It's only the 20th of September, but with leaden gray skies raining over aging foliage, Halloween feels early this year!
My sisters, Margaret and Calico, and I were invited to be a part of Bushor Photography's annual Halloween series, playing the Weird Sisters from Macbeth, a part too good to pass up! We'll be one set among many in her series this year and though the pictures won't be released until October, here's a sneak peak from our shoot. Be sure to check out Bushor Photography on Facebook and their website for more spooky fun this October.
Tale Half Told Giveaway!
In further celebration of the season, my sister and I are giving away two copies of Tale Half Told in a Goodreads giveaway, ending, you guessed it, on Halloween - in plenty of time to read before Christmas! Be sure to sign up now for your chance to win!
In any line of work or creative endeavor, it's easy to feel frustrated or empty or alone, as though no one has ever walked this path before. Luckily, there are many who have gone before and left behind some trail markers to let us know we're going in the right direction.
I remember where I was very clearly on the morning of September 11, 2001, when I heard the news. I don't think its a thing anyone who lived through it is likely to forget. I grew up a lot that day and in the days that followed, for it was the first time I'd seen my country attacked, the first time I'd seen grown men cry, and the first time I was a witness to fear tearing my neighbors, friends, and even family into divided camps. In the following weeks, months, and years, the fall out from this one morning's evil actions would lead to other decisions, good and bad, but mostly to mistakes. Mistakes wrought out of fear and ignorance, but deadly and harmful mistakes none-the-less.
But as the dust settled on the wreckage that day, we also saw a lot of courage and self-sacrifice: the firemen who ran into the collapsing buildings, the passengers who stopped the second plane from hitting the Pentagon, the outpouring of aid for the survivors and, more remarkable still, the almost immediate outcry against discrimination towards the Muslim American community. Americans grew up and in a lot of ways, grew together. With every evil action, it seems, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Great acts of courage and caring always follow disasters.
We've grown as a country since then. We've learned a lot about ourselves, both our weaknesses and our strengths, our limits as well as our abilities. It's too easy to look at the political discord and judge the entire character of the American people by it, but that, too, would be a mistake. The events of 9-11 remind us that terror and fear do not have the final say - we do.
Never forget. And never, ever, let terror or fear dictate terms.
Synopsis: The Enterprise is called to Sherman's Planet, where agricultural scientist Jean Czerny is adapting a new quadrotriticale seed (The Trouble with Tribbles, anyone?). However, by the time they arrive, Jean has been taken captive by Commander Kang, a ruthless Klingon who will do anything to get the new seed to his starving worlds, including using force on the scientist. But Jean is not all that she seems and the situation is not a simple case of kidnapping. Jean is forced to live among the Klingons, working to end the famine that threatens their empire. But even as she adapts to her brutal new surroundings, new dangers and intrigues threaten to overwhelm her and her newly adopted mission of mercy. Will she ever see the Federation again?
Pawns and Symbols is... frankly, a weird entry in the series. It reads more like a historical romance book than a Star Trek episode: an intelligent young woman is captured by a powerful, but still attractive half-savage and uses both her brains and her body to survive the encounter, learning, as she does, that the man and the culture are not quite as bad as she first thought. It reminded me a lot of the 1919 novel The Sheik, and that's no compliment. The Sheik, the story a man who captures and brutalizes a woman who eventually falls in love with him, was a sensation in it's time, spawning a popular movie and sequel. In Pawns, after his attempt to rape Jean is interrupted, Kang forces her into a sort of concubine role and she is used and abused throughout the rest of the book, beaten quite severely at times. I may be oversensitive, but I found this to be an uncomfortable read. Abusive characters like the Sheik and Kang are next to impossible to redeem and encouraging fantasies about them and excusing their behavior is a dangerous game to play.
Anyhoo, preaching aside, Kirk and crew are hardly in the book at all, though they are well written when they appear (there's an odd episode with them in the middle book that seems more like a short story than a necessary part of the novel). The author goes into great detail about the Klingon Empire, but while she spends a lot of time on Jean and Kang, she leaves her other new characters short on personality and backstory. In sum, the book feels more like better-than-most fan-fiction written by a woman who had a lot of fantasies about Klingons (in particular, the commander from Day of the Dove) and probably should talk to someone about that.
Not recommended: skip this and go see next week's theater showings of Wrath of Khan instead.
Get Michael Lawrence while it's free!
One August 28 and 29th, get copies of Tale Half Told and Michael Lawrence: the Season of Darkness free on your Kindle! These books are both new this year and I'm very proud to be sharing the credit for Tale Half Told with my sister, Margaret.
