Plethora of Reviews

I've had quite a few reviews lately, and I thought I would go ahead and catalog them, not for the sake of self-promotion, although there is that to a small extent, but to have a link to these great sites so I can remember them both on a daily basis (as they are fun to read every once and a while) and to know where to turn for my next book review.

Read Rate and Review provided a great review of my work, but more importantly were probably the easiest blog to work with. The communication and willingness to work with me were by far the best of the bunch.

Home is Where the Book Is also another good review. There is an added bonus about this site, if you go to it you'll think you never left Publish or Perish.

At Curse of the Bibliophile I got a stunning review. This one actually made me think for a second that I'd sent them the wrong book. Now I think I just need to make sure they get a copy of book two first so I can feel good about myself.

Book Lover's Couch was perhaps the first review I found through Book Blogs and Michelle was my entry into the reviewers down under. Since then I've contact two other Aussie's, one New Zealander, and a Philippine.

Three Cats and A Girl are all up in Canada and all seem to like my book as well.

Another Canadian, this time a fellow writer, Cheryl has posted a review of my book on her personal website and coming from a fellow writer, this is one I'm particularly pleased about.

The first posted review I had was from Mom's Thumb Reviews and that thumb's up certainly got the ball rolling in the right direction.

Finally Living Loving and Writing has promised to put up their review of my work, I'm throwing this in now, prior to that posting, just so I don't forget. This might be the review that was furthest from me as Laura lives in Hong Kong.

There are still about a half dozen or so still out there reading it, or who have it in their to be read list. Another few have copies being sent to them. So this is what I meant in my earlier post about whether or not its worth scrounging for reviews or having a publicist do it for you. Two months worth of work, I say not a bad haul.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Bit of a Retraction

Despite what I wrote earlier about the first line of Wool (here) the five books that I read that formed the Omnibus edition made the story "in toto" really quite good. In fact, I remember dissing Wool and saying Hugh Howey weren't no Vernor Vinge. Well, by book five Hugh Howey came pert near damn close to Vernor Vinge-esque-ness.

I'm glad I made this a "commitment book" by reading the Omnibus edition. I think it would have been maddening to read each in turn. Kind of like waiting for each successive book in the Song of Ice and Fire series to come out. But reading them together, and they do read like a continuous story, made the entire story more worthwhile and fun to read.

I did take a note or two and avid readers of the blog will already know that I posted this description of the morning as a part of my writing about the morning series and my frist line. Beyond those I offer these:

This first note I highlight illustrated a perfect example of providing a setting without hitting the reader over the head.

Each step was slightly bowed from generations of traffic, the edge rounded down like a pouting lip. In the center, there was almost no trace of the small diamonds that once gave the treads their grip. Their absence could only be inferred by the pattern to either side, the small pyramidal bumps rising from the flat steel with their crisp edges and flecks of paint. Holston lifted an old boot to an old step, pressed down, and did it again. 

He lost himself in what the untold years had done, the ablation of molecules and lives, layers and layers ground to fine dust. And he thought, not for the first time, that neither life nor staircase had been meant for such an existence. The tight confines of that long spiral, threading through the buried silo like a straw in a glass, had not been built for such abuse. Like much of their cylindrical home, it seemed to have been made for other purposes, for functions long since forgotten. What was now used as a thoroughfare for thousands of people, moving upand down in repetitious, daily cycles, seemed more apt in Holston’s view to be used only in emergencies and perhaps by dozens.
Another floor went by— a pie-shaped division of dormitories. As Holston ascended the last few levels, the last steps of his life, the sounds of childlike delight rained down even louder from above. This was the laughter of youth, of souls who had not yet come to grips with where they lived, who did not yet feel the press of the earth on all sides, who in their minds were not buried at all, but alive. Alive and unworn, dripping happy sounds down the stairwell, trills that were incongruous with Holston’s actions, his decision and determination to die.

This next note shows the mayor of the silo, an older lady who knits, thinking about her job. I liked the way that the Howey made her thoughts drift back toward knitting.

