Things have been very busy for me through January. While I haven’t been blogging much, I have been working on book three of Darkness Falling. It’s coming along at a slow but steady pace, which is a nice change from my year of writing struggles.
I also have plans for new book covers for the trilogy once I’ve finished book three. I’m still figuring out how to achieve my vision, but I don’t think it will be as hard as it seems right now.
Some of my other projects are also coming along. I have several other books I’m working on in early stages. My goal is to finish book three and then have a couple of other projects far enough along to lessen the time gap between publishing. I also have an idea for an anthology series that will span the history of a fictional world from creation to futuristic times.
I’m still working on updating the blog. I’ve added a new set of pages to showcase other indie and small press authors. These books are all books that I’ve read and have given five stars. Being an indie author is a lot of work and marketing is difficult. I hope this will give other authors a bit of a boost, even though my own platform is still very small. I will be adding to these pages over time.
This post will contain spoilers for The Walking Dead which aired November 6th, 2016. If you haven’t seen the episode, turn back now!
Last night The Walking Dead took us along for the ride with Daryl and his adventures with Negan. These adventures include being locked in a dark closet and tortured with super happy music all day. Sometimes Dwight, (also known as Burned Face Guy,) would take Daryl for a stroll in the yard, which consists of a big cage full of zombies and prisoners. The Savior’s main compound is big and prison-like, but if Daryl is a good boy and decides to join Negan, he’ll get a studio apartment including a bed, chair, kitchen, and even a TV so that he can watch himself on The Walking Dead. (I know they probably have a DVD player or something, but it was funny to see the TV in that room.)
We did get to learn a little bit more about Negan. He’s just as crazy as he first appeared, a real tyrant ruling over his army of loyal ants. How loyal are those ants, exactly? We also learned what happened with Dwight and his wife Sherri after her sister Tina died in the woods and they betrayed Daryl. This came via tell instead of show, where the villain gets to share a customary evil bad-guy speech.
Tina was supposed to be Negan’s fiancé, but she didn’t want to marry him. He was just being a nice guy allowing her to marry him so that she wouldn’t have to work so hard for her insulin anymore. Of course, Tina didn’t like that idea and the three of them ran off. Tina was eaten by zombies; Dwight and Sherri stole Daryl’s crossbow and motorcycle and returned to Negan. In order to save her husband, Sherri married Negan and Dwight worked himself up to being a big dog in the Savior’s army. Of course, he still had to have his face ironed. That’s unfortunate.
If we base the timeline of The Walking Dead on the age of Judith, who is still a baby under a year old, all of this has happened in the span of maybe one or two months. Negan is way more forgiving than expected! It’s fine that they didn’t spend a whole episode hanging with Sherri and Dwight, because last season had a lot of other important things going on. This type of storytelling is lesser than if we’d seen it happen, do we really care about Dwight and Sherri when they are torturing Daryl, who we all know and care about already? I’m guessing we’ll get to spend more time with Sherri and Dwight before it’s all done, but at this point, it’s their fault for returning to Negan instead of going with Daryl to Alexandria.
Also, I’m not the only one thinking “There is only one Negan vs. many unhappy people.” No matter how many people claim to be Negan, there is only one. As the escaped guy told Dwight, if there was an uprising he would be screwed. Too bad Dwight doesn’t seem to be the leader they need, not yet, anyway.
The leader they do need is Daryl.
Last night’s episode was another great look at the characterization from a fan favorite. Daryl is a prime example of how strong characterization can not only shape a story, but uphold it through dark times.We watch him take his torture silently, with that same stoicism we’ve all come to know. Even in the midst of fear, he still takes the opportunity to try to escape, reminding us of his resilience and confidence in his skills. Sherri begs him to go back, but he won’t, because he believes he can get away. After being recaptured, and forced to listen to Elvis crooning about loss, he finally lets it all out. I think, however; that just helped him grow stronger. Sometimes you just need a good cry.