Spread the word, tell everyone you know, and if you like them, be sure to leave a review!
My apologies for having been absent the past two weeks - life takes many strange and often awkward twists and turns! Stay turned, though, because on Monday there will be a fun giveaway. In the meantime, here are some words of wisdom from wiser people than I to get you through the weekend!
Have you signed up to win your copy of Michael Lawrence: the Season of Darkness yet? If not, do it quick! The giveaway ends today!
Our NEW book, Tale Half Told, which was released Monday, is on sale today for just 99 cents! Be sure to pick it up! For those of you who, like me, prefer paperback, we should have copies available by the end of the month, so stay tuned!
If you read and love the story, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.com or Goodreads. Reviews (especially positive ones, wink-wink) help authors like me to qualify books for contests and awards and special promotions. So, if you like it, always review it!
Giveaway Winds Down:
You still have time to enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win one of two copies of the new book!
New Book by another Traynor!
Ever day-dreamed about making your own movie? Terry Traynor of Narrow Street Films can sympathize. His new book is a quick, whimsical look at the art of film-making and story-telling in two lists of 'Dos' and 'Don'ts'. Its a fun, fast read and its available now on Amazon Kindle.
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
I like to hear of wealth and gold,
And El Doradoes in their glory;
I like for silks and satins bold
To sweep and rustle through a story.
The nightingale is sweet of song;
The rare exotic smells divinely;
And knightly men who stride along,
The role heroic carry finely.
But then, upon the other hand,
Our minds have got a way of running
To things that aren't quite so grand,
Which, maybe, we are best in shunning.
For some of us still like to see
The poor man in his dwelling narrow,
The hollyhock, the bumblebee,
The meadow lark, and chirping sparrow.
We like the man who soars and sings
With high and lofty inspiration;
But he who sings of common things
Shall always share our admiration.
Tale Half Told is now available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited! Click on the picture below to get your copy today!
So I'm reading Evelyn Waugh and, as is typical when I read his works or Graham Greene, it leaves me both enchanted by the language and mournful about the meaning of life and my place in it (Catholic guilt is a powerful thing, I guess, and these guys can make the good life look so bloody hard!). To pick myself and you up, here are a few memorable quotes from that master of the snappy lines and the sensationally funny stories, PG Wodehouse!
(Also, if you haven't yet, be sure to enter the Goodreads Giveaway for Michael Lawrence: the Season of Darkness!)
Dear Barbara Broccoli,
There have been some disturbing talk going on around the internet. Specifically, people have been saying that it's time for a female James Bond. 'Its time to show men that women can do what they do!' I think is the rallying cry. Women are cool. Women can fight. Women can shoot. Women are Dr. Who. It's time James became Jane!
Look, I know we're all supposed to jump on this bandwagon and wear the pussy hats and hold the Feminist Banner high in honor of our (reportedly) oppressed foremothers, but I can't. I just can't. In the name of all the bad feminists out like me, I beg of you: please, please, please, don't take my fantasy away.
I know, I know. You're going to say I have the narrative wrong. 'It's a guy's fantasy, not a woman's,' you'll chide me. 'James Bond is for boys.'
'If that's so,' I'd reply, 'then why did you hire Daniel Craig and put him in a tux? Because guys are the ones fantasizing about that?'
James Bond isn't supposed to be politically correct. He isn't supposed to get with the times. He isn't a form of social commentary. He doesn't have a backstory (or a consistent one, anyway), he doesn't age (unless he's Roger Moore, but if you're Roger Moore, age doesn't matter), he doesn't slow down, and he doesn't get tired. He's a fantasy figure in a fantasy world. He is what a lot of guys would like to be, true: handsome, debonair, irresistible to women, and always ready with a gun, a smart remark, and a cool car.
He's a guy's fantasy, yes, I get that. But he's ours too.
You see, for most women, life is... well, kinda dull. We go to work. We buy groceries. We work out and pick up the kids. We pay bills and talk to friends and occasionally go out on the town. And while life is generally good, it's also mundane. Regular. Boring. And sometimes, we just want a hunk in a tux with a gun and an Aston Martin to swoop in and take us away on an adventure.
I know, I know. You're going to say something like, 'That's horribly backwards, Killarney. Women are strong and self-assured. They don't need a man to save them.'
Of course we don't. We are strong. We are smart. We can save the day and frequently do. But, frankly, it gets tiring. Sometimes it's nice to have someone else do it. Especially if that someone looks like Pierce Brosnan or has an accent like Sean Connery or smiles like Timothy Dalton or can beat the tar out of seven or eight bad guys with his bare hands like Daniel Craig...
