I'm pleased to announce that at the start of December I will be having a book sale on Amazon. All three Kindle versions of my books will go on sale for either 99 cents or for free. There's a little something for everyone. The Changelings in an epic fantasy in the style of The Lord of the Rings. Three Floating Coffins is an original fairy tale adventure good for older kids and teens. Captured in Color is a collection of brief stories for people with only a few minutes to spare between decorating and buying gifts. Paperback versions of each one are also for sale on Amazon.
For as long as she can remember, Sylvie has embraced her role as the priest's obedient daughter. All she wants is to marry her fiance and lead a quiet, normal life. But between droughts, food shortages, and the slow invasion of her desert homeland, even those modest dreams seem out of reach. Then one sweltering summer day, her best friend Matthew reveals a devastating secret. Sylvie is a Changeling: a fantastical creature given human form and switched with the priest's real daughter. And she's not the only one.
What happens when you can no longer trust your family? This is what 13-year old Odele wonders when she and her two older sisters are sealed in coffins and cast into the sea by their father, the king. A priest has prophesied that one of the princesses holds magic that will destroy the kingdom. Only Odele knows the truth. The priest is lying. On the run and unsure of who she can trust, Odele undertakes a journey to find the one thing that may defeat the evil priest: a magical amulet her mother hid years ago. With time running out, Odele must pry open the secrets of the past before she loses her family forever.
A magical necklace that strangles whoever betrays its owner. A plum wine shared between a Japanese ghost and an American exchange student. A stalker who paints portraits of the love he can never see. Eight miniature science fiction and fantasy stories capture moments of love, loss, and choice that shape the characters and the world they live in. Perfect for those who want a daub of inspiration and a spatter of philosophy to brighten their day.
On a personal note, for the first time ever, I'm going to be running an advertising campaign on Amazon. I've never done this before, so wish me luck! I also want to say thanks to everyone who's supported me this past year: anyone who's purchased and read a book, who's written a review, who's recommended my books to a friend, or who's passed on a link to one of my blog posts. I am so grateful! As a small independent publisher, I do not have a large advertising budget or big stores selling my book, so I appreciate everyone who helps to spread the word. Happy Holidays and have a wonderful day!
Destroyer is a prestige, independent picture from Annapurna Pictures that came out last December and which I recently found on Hulu. It is a modern day noir story set in L.A. that features a female detective, Erin Bell, played by Nicole Kidman. 17 years ago, Erin, a local sheriff deputy, worked undercover with FBI agent Chris (Sebastian Stan) to infiltrate drug-dealers-turned-armed robbers, led by Silas (Toby Kebbell). Something goes wrong, and Chris winds up dead. In the present day, Erin gets a message from Silas. He’s back, and she intends to find him. The two stories, past and present, are woven together via a series of flashbacks. There is also a subplot about Erin’s daughter, Shelby, starting to go down a bad path, most likely due to Erin’s horrific parental neglect.
Right off the bat, I can tell you that Destroyer suffers from too little story. The two-hour run-time is padded out with many of Erin’s intense, inscrutable stares. The present-day plot involves Erin revisiting old gang members, one by one, and asking them questions until they obligingly answer. There isn’t really a mystery to solve, just stakeouts and interrogations. The past plotline of Erin’s undercover assignment is muted of danger and suspense. Destroyer is a character-driven story where the main character is an inscrutable cipher. There is strong acting, especially from the supporting cast, and individual scenes are well-crafted. It has potential, but the weakness of the story holds it back.
I’m not an expert on the noir genre, but I was introduced to the concept in college. I understand the tradition of the alcoholic detective who uses his fists to get from point A to point B. Does it, however, work in modern day? And does it work when you gender-flip the detective? In Destroyer, it does not. Rather than view Erin as hard-boiled, I saw her as incompetent.
(Click to see full review. Potentially some spoilers. I do describe scenes, including scenes at the end, but I try not to give away twists and important details. If this bothers you, you may want to see the movie first.)
I’m trying out a new section of my blog called “Writing Stories,” where I’m going to let you in to how my writing process works. Last time I talked about preparing for Nanowrimo, or National Novel Writing Month, and the struggles of brainstorming in a way that was both disciplined and spontaneous. Well, I finished October on a strong note, having written 26 pages of notes and decided that I was going to tackle the end of Sylvie's arc (3 chapters) in The Originals (sequel to The Changelings), and, if that didn't take up enough words, the middle section of Company. With that in mind, I sat down to write...
Friday, November 1, 2019
I pull up my computer and stare at my blank computer screen. I shouldn’t be scared, because I’ve done this a million times, but I can’t seem to start. It’s late in the evening, around 7:00 PM, and my room is a mess. I’m still tired from Halloween, I’m thinking of how baby-sitting my nephews on Saturday is going to cut into my writing time, I’m thinking about how I’m going to finish these chapters.
Even if I ignore all the stuff on Company, even if I just focus on three chapters of The Originals, it seems impossible. I’m supposed to supposed to write structured scenes. I’m supposed to be in the moment. Which moment? There’s a million of them? I don’t want to re-write what I already have—but I can’t remember what I have. Should I re-read everything? It seems overwhelming.
Title: Suicidal Samurai: Meiji Mysteries Book One
Author: Sarah G. Rothman
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Action
In 1878, a tall Japanese cowboy in a black duster arrives at the port of Yokohama, Japan. Fifteen years ago, Makoto Mori’s family was killed by the Shinsengumi, the infamous corps of Shogun loyalists. Makoto survived by hiding in a ship bound for America. Now, in the Meiji era, he’s come home for revenge. But before Makoto can gather his bearings, he finds a dead man in his hotel, a man who has seemingly committed suicide. The dead man, Watanabe, was an associate of actress Helen Arkwright’s industrialist husband. While she plays detective, the bumbling policeman Kotaro Yamada thinks he knows who the real killer is: Makoto, “the man in black.” As Makoto, Helen, and Kotaro collide, they uncover a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Japan.
I bought this book last June, when I was at the Local Author’s Showcase at Cumberland County Library, because of all the books for sale, Suicidal Samurai appealed most to me. I love mysteries and I love the Meiji era in Japan. In fact, I lived in Japan for three years and made it a point to study the bakumatsu, a chaotic period when the two hundred year reign of the Tokugawa Shogunate came violently to an end and the stage was set for rapid modernization under the Meiji era. I read the first couple of the chapters, and the prose flowed smoothly. It didn’t seem like high literature, but I thought it might be a fun read.
Fifty pages in, the struggle began. There was nothing really wrong with Suicidal Samurai, but there was nothing really right, either. This could be me--I’m very picky--but when I read a book, I want to learn something, to feel something, to experience sights and sounds I can only imagine. When I read Suicidal Samurai, I didn’t feel strongly one way or the other. The prose was competent but did not have an artistic signature. I could see what was happening, but I did not get swept up in the moment. It was fine but not novel, and so I found myself getting bored.
Writer. Critic. Dreamer.