2017 Book Ranking

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This year I read 31 books. One of them was mine.

If you like paranormal fantasy or medical dramas, check out Parasomnia by Eric Desmarais

5 Stars

  1. Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1) By Grant, Mira
  2. Every Heart a Doorway(Wayward Children, #1) By McGuire, Seanan
  3. Daughters of Britain By Carrière, S.M.
  4. Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10) By Christie, Agatha
  5. Once Broken Faith (October Daye #10) By McGuire, Seanan
  6. Haunted Mansion By Williamson, Joshua
  7. Voltron: Legendary Defender, Volume 1 By Hedrick, Tim
  8. Redshirts By Scalzi, John
  9. The Winter Long (October Daye, #8) By McGuire, Seanan
  10. Oddly Normal, Book 3 By Frampton, Otis
  11. Fowl Language: The Struggle Is Real By Gordon, Brian
  12. Dungeonology (Ologies, #13) By Forbeck, Matt
  13. Space Mall By Shaw, Natalie

4 Stars

  1. Temporally Out of Order By Palmatier, Joshua
  2. Spider-Gwen, Vol. 0: Most Wanted? By Latour, Jason
  3. Magic for Nothing (InCryptid, #6) By McGuire, Seanan
  4. Tortall: A Spy’s Guide By Pierce, Tamora
  5. Chimes at Midnight (October Daye, #7) By McGuire, Seanan
  6. Ashes of Honor (October Daye, #6) By McGuire, Seanan
  7. A Red-Rose Chain (October Daye, #9) By McGuire, Seanan
  8. Hi Mom! Hi Dad! By Johnston, Lynn

3 Stars

  1. Mik Murdoch: Crisis of Conscience By Plested, Michell
  2. The Mist By King, Stephen
  3. Delegates and Delegation(Schlock Mercenary, #15) By Tayler, Howard
  4. You Can’t Come in Here! (You’re Invited to a Creepover, #2) By Night, P.J.
  5. Silent Night (Fear Street Super Chiller, #2) By Stine, R.L.
  6. Virga: Sun of Suns By Schroeder, Karl
  7. The Librarians and the Lost Lamp (The Librarians #1) By Cox, Greg

2 Stars

  1. The Time Twister By Petaja, Emil
  2. Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1) By Cline, Ernest

 

What was your favourite book for 2017?

Éric

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Halloween fun

This weekend is Halloween, and if you’re looking for something last-minute to do, I’m sure there’s a Halloween party just around the corner. In Ottawa, Can-Con will have Trick-or-Treating in the vendor’s room all day, and it’s free to the public, so be sure to stop by!

But if you’re looking for something a little further from home and off the beaten path, here are some great last-minute options!

Ithaca, New York

Do you like Harry Potter? Would you be interested in visiting Diagon Alley? For five hours on Halloween, Ithaca NY is transforming Press Bay Alley into Diagon Alley and I desperately want to go!! There will be a House Cup Competition, a Horcrux Hunt, a costume contest, presentations on magical creatures, wizarding chess, Quidditch re-enactments, wizarding duels, and so much more! This is their first event, so maybe I’ll be able to go next year…

A real-life Diagon Alley in Ithaca! I want to go!
A real-life Diagon Alley in Ithaca! I want to go! Image from http://ithacavoice.com/

The Catacombs of Paris

You would have had to enter the contest with Airbnb, but two lucky (or unlucky?) winners will be the first people to spend Halloween night in the Catacombs under Paris – the home of seven million corpses. Dinner, a private concert, breakfast, and a storyteller will put them to sleep with creepy bedtime stories “guaranteed to produce nightmares”. Who would like to participate in this? Certainly not me!

Hope the winners never saw the terrifying horror movie As Above, So Below or it’s trailer.

Creepy! Image from www.i.telegraph.co.uk
Creepy! Image from www.i.telegraph.co.uk

The Stanley Hotel in Colorado

The Stanley Hotel is one of the most haunted hotels in the world. It was the setting for Stephen King’s “The Shining”. Reportedly haunted by Lord Stanley and his wife, as well as kids who run along the fourth floor halls at two in the morning, and many others, this would be the place to go to test yourself. It is open for business, and hosts a Ghost Adventure Package as well as standard room packages.

Just don’t order the Redrum…

The Stanley Hotel. Image from www.stanleyhotel.com
The Stanley Hotel. Image from www.stanleyhotel.com

If you are interested in going on any of these cruises, or others. You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Happy Haunting!