Jahns lived under the weight of this pressure, a burden brutal on more than knees. She kept quiet as they made their way to the central stairwell. A handful called for her to make a speech, but the lone voices did not gain traction. No chant formed, much to her relief. What would she say? That she didn’t know why it all held together? That she didn’t even understand her own knitting, how if you made knots, and if you did it right, things just worked out? Would she tell them it only took one snip for it all to unravel? One cut, and you could pull and pull and turn that garment into a pile. Did they really expect her to understand, when all she did was follow the rules, and somehow it kept working out, year after year after year?

Then, later, with a different character, he does it again. This time instead of knitting, the character, a mechanic, thinks in terms of stabilizing a machine.

She forced the wavy needle through the breast of her coveralls and clasped the catch on the back. Looking down at the star was a little surreal. There were a dozen folders at her feet demanding her attention, and Juliette felt, for the first time since arriving at the up-top, that this was her job. Her work at Mechanical was behind her. She had left that place in far better condition than she’d found it, had stayed long enough to hear the near-silent hum of a repaired generator, to see a shaft spin in such perfect alignment that one couldn’t tell if it was moving at all. And now she had traveled to the up-top to find here the rattle and squelch and grind of a different set of gears, a misalignment that was eating away at the true engine of the silo, just as Jahns had forewarned.

I like this attention to detail and consistency. How many times have we been occupied with our thoughts and bridged them or the resolution of them over to our day to day lives.

There is a long simile that goes on and on about what the silos are for and how any why humans are housed in them, which is really a focal point of the story. I would have liked to share it but is really just too long for this space. I bring it up because of this:

It turned out some crooked things looked even worse when straightened. Some tangled knots only made sense once unraveled.

This was when the conspiracy was revealed. It tied everything up nicely and even hearkened back to the knitting from book two.

My favorite part about this series though had to be the villain. Right now my company is trying to purge its network and computer systems of a virus. It is not uncommon to hear my co-workers lambasting and cursing IT through the hallways. The villain in this story is one that anyone who has worked with an IT department has dreamed about making a villain, because the villain is the IT department. It made me think that Hugh Howey had some unresolved issues with his own IT group when he wrote this.

The one thing I didn't like as a reader, but I appreciated as a writer was seeing the way the author developed his writing over the course of the series. His first three novels all focused on one character solely. Then by four and five he had a whole cast of characters. I was hoping he would keep the one character mein throughout. Despite this one, itty, bitty, thing, it was a great series to read. Ranked right up there with watching the new BSG and other current, excellent Sci-Fi. Still not quite Vernor Vingian though.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

You Were Warned

Yep, I'm onto the next novel. This one is from a local author that I hooked up with via Book Blogs. We have agreed to exchange novels and provide reviews. Although not my common fare, it being YA and supernatural, The Corpse Goddess has me rapt and got my attention from the first line.

Meg Highbury woke up the day after her twenty-first birthday to the smell of spoiled hamburger meat stinging her nose hairs and tickling her gag reflex. For a moment, Meg thought she was back in Dr. Schlechta's embalming room, with the bodies and the fluids and the dull instruments of death. She'd never forget the smell of that room – a medicinal rot, the choking smell of old meat sealed in hot plastic.

Jones, Kristi - The Corpse Goddess

Nothing better I say than giving the literary olfactory senses some exercise. The "choking smell of old meat sealed in hot plastic" is quite good and made me pause. And to wake up with the smell of "spoiled hamburger meat" says everything about the scene we are about to be treated to.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This Should Be a Hint

Readers have to know that if I'm writing a post for my "Last Lines" label that very soon they will see a Book Review post  and a First Lines post as I am coming off of one book and moving onto another.

That being said, I just finished a great one. The first line and last lines might not make it seem as though it was as good as it was, but the middle is chock full of great writing, terrific plotting, and twist and intrigue galore.

“Hey!” Lukas called after her. He ran across the landing, his brows lowered in confusion. “I thought you were heading down, going to see your friends—” 

Juliette smiled at him. A porter passed by, loaded down with his burdens. Juliette thought of how many of her own had recently slipped away. 

“Family first,” she told Lukas. She glanced up that great shaft in the center of the humming silo and lifted her boot to the next tread. “I’ve got to go see my father, first.”

