Friday, July 16, 2010

Out of the Hidey-Hole

As it shows in my blog, Facebook, and Twitter, I've been hiding for some time now. I manage to show up every occasionally just to keep suspicions of my death squashed, but that's been about it. I'm sure there are a few of you who are wondering what may have become of me (of course, I've been wrong before...), so here I am. I'm finally ready to talk about where I've been and what I've been doing.

A few months ago, I was looking for a new kind of scary for my writing, and I turned toward my dreams. Trying to find ways to induce nightmares and such. It didn't work, sadly. Instead, I now have insomnia and very rarely dream. When I do dream, I hardly remember them, or at least they're forgotten by the time I get to my computer after work. Everyone around me seems to have found some amusement from my sleep deprivation, though. Not to say I'm the laughing stock, just its a joy working with me, because who knows what will pop from my mouth. My boss' boss found that out yesterday. I'm happy to say, I still have a job.

I have been working on editing like crazy. I have stumbled a few times and found myself stuck on a paragraph. Its been daunting, but I haven't given up. I want my story to be bright and shiney when I start sending out queries so the agents can be amazed.  It seems like I haven't had much time to work on editing though. Every time I start getting into it, a small catastrophy occurs. First it was both vehicles breaking down. Then it was a custody hearing for the boys, and the filter on the fish tank clogging and me thinking I'm going to lose over 100 fish. Now there's a vacation across the country coming up. Its been a stressful summer. I am sad to say that I'm ready for school to start so I can get back to a semi-normal schedule.

I've also been reading a ton. I got an e-reader for my laptop and I read Bram Stoker's "Dracula" for the first time. Surprisingly, it has spurred a few vivid dreams. I also read a few romance novels (though I'm a little reluctant admitting that), and a few other older works. I've learned a lot about how they keep their story from becoming dated. Of course, when the way things are written or said changes, or spellings of certain words, it really doesn't matter how timeless the story is.

All of these things have been leading to something. And, at least to me, its a very big thing. I slept in this morning. Serioiusly over-slept. I haven't been able to do that in a while, and something amazing came out of it. I've been completely under-motivated for some time, just doing what I need to do and nothing more. I go to work, I come home, I clean, I cook, etc. etc. I lost track of time. The last couple of days, I've had somethings happen that have got me thinking about what I need to do and what I need to change in my life, and apparently, an overstimulated brain has a lot to work out in sleep.

This morning (okay... afternoon) I feel so refreshed and alert. I had the most amazing dream last night. And I remembered most of it. Its written down. I have an idea for a novel that I'll be starting A.S.A.P. I don't want to lose it. Perhaps, I will share some bits and pieces of it later, but for now, I need to keep it to myself.

I can't promise that I won't return to the hidey-hole of writing and editing that I've built myself, but I will at least try to make my disappearances marked, in case anyone begins to wonder if I've dropped off the planet. And who knows... it could happen, I suppose.

P.S.- If this is complete rubbish and gibberish that no one can understand, I'm very sorry. Even catching up on some of the missing sleep, I still am having some issues with coherency.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Review of "Strangers" by Dean Koontz

I have been putting off reading Dean Koontz for a while. I wanted the moment to be right. When I would have the time to actually devote myself to reading his works. And apparently I found that time. So, here's the review. Again, based on Anne Riley's reviewing format.

From the back of the book:
A terrifying and truly deadly secret--an eternal riddle come to reality--is what the protagonists of this relentlessly gripping novel sobconsiously share. Not one of them knows what the secret is, nor do they know each other. All they know is that a special terror has come to dominate and warp their lives. For each victim the torture is different.
  • For Dominick Corvaisis, in Laguna Beach, California, a writer on the verge of his first success, it means compulsive and increasing dangerous sleepwalking and awakening to cryptic and sinister messages on his word processor.
  • For you doctor Ginger Weiss in Boston, it means that unrelated objects--a pair of black gloves worn by a stranger, water swirling down a drain--have the power to send her into sudden blackouts that threaten her surgical career.
  • For Father Brennan Cronin in Chicago, an idealistic young curate, it means a precipitate loss of faith one morning when he hurls away the sacred vessels at Mass.
  • For Jack Twist in New York, an embittered ex-POW and safecracker par excellence, it means a searing wave of conscience.
  • For seven-year-old Marcie Monatella in Las Vegas, it means zombielike trances when she does nothing but draw pictures of a scarlet moon.
  • For Ernie Block, ex-Marine motel owner in Elko County, Nevada, it means a new fear of the dark so numbing that the approach of dusk reduces him to cowing paralysis.
These and other Strangers are utterly mystified until a pattern of puzzling clues and tentative contacts begins to surface. What could these disparate individuals have shared that would make powerful and ruthless agents strive so hard to make them forget it? Finding the answer, the Strangers stumble toward one another, leading to a stunning climax that will change their lives forever and provide the reader of this masterfully crafted novel with an experience haunting and unforgettable.

My thoughts:
Wow did this book give me the heebie-jeebies (which is saying a lot!). I really couldn't sit it down and even though I rarely did, it still took me about a week to get through it. Definitely one of those books that you need a dictionary for if you want to understand some of the words.

The books copyright is 1986. So the book is as old as I am. Crazy. Although it is 24 years old, I didn't find the reading to be dated. There were only a few instances where I really could tell this book was written a while back because of references to the wars. Other than that, I think Mr. Koontz did a fantastic job of making the material timeless.

His characters were fantastic and deep throughout the emotional state that he led them through. I felt for all of them and wanted to help them in some way (as though reading through the book faster would ease their suffering. LOL). He also did an excellent job of intergrating all the secondary characters into the story. In a way they seem almost like main characters just in the way they are so needed by the actual main characters. All of them were completely unforgettable.

The way the plot unfolded in this tale was perfect. So mysterious and frightening. And I was absolutely not disappointed by the revalation of this dark secret. Even the "bad guy" was good. You could actually see his way of thinking by the end of the story. He did his homework with this one. While not every term was explained, you could hear the terms the doctor and the curate would use on a regular basis. The thief's gear was explained well, and the people just seemed to fit together perfect. And the twists! I found myself surprised quite a bit throughout the whole story.

Book Rating: PG. I don't think there was any problems with language, though I could be wrong. Maybe an adult situation or two.

Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys a little thrill or mystery, but likes a happy ending.

Not recommended for: Anyone without good knowledge of the English language, or doesn't own a dictionary, or who doesn't care for looking up a few words here or there.

Overall Rating: 5/5