Thursday, September 30, 2021

Book Review: When the Sparrow Falls

 When the Sparrow Falls

My first audiobook (other than road trip books with the kids). So first: I really missed being able to see the words especially because the futuristic country has an eastern European basis and the protagonist has a Russian background, so I felt lost sometimes not knowing how the words appeared. It is weird to examine why this was so aggravating to me, other than I am just very visual. 

As for plot: the end of Act II felt like the end of the book. Then the point of view switched and head hopped for a little while before returning to the original (first person!) protagonist and continuing some head-hopping which was necessary given the state of the characters.  This is all quite unconventional for the strict rules of modern writing, but it ends up being justified by the material: there are uploaded consciousness copies of people and people who might be dead.  

The general structure is also against current recommendations: a prologue (gasp!) with a clear narrator using a strong authorial voice and an epilogue where the narrator explains why he told the story in the POV he chose.

Within the text, the backstory interjections were longer than currently advised, also, but definitely only came in when necessary. This is actually a recommended style that I don't like; I much prefer the Lisa Cron recommendation of folding in the back story so that when it becomes relative the reader knows immediately.

He did a good job with raising little mysteries. In fact, my audiobook loan expired when I was twenty-two minutes from the end and I put it on hold and had to wait a week to listen to just that bit, and the reason I wanted to was because of a major answer that I thought would still be revealed. And then it wasn't. So that was quite disappointing!

Even with that, though, it was an interesting insider's view of an autocratic society within a world in which AI actually has solved all of humanity's problems--one piece of dystopia within a utopia. And I came to care enough about the protagonist so that it was nice when a twist appeared at the very end.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Book Review: A Memory Called Empire

 See on

My first dip into new sci-fi to educate myself on the market. It took me a few tries to get into this but then I was hooked. Loved the exploration of cultural adoration, and it was a unique way to present the concept of empire expansion among humans.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021


My current work-in-progress novel, To Feel The Earth As Rough, is a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Literary Contest!

I'm so excited! My first novel (Winter Yield) made the finals twice, but this time the feedback from the judges was much more glowing, and the agent who will choose a winner from the finalists seems like a darn good fit for the story. 

Winner announced at my favorite writing conference in October.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Short Read: Ode to Procrastination by James Parker

Ode to Procrastination by James Parker

Read this when you're trying to avoid doing what you are supposed to be doing.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Wasn't Star Wars All About A Hero's Journey?

Something I've heard a lot: That the original Star Wars was successful because George Lucas was a fan of Joseph Campbell and the story follows the  The Hero's Journey monomyth.

Spencer Kornhaber's review of Secrets of the Force by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman illustrates an interesting new perspective on how the plot points are actually weakly hit,  some were only added during filming, and the "hero" character is not as well established as has been argued.

So is it actually world-building, not plot, that makes the magic?