A blog for people who don't want to spend all their free time in the real world. After all, we live and work there. Escape the mundane with books, travel, and writing.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Quick Update on Leaving Home

Far-Knowing, my collection of short stories, flash fiction, and travel essays, is now available at Kobo.  Soon it will appear on Apple ibooks, the Sony Reader Store, and Barnes and Noble.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Leaving Home, by Melinda Brasher

Available now:  Leaving Home, my collection of short stories, flash fiction, and travel essays.

Love Mysteries and Thrillers?  Read about a blackmailer who makes a mistake, a businesswoman who reluctantly smuggles drugs, an internet romance that may not be what it seems, and a vacationer living in fear on a cruise ship.

Fantasy and Science Fiction Fan?  You'll especially enjoy "Ethereal," where fairy godmother magic comes from an unexpected source.  In other stories, a pirate boy finds love, a scientist studies mermaids, and a maiden leaves her tower.

Short on Time?  Try the several pieces of flash fiction, which deliver complete stories in under two minutes.

Like to Discover New Places and Cultures while you Read?  I've captured some of my favorite travel moments, like the day I played bridge with five tipsy Polish retirees and the morning I hiked through Mayan ruins in darkness in order to see the sun rise over the jungle.  I touch on communism in Eastern Europe, the importance of a traveler's towel, and the international language of dance. 

Just Want a Good Story?  Feel the pain of a young father leaving home, a jealous sister whose revenge backfires, and a daughter struggling for her father's acceptance.  Enjoy "On the Train to Warsaw," a contest-winning story about a group of strangers who learn to see each other differently when their train breaks down in the middle of a snowy winter.

Only $1.99 on 
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Sony Reader Store
Smashwords.com  (available in many forms, including PDF if you don't have an e-reader)
and other retailers



Friday, August 9, 2013

Why we like fantasy

Just thought I'd share a great quote:  

"Logic only gives man what he needs.  Magic gives him what he wants."
—The Idiot, from Another Roadside Attraction  by Tom Robbins

Monday, August 5, 2013

"Dragonfly," by Julia Golding

Dragonfly is my genre!  An elusive, inexplicably uncommon genre:  like fantasy with no magic, no strange creatures.  It's a world that follows our laws of physics but has its own culture.  Not bound historical fiction truths.  It allows for great world building and effective social commentary.  I love writing this genre, and would love reading it if I could find more than a handful of books like this.  One reviewer described it as "fantasy cultures written in a realistic fashion."  Exactly.  Others described it disparagingly as "lacking any fantastic elements."  Sharon Shinn's General Winston's Daughter is one of the few other books I know that really fits in this category, and I remember people on Amazon grousing, "Where's the magic?"  I find it very refreshing and fun to read.  

That said, this book does have a few issues.  The head-hopping disoriented me.  In writers' terminology, head hopping means changing point of view from character to character within a scene, so that we know the thoughts of multiple characters.  This is different from books that switch the point-of-view character from chapter to chapter or scene to scene, like Game of Thrones.  Head-hopping is usually quite unbalanced:  we know mostly one or two characters' thoughts, but a minor character sticks his in here and there when convenient for the plot.  This is actually quite a standard style for older books, but most modern novels are limited omniscient, so I found it distracting.         

Some of the changes in Tashi's character are too abrupt.  She goes from formal and restrained to wild and emotional a bit too soon, but I could allow it.  The change I couldn't swallow was when she loses her faith—a major my-world-is-destroyed, who-am-I sort of state of mind.  Then Ramil talks to her for a minute and is like, "Maybe this is the Goddess's plan for you, even if it doesn't feel like it.  Don't lose heart."  And instantly she's faithful and happy again.  It would never be that simple.        

There is also a lot of modern language in Dragonfly.  The worst example, from page 71, goes like this:  "I'm sorry you feel like that, Prince, because it's no use getting all hot and bothered about her."  Hot and Bothered?  

However, I liked the story.  I enjoyed the fast-paced adventure and I really loved the culture clash.  It's a premise I like, no matter how many times I read or watch it:  characters forced into a marriage of convenience, who don't like each other at first, but who then fall in love.  It was fun to watch some of the minor characters, especially the endearing circus strongman.   

I love alternate world fantasy.  I hope more people write and publish this genre in the future. 

My rating:  3