Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Flash Review: Passenger


Best friends Jack and Conner can’t stay away from Marbury. It’s partly because of their obsession with this alternate world and the unresolved war that still wages there. But it’s also because forces in Marbury—including the darkest of the dark, who were not revealed in The Marbury Lens—are beckoning the boys back in order to save their friends . . . and themselves.

The boys try to destroy the lens that transports them to Marbury. But that dark world is not so easily reckoned with. Reality and fantasy, good and evil—Andrew Smith’s masterpiece closes the loop that began with The Marbury Lens. But is it really closed? Can it ever be?

Passenger, by Andrew Smith, is a gritty, disturbing, violent, and horrific young adult book, much like The Marbury Lens. It's definitely not for everyone. But then again, if you didn't like--or couldn't handle--the first book, then you wouldn't be continuing onto the second. With that said, I loved Passenger, maybe even more than The Marbury Lens.

The book starts with Jack, Conner, Ben, and Griffin, trying to destroy the lens, to be rid of Marbury for good, and end up right back there in that one fateful act. But it's not the Marbury they remember. The Marbury Jack returns to is a twisted, nightmarish, post-apocalyptic version of his hometown of Glenbrook. Thus beginning his journey home, which takes him to many worlds--or not-worlds--all versions of Marbury and Glenbrook that have been transformed for the worse. Jack seems to be locked in a butterfly effect downward spiral. Every world he travels to seems to send him further from home to where if feels like he'll never get the pieces of the lens back together again to make things right.

Jack, the narrator, feels responsible for everything that's happened and the danger his friends are now in. The Marbury lens is also reminiscent of Sméagol with the One Ring, holding an obsessive power over those who've looked through it and seen another world. My precious. I believe part of the obsession comes from the fact that the characters are existing in all of these parallel worlds simultaneously, and while the primary consciousness leaves one world to enter another, the body from the world left behind goes on with its daily routines like the person's still there, but missing any memory of another world. I find that idea fascinating.

Smith's gritty descriptions and elegant prose drags the readers into Jack's nightmare so we're fighting right beside him, trying to help him find a way out. We get to learn much more about Marbury in this book, and like those who've seen it through the lens, we have that pull to go back, even if just for a glimpse. And amidst all the action and horror, at its heart, Passenger is a character driven story, a touching tale of friendship and the sacrifices true friends make for each other. Marbury is a world you won't soon forget, and neither is the book Passenger.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indie Life: Wednesday Writer's Workspace

Indie Life is hosted by the indie authors of the Indelibles as a 2nd Wednesday of the month feature. It is a great way to discover and reach out to other indie authors--authors working hard and turning their dreams into reality. Share your thoughts and experiences with being an indie author, and speak with like-minded souls by visiting the author links below. Click HERE to sign up for Indie Life.

An important part of the indie life is getting your name out in the blogosphere. There are many social media platforms and the blog is only one, but it's an important one. Blogs are such a great space to connect with readers and other writers. And we indies need those connections to help us spread the word--our words, our books--to reach more people than we could ever hope to reach on our own.

So in the spirit of reaching out and getting myself out there, today I'm over at The Writing Nut, honored to be highlighted on the famous weekly feature: Wednesday Writer's Workspace. Please follow the link, stop by, and say "hi."

Happy writing, fellow indies (and brave NaNo crusaders)!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG Wednesday: A Writer Writes Always

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

I'm sure many of you are five days deep into the avalanche of words that is NaNo. I commend anyone willing to take on the 50K word writing challenge and I'm in awe of anyone ending the month victorious. With that said, I have started November off strong with my writing (not at a 50K word pace, but a steady--daily pace), and I hope to build on the momentum I've started.

I want to call myself a writer, but when I look back at what I've written over the past year, I can't honestly call myself one. I spent a few months editing and rewriting, I spent a few weeks writing new material, and I wasted quite a few months not moving myself forward with my writing goals at all. If I want to feel confident in calling myself a writer, then I need to write much more than I have this year.

It's always easy to make grand, sweeping goals. Next year will be different. If I use every waking minute of free time, I can knock out three books in the next twelve months. I'm not going to set myself up for failure in this way. Goals are much more manageable when they're small, and small goals that are completed consistently lead to big accomplishments. I don't know what I can produce in the next month or the next week, but I will write 500 - 1000 words today. And tomorrow I'll make the same goal. With that word count, I won't have 50K at the end of the month, but if I'm consistent, I will have a completed draft of my third novel finished by early next year. And to me, that's an exciting goal and a damn fine accomplishment.

Good luck with NaNo. Keep writing. Enjoy the start to the holiday season. I'm looking forward to the release of the Starbucks Christmas blend (decaf for me since I'm still off caffeine). It really signifies the start to the holiday season for me. What about you?  
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