Howey, Hugh - Wool Omnibus Edition

Not as impressive as the writing in the rest of the books, but I'll have more to say on that later. If you like a good sci-fi every now and then . . . this is the book for you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another in the AAR Series

One thing that I've been both pleasantly surprised by and disheartened by is the process of garnering and asking for reviews for my novel, Toe the Line (here).

I read many articles about e-book and e-publishing success stories. In most cases they state that positive online reviews lead to their success (as stated in the article linked here). Each time I read it it sounded so arbitrary and ethereal. How did one go about getting reviews? I knew that there were companies out there that provided reviews, how much? What type of review did you get?

The first thing I learned was not to count on friends and family for reviews. Initially this was disheartening for me. Then I realized how few reviews I've actually posted on Smashwords or Amazon. Even for books I love I rarely post glowing reviews. Why should I expect from my friends and family something that I have never provided to anyone else?

I was not impressed with this avenue. It petered out quickly and the reviews left me wondering if the readers had truly read the entire book. First they cited only passages from the beginning and I've gotten more helpful and deep critiques from the YA reviewers I discuss below.

The second thing I found was that Book Blogs (here) is a spectacular avenue for finding reviewers. Sure a majority of the reviewers on the site are Romance novel reviewers and there also seems to be an overwhelming bias toward vampires and young adult novels, but I've had more luck using this venue than any other. The reviews I got (here), (here) and (here) all came from this site. There are three times that many I just didn't want to write and link (here) nine times.

Finally, and this is the key, I was contacted by Cheryl Masciarelli through LinkedIn about her company, Partners in Crime (here). This is a virtual PR business that helps young authors link up with publicists, bloggers, reviewers, and more. Basically it sounds like she would do all the leg work that I am currently doing.

Again, the question becomes is it worth the money. The results from the "for charge" review sites were not worth the dough and I didn't get as much as I hoped. Maybe there is something to be said for slogging ones own way through the morass. At this point I'm considering Miss Masciarelli et al to help out with On the Edge. We'll know if the investment pays off in my AAR following that release.

Monday, July 9, 2012

This Blog . . . The Tip of the Spear

When I was in the Military I was a part of SOCOM. SOCOM's unit patch showed a spear head that was shaped like a spade in a deck of cards. We, the common front line soldier or "bullet stopper" were referred to as the "tip of the spear" cause we lead the way. Take comfort dear blog reader that by stopping by this blog every once and a while you are reading at the tip of the spear.

For evidence of this, I give you the following:

First, on The Kill Zone (here), a post by Clare Langley-Hawthorne discusses a topic and an article that this blog discussed on June 29th (here). Doubtless that Miss Langley-Hawthorne has made more thoughtful and prescient comments, but it does show the tip of the spearness I am illustrating.

Secondly there was this article in the WSJ that I planned on blogging about today.This article on comics on e-readers by Kevin Simtumuang exquisitely titled Tablet + Comics = BAM! (here), was actually something that this blog tackled years ago (here).

I read this article, ironically enough in the print edition, on Saturday. It deals with the revolution that comics have had due to the tablet medium. He says:

The screens on some tablets (most notably the iPad's) have colors and text that just pop, like, well, pop art. This is especially true of comics from the past 10 years that were colored with the aid of computers—you almost feel closer to an artist's vision on a tablet than in print. Pixels to pixels rather than pixels to paper."

"The other ace up digital comics' sleeve? Comixology's Guided View technology. It turns reading your favorite graphic novels into a cinema-like experience, enlarging individual panels to fill the screen and whisking you to the next panel with a single tap. This feature makes comics readable on a tiny smartphone screen. On a large tablet, it lets you dwell on individual panels as if they were Lichtensteins."

You know what he doesn't bring up? You know what you can just about count on reading a year from now, as this is a tip of the spear comment? That the major problem with comics on the tablet is that most comics fans enjoy the collections that the comics inspire. Sure you can keep a comic or group of them on the iPad and go back and read them any old time, and that's fine. But you can't resell those suckers. I was never a big reseller of comics. I had years worth of Spidermans that now might have earned me a half cent per title. I threw them all out a couple of years ago. You see, I'm a reader. I like to go back and reread the comics. So for the most the iPad works great for me. But I do have a couple of ancient Spidermans collecting dust up in the attack. These are the ones I feel might be worth more. How do I buy and hold those?

