Rosehead – Reviewed!

 

Rosehead cover 1

    Rosehead is a novel by Ksenia Anske.  The story takes place at a family reunion when a mysterious rose garden attracts the attention of a young girl named Lillith Bloom.  Misunderstood, often dismissed, and ever curious, Lillith and her pet whippet set out to uncover the secrets lurking about in the garden.

   Lillith, our immensely intelligent and persistent lead, is an underdog who struggles to be heard and validated by her parents.  They attempt to medicate the child to suppress her outlandish imagination.  As the story progressed, I found myself wondering if the young girl was delusional just as her parents assumed or if the things that she encountered could actually be happening.  

   The fantastical occurrences in her grandfather’s mansion, as well as an ominous presence in the garden, are by no means material for a light-hearted read.  The character interactions between Lillith and Panther do provide a certain level of humor, but as the adventure unfolds like a sickly sweet flower, I began to realize that this is very much a fantasy tale for adults.  Try to imagine Guillermo del Toro and Tim Burton in a collaborative effort, and you will understand the scope of the mood and often gruesome occurrences.  

   This is a story that you will find lingering in your mind afterward, and personally I had become so attached to Lillith and Panther that I simply did not want the story to come to a close.  Although Lillith is a twelve year old girl, it’s surprisingly easy to follow along with her as the tale unfurls like a mysterious fog.  This is in part due to the fact that I felt as though Lillith wasn’t just attempting to prove to everyone at the reunion of the evil lurking right under their noses, but me as well.  What she uncovers is an ancient family secret filled with horrors and mischief unlike anything I’ve read before.  

    Ksenia Anske masterfully weaves a tale that I couldn’t put down.  It’s a book that will not disappoint, and I encourage all my readers to pick this one up.  You’ll find yourself pulled into it’s dark, mysterious world that will grip you in a thorny embrace, drawing blood.  

Check out an excerpt from the first chapter HERE 

You can purchase the book from her website HERE or from Amazon 

How Do You Measure Success As A Writer?

   What makes a successful writer?  One person stated on Twitter that a writer is successful when he emerges onto the best sellers list.  To me, this didn’t quite settle.  As a matter of fact, it festered.  There are so many talented writers that I have read or met that are not on any such list.  Their respected works are nothing short of genius, but perhaps they were not really the most common trending thing at the time.  That doesn’t make them any less successful in my opinion. Am I crazy?  Writers, to me, are storytellers.  They weave magic with words.  Some can make us laugh. Others can make us cry, and some can even make us afraid to turn out the lights at night.  These things are measures of success.  The writing process is a huge undertaking as well.  For many, simply being able to finish the story is, of itself, something to be very proud of.  By the time it reaches the reader, after numerous edits and sleepless nights, if they were able to capture a moment or stir an emotion then an immense accomplishment has been made. There are millions of storytellers out there, and many more that don’t carry the name of King or Rowling.  In my response to the tweet, I stated that: “If a writer finishes a tale, then he has already succeeded. Money is not always a #writers measure of success.” Image

Writing and Parenthood

ImageHello my crazy writing friends!  So, it’s been about a month since my last posting (terrible, I know) and you should all know that I am indeed still alive.  The pic above should help you to understand what I’ve been up to the most lately.  She was born 9.8 pounds, has a pair of lungs like a banshee, and the sweetest little smile that warms my heart on these surprisingly cold fall days.  There hasn’t been much progress on the novel since her birth, and I hear that is something that should be expected.  J.C. tells me that things should return to normal, and that I will be writing again soon enough.  I certainly hope so, of course.  It’s a good thing that at 2 months old, this little one is already sleeping through the night. 

Speaking of J.C. Hart, anyone who follows this blog or my related Twitter account should check out her blog and when possible, her published work.  She’s a really great writer, and friend, so turn your peepers over to the left hand column, scroll through the list of names until you find hers, and enjoy.