We watch him take his torture silently, with that same stoicism we’ve all come to know. Even in the midst of fear, he still takes the opportunity to try to escape, reminding us of his resilience and confidence in his skills. Sherri begs him to go back, but he won’t, because he believes he can get away. After being recaptured, and forced to listen to Elvis crooning about loss, he finally lets it all out. I think, however; that just helped him grow stronger. Sometimes you just need a good cry.
Daryl knows what is at stake, but he won’t give up, and this is something we’ve seen from him since the first season. He could have turned against the group after Meryl was lost, but he stuck by them and continued to survive. When Negan asks him “Who are you?” he answers “I’m Daryl,” because he knows who he is at the core; he doesn’t need a false identity to know what he’s capable of.
Daryl is a true survivor, which probably isn’t true for a lot of Negan’s followers.
Negan lets him live. Why? Negan is building his character for us as well. Yes, he’s a crazy man with a baseball bat, but he’s also smart. He was smart enough to see the weaknesses in people and build the Saviors around fear. He also knows that there is only one Negan, which is why he’s trained his soldiers to say “I’m Negan.” By giving them a new and shared identity, he’s making them feel part of something bigger, pushing back against possible rebellion.
Those who do not wish to live under the tyranny of the Saviors need someone like Daryl, but Negan also needs Daryl. Killing him would be easy, but breaking him would prove a point to those witnessing the process.
If Negan’s soldiers can see a man like Daryl break down and change, then any misgivings they have about Negan will be quelled. It’s a dangerous game, and one I don’t think Negan will win, at least not in the way he wants. Daryl is walking a very fine line. Either he needs to start gaining support from Dwight and Sherri and others, or he’s probably going to die. A crazy man only has so much patience.
At the very end, Daryl makes his first move with Dwight. He understands. Dwight had to think about someone else, so he gave up. Daryl says that’s why he can’t, and at first it may seem like he’s saying “I don’t have anyone else to think of,” but I actually think this means the opposite. He has a lot of people to think about, everyone at Alexandria, and he can’t become a Savior because he can’t turn on them, even if it costs him his life. Again, this is the same characterization we’ve seen from Daryl before. He had an opportunity before to join a villainous group, but he can’t and he won’t.
Poor zombie nerd guy might have been a good ally if he knew about Daryl.
Sherri is in a prime position to do bad things to Negan, like poison or a knife to the throat if she has the guts and opportunity. Andrea never did with the Governor, but we don’t know Sherry very well.
Speaking of Sherri, I bet she’s going to be one of the first to rebel and possibly die.
Thanks for reading! If you have anything to add, please leave a comment.
A new version of Darkness Falling: Soldiers and Slaves is now available on Amazon. After receiving feedback through reviews that there were some typos and formatting errors, I re-edited the book and updated both the Kindle and paperback versions.
I also reworked the cover to be a darker. You can see the difference below.
Now that I’ve done this with Book One, I’m going to go ahead and do the same for Book Two. I haven’t received any feedback on Book Two yet, but I figure it’s just for good measure.
The nice thing about being an indie author is that we can take feedback and use it to improve our books. An example of this is how Andy Weir, author of The Martian, listened to the feedback of his readers and improved the story by making the science realistic. Because of that, he was able to reach his target audience, and eventually the world. If he had just said, “Yeah, well, this is just science fiction, so what if the chemistry is a little off? Most people won’t know,” things could have turned out very different.
Even if we do not achieve that type of success in our own writing, we can all use constructive feedback and turn it into a positive result. The goal is to always be improving. None of us are masters at our craft.
Thank you for reading and if you have anything to add, please feel free to in the comments.
I was tagged to do this sunshine game again. This time by Elle Karma. That means it’s different questions with new answers, so not exactly the same.
The way this game works is you answer eleven questions, nominate eleven people, and ask eleven questions. Okay, well, I’m kind of a hermit and re-nominating the same writers over and over isn’t for me. If you would like to nominate yourself to answer my questions, feel free! Then you can pass it along to others if you choose.
Here are the questions posed by Elle:
How many cups of coffee/tea/adult beverage must you consume to effectively write?
I do not require beverages to write. A cup of coffee or tea is nice to have, but not necessary. I do not drink adult beverages, because I have a very strong sense of taste and the alcohol overpowers me. I drink a lot of water, at least 64 oz a day.