It really makes one wonder if comic book collecting is about to go bye-bye. And if so, what will happen if some kid or fan can get the very same comics I'm storing up with my junk on their iPad for a buck twenty? Tip of the spear folks, that's why you're here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Covers . . .There's More to Covers Than You Think

Anyone who has seen my novel (here) will see that I went minimalist in my cover design. I tried to let the designs in so many Triathlon symbols inspire me (here). I think for the most part I achieved that, but still I think it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi that more professional covers have. That being said I've seen quite a few designs from my contemporaries (here) and seeing them makes me happy that I went the minimalist route. Some of the designs seem a bit too much, too busy, too loopy and chock full of stuff.

That being said there are things I missed cover-wise for this release. I had a cover ready for the website I was designing (here) but hadn't gone beyond that. I didn't have one ready (formatted for an actual book) for CreatesSpace, I didn't have one ready (shrunk for tiny viewing) for Amazon and Smashwords, just like the web-marketing I didn't have enough ready.

I should have gone onto Smashwords and checked out their template and made sure mine fit the bill. I could have made the second stick figure, the one with the gun, wrap around the spine so that it looks like he's running from the back cover to the front. I could have had a back picture ready as well as a blurb or two (more on that later).

Suffice it to say there were alot of things that I hadn't considered with the cover that with a small amount of research would have cleared up. Again, its on the AAR list now, so I shant miss it next time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Doubters Take Note

I had several people write me about my last post (here) that alluded to my series on the prevalence of morning description in novels (here). My take on is that for some reason authors love to write descriptions of the morning far more than the afternoon and evening. Those of you who doubted this and thought . . . ho hum. . . Nota bene that just yesterday I ran across another!

The following sunrise was something to behold. There was a rare break in the low, dark clouds that allowed visible rays of golden smoke to slide sideways across the hills. Juliette lay in her cot, watching the dimness fade to light, her cheek resting on her hands, the smell of cold untouched oatmeal drifting from outside the bars. She thought of the men and women in IT working through the past three nights to construct a suit tailored for her, their blasted parts ported up from Supply. The suit would be timed to last her just long enough, to get her through the cleaning but no further.

Howey, Hugh - Wool Omnibus Edition

It happens more than you think folks. Start looking for it in your own reading. It's there.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Onward to Commitment Book

I finished High Five by Janet Evanovich (here)  last week. This is the fifth in the Stephanie Plum series and probably the fifth one I've read. Like I wrote previously (here and here) that I like these books cause they help me recharge the ole brain cells after a commitment book. High Five was no different.

I recorded two passages. One I thought was interesting cause I wrote something similar in a short story years ago.

He smiled when he saw me .. . and it was the nice smile that included his eyes.

This other one I noted because I like to continue my series on mornings. Authors love to discuss the dawn . . . the sky turned from charcoal to pearl as the sun broke the horizon . . . that kinda thing. This is the way Evanovich describes it.

The sun was weak in a murky sky, and the air felt cold against my sweat-soaked clothes.

Not much else there. I liked this one because I believe it's the earliest one I've yet read. She was still developing the characters to a certain degree, there is still some mystery behind them. It did not make me think too much (which was the goal) but I knew what I was getting into when I opened it, I got into it and Evanovich delivered.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Climbing His Way To His Death

A good friend of mine recommended that I read Wool by Hugh Howey. I was impressed immediately by the reviews I saw online. I was giddy with anticipation that this might be the next Asimov or Vinge. These are my two favorite Sci-Fi authors (see here) and since I've read so many of their books, and I don't want to go back and reread them yet, I'm lost. I have nothing truly stellar to read. So although I was a tad disheartened with this first passage, I am still driving on with anticipation and verve.

The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do. While they thundered about frantically above, Holston took his time, each step methodical and ponderous, as he wound his way around and around the spiral staircase, old boots ringing out on metal treads.

Howey, Hugh - Wool Omnibus Edition

Again, I'm still working my way through and have been happy to see flashes of the spectacular that are so commonplace in Vinge's work. But so far, this just isn't as good as A Fire Upon the Deep or A Deepness in the Sky. It might be a bit too high a mark to reach I fear. It's not a bad first line. Maybe I should give him more slack.