Marshal Law Hits the Shelves

November 9, 2019 at 12:57 am (Interviews, Press Release) (, , , , , , , )

Marshal Law is live on Amazon as a paperback, an e-book, and for anyone with Kindle Unlimited… Check it out.

This is a fantasy novel…but it’s a little different. Tell us about that.

Marshal Law is a fantasy story, but it looks like a western. It takes place on a world with two suns, which makes most of the planet a dry desert. So it’s a magic story set in a frontier world.

How does magic work in this frontier world?

Strange stones can be found deep underground, and there are various ways to coax power out of them. Some use these stones to build powerful machines, but there are rumors of men using them to perform wondrous deeds.

What’s your favorite part of Marshal Law?

The characters. I love the setting, the picturesque western scene, the dual suns and endless deserts, but the characters who fill the story really stole my heart. Early on, our hero meets a scientist named Dawn who’s run away from the Republic. She’s a genius who can turn the villain’s machines around and make concoctions that do amazing things. Really fun character. Then they meet a boy named Raine who’s on the verge of a breakthrough. His whole life he’s believed he could revive the old magic, even though no one’s ever taken him seriously.

Tell us about your protagonist, Marshal.

He just wants to enjoy his quiet life with his wife and kids, but good stories never let anyone get away with that, do they? Marshal has to leave his family to fight the war, but he ends up playing the role of a father figure to the motley crew that gathers around him, holding them together while they battle to save the frontier.

Is Marshal Law the start of a series?

I’ve got three books planned. The sequel, “Desert Raine,” should be available in the spring. It’s coming along great. Marshal Law does a good job of setting the stage, so in the sequel our characters can further explore the magic and the machines and really push the boundaries of what they know about their world.

Sounds like Marshal Law is a story with a unique setting. Is it similar to any other books?

Anyone who likes Stephen King’s Dark Tower series should find themselves right at home. Same goes for Sanderson’s Alloy of Law. It’s fun to writing at a time when fantasy stories are finding new settings, because, even though there’s plenty of steampunk books with magic thrown in, I can feel like I’m writing something new and not always following another author’s trail.

Did you have to do any research to write about this new world where your story takes place?

A little. Most fantasy stories don’t require research since we just tend to make up whatever we want, but I really loved the idea of planet with twin suns. I did just enough research on binary star systems to make sure the idea would work. Apparently, two suns would probably make the planet a very dry place, so most of Marshal Law takes place in a desert environment. Only a few spots on the continent benefit from nicer weather. Grass and trees are a rarity enjoyed by the wealthy and elite, but Marshal’s revolution may change all that.

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The Part Where I Admit I’m a Sucker…

July 4, 2012 at 2:04 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

…for any book cover featuring a gentleman in a top hat.

Title: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: McElderry Books

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Steampunk

Length: 478 pages

I am very skeptical when it comes to current popular young adult titles.  Anything published in the aftermath of the Twilight Saga makes me pretty inclined to doubt that the story will be anything but unequivocal crap.  In fact, when I first saw the covers of Cassandra Clare’s original series The Mortal Instruments (City of Ashes, City of Bones, etc.), I had no interest whatsoever in the nearly naked teens displayed on the front cover in all their thin, muscled perfection.  Clockwork Angel, on the other hand, the first in the prequel series The Infernal Devices taunted me for months.  This front cover is still shimmery and radiates young adult paranormal pop culture crap, but the teen isn’t naked, he’s in full on Victorian era attire, coat, top hat, the whole shebang.  I was torn.  How did they know they would suck me in like this?  How did Cassandra Clare know that this book was basically screaming at me: YOU, You pompous, self-righteous, book snob, YOU, try to NOT read THIS one!

I rebelled.  I refused.  It continuously called my name.  And if it hadn’t been for 1) S. Smith renewing my faith in *new* young adult fiction with Seed Savers and 2) Felix J. Palma enchanting me with a love hate relationship with The Map of Time (that a. ended in love and b. also featured a somewhat shiny top hatted man on the front cover), my rebellion would have won out and in turn I would have lost out.

Cassandra Clare, if you are reading this, I loved Clockwork Angel.  I didn’t want to, because I’m a book snob, but you won me over, with – of all things – book love.