References

https://www.facebook.com/events/1633034433638155/
http://ithacavoice.com/2015/10/2400-harry-potter-fans-to-transform-ithaca-street-into-diagon-alley/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11929209/Airbnb-offers-Halloween-night-in-Paris-Catacombs.html
http://www.stanleyhotel.com/

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PsyCorps Academy – Story and Proof-of-Concept

Hello,

I don’t talk with many other authors about their process for writing. It usually feels like prying. I’ve read lots of great books about the craft of writing and lot of blogs telling people how to write or how not to write.

I’ve learned that everyone does something different. I know that Stephen King normally writes his books in chronological order, while Neil Gaiman writes scenes and then ties them together. Some people plot out every scene and others don’t. Some type some use a pen or pencil.

One thing that I do that I’ve never heard anyone else doing was writing a proof-of-concept. I’ve done it for each of my novels so far and I find it extremely useful in find the right tone and feel. I find it extremely useful.

This post was a proof-of-concept for Parasomnia, and if you ever get the chance to read the novel you’ll realize that they’re completely different. What I learned from it was that I enjoyed the tone and the mirroring of dreams.

The following is a proof-of-concept for a novel I’m thinking of writing that’s set in the far future where 1 in a billion people is a Psionic. Each kind of Psionic is separated into a guild and that guild is like their family and decides what they do as a living. Precogs are the pilots and body guards, Telekinetic are the soldiers for hire, etc.

But at the core of the story I want it to be about a girl who has three of the eight possible powers and how she deals with training in the PsyCorps Academy. It should be a riff on the Boarding School stories, like Harry Potter, but in the future, with Psychic powers. I’d like it to have the feel of the Tamora Pierce Tortall novels (The Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small books), with a hint of Star Trek and Babylon 5.

After writing this I think it didn’t have the tone of awe or sci-fi that I wanted. I think the character acts too young for her age and I think I need to go to third person to better describe the effects.

I am still extremely interested in writing this novel and it most likely will be my 2015 writing project.

Read the Proof-Of-Concept after the break.

Let me know what you think. Please!

*Warning: There is some violence and an attempted sexual assault*

Read morePsyCorps Academy – Story and Proof-of-Concept

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Responses and Houses. Yay!

I have a lot of stuff to talk about today so let’s split it up into topics.

House

Let’s start with the good news. My wife and I have bought a house. My in-laws have been a great help throughout the process and I am lucky to have them. We’re moving on the 29th of March, which means I’ll be crazy stupid busy for the next month. I’m trying to fight down the panic right now.

Who thought moving 800+movies and 2300+ books would be so much work?

Writing

On Writing by Stephen King

The last book I wrote came together in amazing and beautiful ways, for me anyways. It was a culmination of three years’ worth of thinking and planning.

This new book isn’t like that. Writing is hard. No seriously, some days I wonder why I bother. I’ve been writing a novel a year for the past three years and I’m now a third of the way through my fifth novel and sometimes I feel like it’s just too much work.

Then I start writing and realize how much joy it brings me. It’s a feeling that I have to hold onto even in my most depressed and insecure moments.

But sometimes it would be nice to get appreciation from someone who doesn’t know me.

Publisher Response

In that vein, I received word from one of the two publishers yesterday. It’s a kinda rejection and possibly the nicest I’ve received. That’s saying something, I’ve been rejected several dozen times (not much compared to most authors but I’m still young and haven’t written enough short stories) and they’ve all be extremely nice about it. I’ve really only received 2 kinds of rejections; the nice ones and the “no response” rejections.

They basically said they liked the story and the characters but that it needed a good rewrite and editing. The word “compelling” was used which I take as a great compliment.

The only part that stung was that they said it read like a first draft. It was my sixth draft and third rewrite. I’ve reached the point with the book were I know I need professional help. (Insert Psychologist joke here!) They did say I could resubmit once I had reedited and rewrote the novel.

It makes sense, they’re a smaller publishing company and my book needs an editor, which is expensive. I’ll wait and see what the other publishing house says and then I’ll have to look for an editor. Unfortunately editors are expensive and we just bought a house.

Anyone know a good editor that won’t cost me more than a used car?

As I said I’m still waiting on one reply for this novel and I’m waiting on a short story anthology. I’m still hopeful.