What genre best describes your personality?
As much as i want to say something cool like fantasy, sci-fi, or maybe even mystery….. I’m going to have to go with self-help. I’m really good at being enthusiastic and cheering people on, but if I actually help them in any way isn’t clear.
If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., what would it be and why?
I feel no ill will to any state in particular. They call remain part of the Union…. for now….
A penguin walks through your door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
The penguin would say, without taking a breath, “What do you mean my doctor wants me to be seen for my diabetes? I know my blood test was really high, (and has been for the last 5 years,) but I wasn’t fasting. I already know everything about diabetes because I took a class in 1982, and I’m sure that absolutely no new research or information could help me. Also my doctor said this was free, but now you’re telling me it’s not free? What? Everything your doctor recommends is automatically free. Isn’t that how healthcare in the USA works? You’re going to tell my doctor I’m not going to schedule? Now, hang on, hang on. I didn’t say I wouldn’t schedule. What do you have available?”
This is my life…..
If Tolkien and Austen were to have a Rap Battle, who would win? Why?
They’re both great, but Tolkien came up with his own language, so I’m going to have to say he would win. (Sorry, Jane!)
What is your honest opinion on garden gnomes?
I love garden gnomes. They are that wonderful combination of creepy and cute all in one little ceramic package. I hope to have my own collection, but currently have none.
If you had to create a horocrux, what object would you use and where would you hide it?
My hororcrux would probably be a garden gnome dressed as a clown and hidden in a den of immortal spiders. That way it would be far too terrifying for anyone to try and get it.
What footwear do you typically wear while writing?
I usually wear shoes. If not shoes, then slippers or socks. Regardless, however; I always am wearing skin.
Do you shower before you start your day or shower before bed?
If you could be any kind of sandwich, what would you be?
Because of that very strong sense of taste, I don’t like mixing too many foods together. Sandwiches are mostly the enemy. I do like peanut butter and jelly, though. Or maybe grilled cheese. I would be one of those, probably, but…. being a sandwich seems somewhat terrifying.
If you’re the kind of person who actually responds to challenges when tagged on Twitter, why do you feel compelled to respond?
I am compelled to respond because it helps build community, even though I’m a hermit. This goes back to that whole self-help book thing.
Questions for Those Who Want Them
If you’re a writer, what is your main character’s favorite color? If not, what is your favorite fictional character.s favorite color? (Make a guess anyway.)
What animal do you prefer to see as a fictional character?
Based on personality, if you were one of these fictional characters, which would you be: Elf / Dwarf / Hobbit / Goblin / Orc?
If you could wear outfits from any time period, (even to work or school!) which would you choose?
Cosplay – for or against?
What is your favorite midnight snack?
If you ever became an eccentric (or are one currently) what would be your best quirk?
If you don’t know the words to a song do you improvise? If so, what is a funny one you can share?
Where would you go in a time machine? Would you stay?
With a scary movie do you prefer monsters or real life suspense and why?
Zombies, vampires, werewolves, or other?
Okay, that’s all of my questions. Have fun if you decide to answer them! You can either tag me on Twitter @RRWillica to let me know you answered, or you can link back to this post. If you choose not to do either, I’ll never know.
S. Hunter-Nisbet tagged me for this game so I will be answering her questions, as that is how this game is played. After I will tag some other people with my own questions.
And now for the lightning round… or… sunshine round….
Dost thou speaketh any other languages? If so, what is thine go-to phrase when people say “Ooh, say something in that language!”
I used to take French in high school. Do I speak French? No, not really. Can I understand French? If spoken very slowly, then yes. I can also read it a little bit with some effort.
My go to phrase is “le chien gonfle” which pretty much means “the dog inflated.” (It’s a long story….)
Hast thine car ever run out of gas? What did you do?
Yes, I did run out of gas once. I was living in Phoenix at the time and pregnant. I had picked up my brother-in-law from work and due to terrible traffic we ran out of gas on the very crowded highway. It was terrible. Luckily a truck that helps stranded motorists discovered us and gave us enough gas to get to the nearest station.
