October Submission Blitz 2015 – Success

October 12, 2015 at 5:03 pm (horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , )

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Day 12 of my blitz and 12 submissions complete, several of them to pro-rate venues.  The good news is that I’ve already received two responses and both of them were acceptances.  I’ll post the details when I’m free to share them.

My scary little girl of the day is a classic C – Carrie.  Stephen King’s start as the King of Horror began  with a teenage disaster who found supernatural powers to go with her adolescent angst when she reached puberty.  Throw in a crazy zealot of a mother, school bullies and a bucket of pig’s blood and say hello to a freak out of epic proportions.

And for a bonus today, a review.  Here’s one for Ren Garcia’s Stenibelle:

With this installment Ren Garcia’s Shadow Tech Goddess series, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It had all of the wonderful world crafting and characterizations typical of his writing, but with its female protagonist/PoV, I was a little wary about how I would connect with the story.

I like to see stories that give female characters plenty of agency, especially adventure stories, and that’s difficult in the Victorian-esque patriarchal social-settings common to Garcia’s League of Elders series. It allows for dashing male heroes wielding great power and charm, but the female characters before this novel ,have been either demure, villainous, or struggling to control and wield what power they have – bordering on insane, damaged by their power or seeking isolation at the expense of their relationships.

In this vein, Stenibelle is at a disadvantage compared to her male counterparts right from the start. She starts at a major low and swings out far in the other direction to the point of arrogance and aggression, and I found myself hoping there would be some balance to come. Despite my frustration with her situation and her behaviour, the story was still very enjoyable.

At first Stenibelle didn’t have her own agency – “lesser” than her male counterparts – and she had to have an extra hand up. Considering her social setting, however, there was no way of avoiding some disadvantage because of her gender. My discomfort at her struggles is a compliment to the author’s storytelling skills – I wouldn’t have felt frustrated in the face of her circumstances if I hadn’t been so invested in the characters and the storyline.

There are other examples of empowered female characters in the story. Gwen was very strong in this book, despite getting beaten in a physical fight. Stenibelle was using unfair tactics to win and Gwen took the loss graciously without being cowed by it.

Alesta is also empowered, and my favourite character in the book. She works outside the boundaries of society because of her spiritual beliefs. She does what she feels is right and sometimes that meant being assertive. She’s quite powerful even though she is humble about it and doesn’t resort to throwing that power around carelessly.

Stenibelle, or Bel, does undergo growth of character. With the help of her friends, Bel, finds her agency and owns who she is. As Bel’s confidence grows it changes her dynamic with other characters, such as the bullying, villainous Professor Shurlamp. Shurlamp then has less power over her.

I really liked the changes that happen at this point in the book. Bel had to shake free the shackles of societal expectations and the unwarranted doubt it had created within her. Then she assumes responsibility for her fate directing the outcome of her adventure. In the end, I thought that this was one of Ren Garcia’s best stories yet. I look forward to the next one in this series.

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The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Ren Garcia Returns

October 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm (fantasy, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Sands of the Solar Empire – by Ren Garcia

I don’t think Ren Garcia will ever write anything I don’t like. I’m a big fan. But I felt like he was toying with me a little with this book. The reader is provided with a great space fantasy adventure, with plenty of dead-ends for our heroes and seemingly impossible situations (at first). It is a fun, quirky, fast-paced tale with his typical larger-than-life heroic characters. And then…

Before I continue, I’ll have to tell you, I have a very linear brain. I like stories, unless they involve time-travel, to follow a definitive path. Any criticism I have about the non-linear qualities of this story are no commentary on the quality of this book – it is a wonderful read – but rather on my peculiar preferences. I still loved this book, but it drove me crazy reading it.

The story jumps back to events preceding the front-end action, following Belmont (or Bel as his friends call him), our hero, right back to the time prior to his birth. His adventures are thrilling. He’s a very sexy character with womanizing ways and a highly unusual family. Description of his household, his sisters, his encounters with demons and the ladies he interacts with are colourful and vividly detailed. The plot is just as intricate as his earlier novels and his world-building just as sublime.

As much as I liked this “reminiscing”, the opening storyline niggled at the back of my brain, a constant distraction while I followed the rest of the book. I wanted to know what happened to the folks he had left in the lurch, to the point where I was practically chewing my nails down to the nubs out of the frustration of having to wait.

It was worth the wait, but in the end I was left with enough loose ends that now I’m going to have to deal with more waiting for the next book. Nevertheless, I’d definitely recommend picking up this book, another addition to a fantastic series.

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