Tag Archives: book

Guest Post

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This is the first guest post on my blog! This one comes to you courtesy of Paul Anthony Shortt, and here is a little bit more about him:

Paul Anthony Shortt

A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren’t enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life. Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group. He lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends. Jen is pregnant again and is expecting twins.

Recently, Paul has released a new book, Locked Within, which is available from Amazon.

Writing Fight Scenes

I’m a huge fan of fight scenes. Whether between single combatants, multiple fighters, or even massive battleships, fight scenes are a vicious dance, a ballet between opposing forces, the ultimate portrayal of a story’s conflict. They can be difficult to get right, however. Many stories finish with an unsatisfying climax, the villain defeated without any real sense of threat or drama. This is the danger in having a fight scene end too quickly or without enough detail. The opposite is just as problematic. Too much detail will bore the reader. So while you can’t simply gloss over the action, you can’t resort to a blow by blow account, either. The perfect fight scene needs to flow, almost like a river, naturally twisting and surprising the reader. Of course, pure action isn’t enough. You need emotion. You need high stakes. The biggest and best fight scenes must be kept for the climax, so the reader has had time to develop a connection to the hero. Blend your hero’s feelings, his fears and drive, with his kicks and punches, and you’ll hook the reader. In Locked Within, I have several action scenes in which Nathan Shepherd is kept on the ropes. This is an important point. It can be all too tempting to have your hero dominate physical challenges, defeating his enemies with ease. But this is a dangerous gamble. A reader can’t sympathise with a hero who never fails. If the hero is never in danger, there’s no opportunity to build sympathy. Of course, if you push too far, too soon, and expose the hero to life or death situations too early in your story, the reader will know you don’t really intend to kill or maim them so early. Having a character gradually learn how to fight his opponents can be effective. Nathan Shepherd must re-learn the things he once knew, from how to fight, to what can harm a vampire. As the story progresses, his knowledge, skill, and drive increase, but so do the stakes. His ability to fight improves, but the scope of what he fights for increases as well. It’s a tricky balancing act. My advice is to study different fight scenes, both in books and in film or television. Pay attention to how a fight works, what style you want to emulate, whether you want it gritty or cinematic, and watch the techniques used to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Above all, practice!

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Book Review: Cold Iron

Cold Iron Cover

Cold Iron, by Josh Loomis, has an interesting take on the Vampire Mythos. In this novel, the vampires have gone public, and are protected by law.

While the undead are now a part of society, somebody who dies 35 years ago is a new thing, as Detective Seth Fasil finds out when he is found stumbling around a cementary, long after his burial.

He then meets Morgan Everson, another Detective, who is now working at the same police department that Seth used to work at. While the two main characters work well together, the part where Morgan updates Seth about the events of the past 35 years rings very false, especially since she decides not to tell him about the vampires, for no reason that is ever revealed.

From there, the story of Seth trying to uncover what happened to him interweaves with Morgan’s investigations into a series of Vampire murders in the city.

The cast of characters grows from there, and all of the supporting cast add to the story. There are some good twists and reveals in the story, and the vampire politics are hinted at, without being fully explained.

The book feel like a first part of a series, with hints about Seth’s story that I hope will be resolved in the future.

Overall, the novel is a light and easy read, with just enough depth to keep it interesting.

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Playing for Keeps

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Playing for Keeps Cover

Playing for Keeps” is a superhero novel, written by  Mur Lafferty, the current editor of my favourite science fiction podcast, Escape Pod.

I listened to this novel as a podiobook, and it made my commute  a lot easier to deal with for a little while. It is still available as a free podiobook, which is how I originally listened to

The novel is set in what looks like a standard superhero universe, and starts of with a battle of the heroes vs. the villains. The main character Keepsie, ends up as a hostage to a super-villain, Doodad, who leaves a mysterious sphere with her. Keepsie is a third-waver, a person with minor super powers, not considered good enough to be accepted to the superhero academy. Her power is that nothing she owns can be taken from her.

From here, things go seriously haywire, as both the superheroes and the villains want access to the sphere, and Keepsie and her fellow third-wavers end up caught in the middle of everything.

I really enjoyed listening to the book, and the powers of the third wavers kept things interesting, since they were all on the somewhat amusing side, yet were used very cleverly, such as the man with the detachable legs.

The characters felt real and likeable, and all of them seem to have sufficient depth to keep things interesting. They really came across as real people, with their own interests and concerns.

The book’s pacing was excellent, and it kept me interested throughout my listening to it. The plot takes some unusual and unexpected turns, and it is fascinating as little bits of the setting are revealed step by step.

I found the setting fascinating, especially since I am a sucker for twists on the superhero genre. I think that this book is a worthy addition to it.

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Draculas Review

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I have recently had the chance to read Draculas, since I got my hands on a review copy. The novel is scheduled to be released tomorrow, and it was written by ??J. A. Konrath, Jack Kilborn, F. Paul Wilson and Jeff Strand.

According to the authors, it is an attempt to make vampires scary again, and it succeeds to a certain extent. They move away from angst-filled teen heartthrobs, and make the monsters in the story animalistic monstrous predators, with no interest other than blood.

The story is simple, it focuses on a bunch of people trying to survive a vampire outbreak in a small hospital.

Blood is something that you will find plenty of in this novel, and I personally found the constant gore to be too much at times, as the authors tried to outdo each other. There is no mistaking this book for psychological horror!

I found the book entertaining, despite its faults. It is fairly short, and it took me a while to get into it. The characters are very well done, and have some depth to them.

Overall, I found Draculas to be a light and entertaining read. If you are a fan of over the top splatterpunk horror, this would be perfect. If you are not, than you might want to give it a miss.

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