I would like to thank the publishing house for the sweet things they said… so if you’re reading, thank you.

Silver Stag Entertainment

I’ve really been enjoying being a guest of this podcast for the past few weeks. It’s great to sit around and chat about movies and books with smart and funny people.

I was on the panel this week for The Diamond Throne by David Eddings.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm7qhKtNFlo]

Survey

Tomorrow is the last day to fill in our survey so if you want to win that 10$ gift card this is your chance.

Go do the survey, Only 2 Days left.

contest

Thank you for listening. Tomorrow you’ll get to choose who dies in my newest novel.

Éric

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The Shining by Stephen King – Book Review

Stephen King is a fantastic author, a man that truly understands his characters and how to scare his audience. He’s best known for his horror but has written some amazing science fiction, fantasy, and heartwarming works.

The Shining is probably one of his best known works due to the Kubric movie adaptation.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Characters

I liked

There are five main characters in the book and we see a glimpse into each one but we mostly see the development of the Torrence Family. All in excruciating detail. They each feel real and like friends going through a terrible time.

I didn’t like

If you haven’t seen the movie or tv adaptation, you still know how this will end. It’s a large shadow of inevitability. It was amazingly done but the slow decent into madness was almost painful as a reader. I understand that was the goal but it was difficult to read and made me want to stop.

For characters, I give it 5 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

King has an amazing way of swinging from exist descriptions to crude turns of phrase. Often he even mixes them. When we saw from Jack’s (the father) point of view, it was often filled with clichéd thoughts or crude turns of phrase. Almost as if King was trying to tell us that Jack as a writer wasn’t as good as he believed.

In contrast when we followed Danny (the son) his thoughts were poetic and beautiful. In the way that kids’ minds often are. Showing him to be the real hero.

I didn’t like

Often things were repeated from different viewpoints in what felt needless. The repetition served to remind us what was going to happen and why but it felt like it was overdone. That said it was written for an audience 35 years ago that might not have been as savvy with genre concepts.

I give it 3 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The story was set in one location for most of the book. Despite the stagnation in place, there is always a feeling that something is happening and that we are going somewhere with the story.

All the events are foreshadowed. Everything is structured and the book doesn’t pull any punches in scariness or character pain.

I didn’t like

The moments of joy are all at the beginning and a little at the end. This isn’t a happy story. It doesn’t pretend to be.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

I loved the characters and the writing. It’s a true classic in horror literature. It was overall very well done.

I didn’t like

I knew what would happen and I didn’t like it. It made reading harder than it should have. Less the fault of the author and more the fault of the reader.

I give it 2 out of 5 for fun

Overall

The book is very different than the movies. Make sure to check your preconceptions at the door.

This isn’t the best Stephen King novel I’ve read but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s an amazing book. If you like horror and don’t mind a sad book, it’s more than worth the read.

Final score is 70%

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The Shining by Stephen King – Book Review

Stephen King is a fantastic author, a man that truly understands his characters and how to scare his audience. He’s best known for his horror but has written some amazing science fiction, fantasy, and heartwarming works.

The Shining is probably one of his best known works due to the Kubric movie adaptation.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Characters

I liked

There are five main characters in the book and we see a glimpse into each one but we mostly see the development of the Torrence Family. All in excruciating detail. They each feel real and like friends going through a terrible time.

I didn’t like

If you haven’t seen the movie or tv adaptation, you still know how this will end. It’s a large shadow of inevitability. It was amazingly done but the slow decent into madness was almost painful as a reader. I understand that was the goal but it was difficult to read and made me want to stop.

For characters, I give it 5 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

King has an amazing way of swinging from exist descriptions to crude turns of phrase. Often he even mixes them. When we saw from Jack’s (the father) point of view, it was often filled with clichéd thoughts or crude turns of phrase. Almost as if King was trying to tell us that Jack as a writer wasn’t as good as he believed.

In contrast when we followed Danny (the son) his thoughts were poetic and beautiful. In the way that kids’ minds often are. Showing him to be the real hero.

I didn’t like

Often things were repeated from different viewpoints in what felt needless. The repetition served to remind us what was going to happen and why but it felt like it was overdone. That said it was written for an audience 35 years ago that might not have been as savvy with genre concepts.

I give it 3 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The story was set in one location for most of the book. Despite the stagnation in place, there is always a feeling that something is happening and that we are going somewhere with the story.