Clockwork Angel is a little bit paranormal, a little bit steam punk, a whole lot of adventure, and even more book worship.  Clare’s characters are well read in all my Victorian and pre-Victorian favorites.  No matter how predictable or typical they behave, they win me over every time with their references to Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, A Tale of Two Cities, countless poets, and more.  The feelings are that of typical teens without over exaggerating the melodrama.  And the adventure and fight scenes are just down right fun.  How do you pass up automatons, vampires, warlocks, and gadgets?  You can’t, especially when its been so long since the vampires have actually been bad guys, not sparkling, cheesy love interests.  Thank you Clare, for putting those vamps in their place.  In Clockwork Angel we know they are bad guys, dangerous, but they don’t over run the story… it’s not entirely about them, they’re just part of the landscape… Thank God.

Now, of course, I have the entire Mortal Instruments series sitting on my end table to be read, despite their front covers.  I’m suckered, I’m hooked, I have to know the whole story.

End Note: I’d put Clare’s writing at about a 6th-7th grade level, content probably for a 14+ but I’d have no problem letting anyone younger read it because there’s nothing inappropriate or anything, it just might take a slightly older child to catch all the literature references.

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The Secret Adventures of H.G. Wells

June 11, 2012 at 8:36 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

Title: The Map of Time

Author: Felix J. Palma

Publisher: Atria Books

Length: 611 pages

It may have taken me longer than I first supposed to finish Felix J. Palma’s The Map of Time.  Yes, there may have been days between reading that I had not expected, because the marketing was so astonishingly gripping.  But any distaste I had for this book while I was reading it was purely psychological.  It had to have been, because Palma’s writing is brilliant.

My psychological beefs? Let’s see if I can express them.

#1 The premise described in the jacket isnt even remotely a familiar story line until the last 60 pages of the book.  Good thing I don’t usually read dust jackets, I just dive in, but I have friends who do who were reading this book roughly around the same time as myself, so on this occasion I went against instinct and read the synopsis.  While reading the novel, I felt a bit duped by the summary, anxiously waiting for a time traveling book thief that didn’t arrive until over 500 pages in.  The front cover is applicable to all three story lines, but the inner art work is directly related to the end, so the anticipation literally killed my reading mojo.  I wish the advertising had been a little more straight forward, except I love the advertising and it clearly worked, therefore on that count, I have not a single suggestion.

#2 The book is really 3 books.  At least in my  mind it is.  Its 3 separate but interconnected stories, overlapping characters and puzzle pieces and the theme of time travel, though not actual time travel.  In my perfect world, this book would have been a series of novellas (which I inevitably would have begged to have in one complete volume as an omnibus – see… psychological issues!).  Instead of being broken up in generic Part One, Part Twos, etc, I would have mentally prepared the reader for the disconnected yet interconnected adventure with titles.  Example: Instead of being called The Map of Time, call the book The Secret Adventures of H.G. Wells.  Part One, would be “Book One: The Murder of Jack the Ripper”, or something of the sort.  “Book Two: Captain Shackleton’s Love Story” and “Book Three: The Time Lord and the Book Thief.”  Perhaps Book Three could keep the original title “The Map of Time” it wouldn’t really matter.  I just want to go in with the understanding that these are separate but connected adventures, rather than flailing about wondering if the next paragraph has any relevancy – which it does!

#3 There’s a word mis-used at one point where I believe ‘ancestor’ should have been utilized instead of ‘descendant.’  But that’s really trivial, and no one cares. (It also could have been me getting my time loops all mixed up.)

The story itself, I wouldn’t change a lick, because it’s marvelous.  It’s the present structure that I clearly have issue with.  Feeling as though the story was disconcertingly disconnected (when in reality as a series I would find it beautifully interconnected) made me set it aside in irritation one too many times.  With the internal structure slightly altered with silly titles, I suddenly feel better about the whole thing.  I would have found both jacket and description equally fitting and not misleading at all.

Moral of the story (my story, not Palma’s story)… this book is bloody brilliant and I’m keeping it, despite having kicked and internally screamed several times while reading it.  Don’t be put off by your own expectations.

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