Now, I wanted to say that the novel has not been totally neglected during this period of my life.  Some of you know that the book has two story lines throughout that take place at different time periods.  I’ve well over 20k written on the investigation story arc, and have found a good pausing place to delve into the other.  It follows our mysterious killer at a young age, and tells how this person came about and what the circumstances were in his/her life that lead to the novels conclusion.  It’s been an interesting adventure, writing about a child, and I’ve had to shift my focus and style to accommodate the person’s age. 

I’m only around 2 thousand words into it, but at least I’ve found time to do so.  That being said, writers who are also parents of small children, certainly have their hands full.  There are times of doubt, times that I feel as though this book will never be finished by my deadline, but luckily I have some good friends that encourage me to believe otherwise. 

Now, it’s time to go change a diaper.  Have a productive day, and write on!

 

Ender’s Game

Here’s an interesting review that I found on Amazon from the author of Ender’s Game.

770 of 807 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars The Author Says a Few Words About Style, September 7, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Ender’s Game (Paperback)

First, I’m embarrassed, as the author, that I have to give a rating in “stars” in order to comment here. But since I do have to do so, I’m not about to bring down the average by rating my own book any less than five <grin>.

For those who didn’t believe the storyline, I can’t offer much help. It IS fiction, but people have different levels of tolerance for extravagant variations from their experience in everyday life. As Johnny Carson used to say, “Buy the premise, buy the bit.”

For those who have commented that the reason the book is awful is because I don’t describe, or my language is so very direct and plain, I must point out that there are several stylistic traditions available to a writer. I, for one, have little patience with writers who show off and try to dazzle readers with their language. The style I choose to use has been called “The American Plain Style,” in which the author tries to become as invisible as possible, bringing the reader to see things as if experiencing them along with the character, instead of having a writer constantly commenting and interrupting the flow of the story. Moreover, ever since my days as a playwright I have preferred the bare stage to a realistic set: I found that the less I put on the stage, the more the audience would imagine a much more compelling set than I could ever build. Likewise, in my fiction I describe only as much as is asbsolutely necessary in order to understand what is going on; the rest, the readers create in their own imagination, if they’re willing to use it. I try never to describe anything that the point-of-view character would not notice, because such extraneous descriptions take you out of the story. However, when I find it necessary I do describe, and when it is useful (especially at moments of denouement or release) I use more evocative language; some of my story endings (though not Ender’s Game) are written as blank verse, though of course I run the lines together so as not to distract the reader. I am also constantly aware of the sound and rhythm of the language, so that it flows and remains pronounceable, since at an unconscious level readers all “read aloud” even if their lips don’t move – the written word is inexorably tied to the spoken.

In short, there are many aspects to style, and while those who complain about the style of Ender’s Game are entitled to their preferences, it’s rather parochial to condemn a book because the author is following a stylistic tradition with which they are unfamiliar. Of course, they are hardly to be blamed for this, since so many literature teachers in American colleges and universities teach as if there were only one way to write well, and one kind of story worth telling.

Of course, those who approached Ender’s Game skeptically or because they were “forced” to read it can hardly imagine their response is valid for those who read it as volunteers or with belief: No book, however good, can survive a hostile reading.

In the end, a storyteller tells the tale that he believes in and cares about, and the natural audience consists of those readers who are also willing to believe in and care about that tale. Naturally, I would like to engage as many readers as possible with each story I write; just as naturally, every story ever written pleases some and offends others. I do think, though, that it is possible to detest a book without attacking people who loved it, and I do wish that those who disliked Ender’s Game would not personally disparage the readers for whom the story had some particular importance. Such judgments as “best I ever read” or “complete waste of time” are so utterly subjective that in my opinion, at least, one should only report one’s own response, not condemn others for having a different one.

I thank those of you who have given your hearts to my story of Ender Wiggin; I also thank those who, while you did not like the book, wrote your negative views with dignity and with reasonable respect for others – including, I might add, the author, who, while he might have written a bad book, did not thereby commit a crime or unnatural act. <grin> If America can forgive Bill Clinton, surely there’s room for a bit of forgiveness for the imperfections of a few bad writers now and then.

– Orson Scott Card