Didst thou go to university, and what was thy major or focus?
I did not go to university but I attended two years of community college and focused on psychology, art, and theater. Many years later I attended vocational school to be a medical administrative assistant.
You may wonder why I didn’t focus on English. I’ll just say I was very arrogant and after scoring the highest possible scores on the entrance exams at the college for English, I figured I knew what I needed to know.
What is thine starter Pokemon?
This is a tough question because I never played Pokemon but my kids do, and a lot of the little creatures are really cool. I guess I would choose a fire Pokemon like Fennekin or Tepig. Or maybe an Eevee because they evolve into so many different types.
Black thumb, or digit of greenest emerald?
Black thumb. Plants do not scream or cry if they need something, and so they die.
In a world where thy eyebrows were, in fact, long enough to reach the brim of thine hat, dost thou trim them or let them be ala Gandalf?
This all depends on the current fashion. Although I usually do not fit in with current fashion when it comes to my appearance. My conclusion would be I would be opposite of whatever people find stylish at the time.
What was the first chapter book thou ever read, and why?
I have no idea. I have read so many books and the very first is long ago and far away. I can say that the first “grown up” book I read was The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King.
How many poems can thou recite at will?
Only one and only one stanza.
When in good humor,
Give grass its green
Blazon sky blue, and endow the sun
Yet, in my wintriest moods, I hold
To boycott any color and forbid any flower
Soliloquy Of The Solipsist
If I say we must do something for the good of the many, not the few, thy answer will be:
Probably. This is a dystopia, isn’t it?
What is knee high by the fourth of July?
The corn, I believe….
Okay, so that ends the questions. Now for the tagging part…. (I am not good at this part.)
If you could be any type of mythical creature, what would you be?
Do you play video games and if so what type?
Have you ever visited another country?
Do you have any pets?
Do you enjoy cooking? What is the best dish you can make?
Where would you go on a dream vacation?
How many books are on your bookshelf (or reading device)?
Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?
Thus ends the Sunshine Game. And now for the valuable prizes. (Actual prizes are imaginary. Imaginary prizes are not valid in all locations. If you cannot think of an imaginary prize, that is very unfortunate.)
Windbound is a very short novella set in an unnamed island in Greece. It follows the tale of Armynta and her best friend Sofia. They are both locals to the island and also happen to be sirens. All manner of mythological sea people exist in the world including mermaids and sea witches. All together, these people are termed Neptunians, and although they look human, but they are not.
Good tension building
From the story’s opening, I expected it to contain more romance. I was wrong. This story is more suspenseful. Told in first person narrative, you find yourself following Armynta on the way to meet a date from classmate named Kostas. To her dismay, her friend Sofia has enthralled him with siren song to get revenge on Armynta for a previous disagreement.
The conflict between Armynta and Sofia feels genuine for two teenage girls who are squabbling over differences in opinion and boys. Armynta goes so far as to say Sofia is both her best friend and her nemesis.
The story also explores ideas behind tourism and the effect it has on the local population. Armynta and Sofia both see the tourists as outsiders. Armynta admonishes Sofia for enthralling a local boy instead of a tourist, but at the same time respects that tourists are also people and should not be used for ill gain. Alternately, Sofia sees no ham in using her powers on tourists or the locals because they are all humans and the island should belong to the Neptunians.
Sofia is not the antagonist, however; and the real issue is a Hunter. The Hunter is a human who knows a way to suppress the siren song. Although Armynta and Sofia are forced to deal with the Hunter, we do not learn the full story behind his presence on the island because this is part of a series.
Errors in sentence structure
There are quite a few typos and errors in the story, such as odd sentence structure and word use. The story is still understandable, but it’s clear that a few more editing passes could help.
Sometimes I wondered if the errors were on purpose to give Armynta an accent, but if that was the case it wasn’t used consistently. That is why I felt as if they were errors rather than tone.
Despite the errors, I did enjoy the story and was able to read without difficulty. It was a quick and fun story to read and I will consider reading more books in the series.