I wrote a review for a suspenseful vampire novel, The Beauty in Darkness, and it was published on Indie Reader, a useful website that features critiques of a wide range of self-published books. I’d really appreciate if you could check it out! Thanks!
I haven’t posted since November 2 because I’ve been trying to focus my writing elsewhere: my novel. One of the many that I’ve considered, discarded, revived, let fall to the wayside, remembered again. It’s a fantasy story set in another world—well, five other worlds, really. There will be kings, and prophecies, and magic. There will, I hope, be intriguing characters and surprising plot twists. There will be hundreds of pages and hundreds of thousands of words.
I’m a summer girl. I wear humidity like
a second skin. Sunshine means freedom,
hope, peace. I even love the stench of
this city. And during rainstorms, I walk
barefoot and joyous in its streets.
I learn to feel all things completely.
But this year the chill doesn’t bother me
so much. It reminds me I am flesh,
tissue and muscle and bone—and inside
an untouchable core: a tabernacle
for all the words I have yet to say.
I learn to let them go.
As some of you know, I self-published a poetry book, “An Unfamiliar Ache,” in late 2010. It collects together material spanning the three or four years prior, and I have to admit that it includes much more teenage angst than I remember. As I flip back through its pages, I realize that most of the poems need work. Some of them need to be trashed altogether. They only represent a small sliver of the work I created during that time, and it reminds me of how much and how often I used to write.
It’s like a good book
that holds you
from start to end
in the hazy transition
between asleep and awake.
I used to know how to write
a poem about anything
rain patter on the window, lanterns
strung up in the garden, breathing
and listening and
inside there is a space
that longs to be filled
miles logged on hot asphalt
will take you far away
from that stark void
that glimpse into the Real
but eventually you have to come
back home and I will be here
Ted Conover really knows how to craft a journalistic narrative that draws the reader in and doesn’t let them go until the very last page. He takes facts and details and conversations and experiences and turns them into a story that readers can relate to, even if you’ve never been to Sing Sing (where he worked as a corrections officer) or China (one of the roads he focused on in his latest book, Routes of Man). Even after I’ve returned one of his books to my shelf–the top one, where it snuggles against the Tim O’Briens and the Haruki Murakamis–the broader themes that he tackles stay with me.
In his first book, Rolling Nowhere, Ted stole aboard freight trains and road the rails, learning the ropes and getting to know the hobos who called that life their own. He embraced adventure and turned what could have been awkward social encounters into opportunities to learn about a little-explored phenomenon. Now, married and the author of four additional books, Ted has finally returned to the rails. And this time, he brought along his son. I highly recommend reading his latest article, “My Train-Hopping Odyssey Through the American West,” in which he introduces his son Asa to life on the rails and struggles with the twin desires to let Asa get a taste of adventure and to protect him from what is, admittedly, a somewhat dangerous outing.