Sorry, got distracted there for a minute. Where was I?
Oh, right, so the point is that, yes, women can save the day. And, yes, its cool to have action women in movies. Charlize Theron, Michelle Yeoh, Michelle Rodriguez, Zeo Saldana are all talented, fierce, fun women to watch. Rogue One was awesome. Atomic Blond looks like a blast. Wonder Woman was, in my opinion, the best superhero movie since the second Captain America movie. And lest you forget, these films built on others that came before it: A New Hope, Alien, and Silence of the Lambs all feature strong women who, in one way or another, save the day.
We can do it. I get it. But sometimes we women just want someone else to do the dirty work. And sometimes we want that person to be Roger Moore on a remote island, saving a girl (who is really a stand-in for us) from a man with a golden gun.
Is that really too much to ask?
Tale Half Told is now available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle! And to celebrate, here is a sneak peek!
They rushed out of the house into the gathering storm. There was in the air a sense of impending battle. Johnny knew it like he knew the scent of napalm. The world was conspiring against them, gathering forces, preparing to strike. The wind was the first line, whipping up the light snow from the ground and sending it, stinging, into their faces as they struggled through the drifts towards the car. Johnny took the lead and Michael brought up the rear. It was not snowing yet, but Johnny could taste it in the air and he did not like it. The storm was moving much too fast.
He pulled open the passenger door and helped Linda in while Susan moved around the front of the vehicle towards her door. Michael stumbled next to him, fumbling for the handle.
“You’re right,” he said to Johnny, raising his voice to be heard above the wind. “Let’s get out of here before a tree falls.”
There was an audible sigh of relief when the doors were shut. After turning over twice, the engine started. Michael shifted into reverse and pulled backwards as the wind, roaring in defeat, slammed into the side of the car, causing the entire vehicle to shudder.
“Good grief!” Linda said. “What is with the weather today?”
No one answered her. Michael had gone too deep into the drifts behind them and was gently trying to ease the spinning tires back onto pavement. Susan looked ill again. Johnny found himself sitting at attention as though expecting an attack at any minute.
Stop it, he told himself, and then said aloud to Linda, “It’s just the wind coming off the river, that’s all. Want me to get out and push, Mike?”
Even as he said it, the tires caught traction and they began moving towards the road.
“We’re on our way now,” Michael said heartily. “Just a little bit of New England weather.”
His white knuckle-hold on the constantly shifting steering wheel belied his confident tone. They knew better than to reply. Even the backseat passengers could feel the shift of the slipping tires while they were still on flat ground. All around them, the wind whipped up the sugar-like snow, casting drifts and fresh layers onto their path.
The driveway was only a few hundred yards long, ending in a sharp downslope to the road. Michael slowed as he reached it, until the tires caught ground and held.
“It’s slippery,” Susan warned.
Michael said, “I know, honey, I know,” as he eased the car forward. They reached the lip of the incline and the car tipped.
“Easy does it…” Michael said, just before the tires touched ice.
The car hurtled down the slope, picking up speed and twisting as Michael fought for control. Johnny braced himself and reached out for Linda, who had one hand clasped to her mouth. Susan was climbing up into her seat, bracing her legs against the dashboard, repeatedly crying, “Michael, the tree! Michael, the tree!”
The car turned despite Michael’s frantic struggle with the wheel and pounding on the brakes. They slipped down the end of the driveway, slid across the road and tipped over the edge into the ditch. Susan’s scream was cut off abruptly when they hit the trees with a crescendo of breaking glass and the bone-crunching sound of metal wrapping around wood...
Available for Pre-oRDER NOW!
Don't forget to enter the Goodreads Giveaway for your chance at one of two signed copies of Michael Lawrence: the Season of Darkness
Portsmouth Police Detective Michael Lawrence is a career policeman with a stellar reputation, a loving family, and a good future ahead of him - that is, until his life is upended by an accident that left his daughter in a coma and his wife in a state of grieving. Now, months into his ordeal, he's called in to investigate the mysterious death of beloved music professor, Emma Gagnon. It doesn't look like murder... until someone breaks into Emma's office and another body turns up.
Lawrence and his partner, Sohm, find themselves drawn into a complex web involving a missing girl, drugs, a popular author, a disappointed man, a grieving widower, and a driven student with a past. Lawrence is drawn deeper into the case and finds himself sympathizing with Emma's bereft husband, Harry. As the body count rises and the case takes on new and disturbing twists, everyone including Michael is beginning to wonder: has the consummate professional finally lost perspective?
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