All the events are foreshadowed. Everything is structured and the book doesn’t pull any punches in scariness or character pain.

I didn’t like

The moments of joy are all at the beginning and a little at the end. This isn’t a happy story. It doesn’t pretend to be.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

I loved the characters and the writing. It’s a true classic in horror literature. It was overall very well done.

I didn’t like

I knew what would happen and I didn’t like it. It made reading harder than it should have. Less the fault of the author and more the fault of the reader.

I give it 2 out of 5 for fun

Overall

The book is very different than the movies. Make sure to check your preconceptions at the door.

This isn’t the best Stephen King novel I’ve read but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s an amazing book. If you like horror and don’t mind a sad book, it’s more than worth the read.

Final score is 70%

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Quickies: Book Reviews for December 2012 to March 2013

I read a lot of books while I was writing my last novel and I didn’t get a chance to write reviews. Here are the quickie reviews for each of the books I read.

The Colorado Kid – Stephen King

Characters: 5/5

Writing Style: 4/5

Story: 3/5

Fun: 3/5

Overall: Great book that proves you can have an interesting story without it resolving. Not recommended for those of you who really don’t like loose ends.

75%

WWW Series – Robert J. Sawyer (Wake, Watch, and Wonder)

Characters: 5/5

Writing Style: 4/5

Story: 4/5

Fun: 5/5

Overall: This isn’t just an amazing sci-fi series; it’s a beautiful story and an educational experience. I highly recommend it. Easily my favourite Sawyer book so far.

90%

 Doctor Who: The Angel’s Kiss – Justin Richards

Characters: 3/5

Writing Style: 3/5

Story: 3/5

Fun: 4/5

Overall: Fun little book. If you like the new series of Doctor Who and like River Song, you’ll enjoy this book. The plot is predictable and River is a little overdone but it was fun.

65%

Doctor Who 50th anniversary Books

A Big Hand for the Doctor – Eoin Colfer

Doctor Who: The Nameless City – Michael Scott

Doctor Who: The Spear of Destiny – Marcus Sedgwick

Characters: 4/5

Writing Style: 4/5

Story: 3/5

Fun: 4/5

Overall: These novelettes are written by people who truly understand the doctor’s they’re writing. I feel like I’m reading a Doctor Who, mini special. That being said, they’d be a little confusing for someone who doesn’t know the Doctor in question.

75%

Over my Dead Body – Teresa Wilde

Characters: 4/5

Writing Style: 3/5

Story: 4/5

Fun: 4/5

Overall: I found this on Kobo on sale for 97 cents and I regret no having paid more. This was a great story filled with a great world and wonderful characters.

75%

Assimilation Squared – Scott Tipton, David Tipton, and Tony Lee

Characters: 2/5

Writing Style: 4/5

Story: 3/5

Fun: 3/5

Overall: As much as I wanted to love this series they were just ok. I found the portrayal of the Doctor to be spot on but the Star Trek TNG crew to be lack luster. It was a quick read but if it wasn’t my two favourite geek properties I wouldn’t have bought these.

60%

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Characters: 4/5

Writing Style: 3/5

Story: 3/5

Fun: 3/5

Overall: By far my least favourite of the Sherlock Holmes collections. It truly felt like Doyle was tired of Holmes and had to prove that his beloved character was flawed and not as great as we thought. And then he kills him off with no foreshadowing.

65%

Doctor Who: Summer Falls – Amelia Williams

Characters: 3/5

Writing Style: 4/5

Story: 4/5

Fun: 5/5

Overall: This book was shown in an episode of Doctor Who and was “written” by one of the characters who are no longer on the show. It has some surprises for fans but the book is strong and stands on its own. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy or science fiction.

80%

Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury

Characters: 3/5

Writing Style: 4/5

Story: 4/5

Fun: 3/5

Overall: This is a classic and the archetype for carnival horror, but I don’t think its Bradbury’s best book. I enjoyed parts of it but it felt like a short story dragged too long. It had some fantastic ideas but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re a huge Bradbury fan.

70%

Devil in the Smoke – Justin Richards

Characters: 4/5

Writing Style: 4/5

Story: 4/5

Fun: 5/5

Overall: Another Doctor Who novel but this one is unlike any of the others. It was brilliantly written, every character spot on, and the story was so much fun. I could only wish that this author would write a series with these characters.

85%

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