Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Slow Burn by Bobby Adair

Slow Burn – Bobby Adair

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre – Horror

Rating – PG13

4.7 (72 reviews)

Free until 13 December 2013

A new flu strain has been spreading across Africa, Europe, and Asia. Disturbing news footage is flooding the cable news channels. People are worried. People are frightened. But Zed Zane is oblivious.
Zed needs to borrow rent money from his parents. He gets up Sunday morning, drinks enough tequila to stifle his pride and heads to his mom’s house for a lunch of begging, again.
But something is wrong. There’s blood in the foyer. His mother’s corpse is on the living room floor. Zed’s stepdad, Dan is wild with crazy-eyed violence and attacks Zed when he comes into the house. They struggle into the kitchen. Dan’s yellow teeth tear at Zed’s arm but Zed grabs a knife and stabs Dan, thirty-seven times, or so the police later say.
With infection burning in his blood, Zed is arrested for murder but the world is falling apart and he soon finds himself back on the street, fighting for his life among the infected who would kill him and the normal people, who fear him.

Eleni Papanou – The Function of Description

The Function of Description

by Eleni Papanou

I just deleted a book from my Kindle that I didn’t finish. It was written very well and the plot was intriguing, but I lost interest mid-way through. Just as something interesting was about to happen a barrage of details would follow, most of which weren’t necessary to the flow of the story. It pulled me out to the point where I didn’t care what happened next. It was unfortunate as the author’s concept was truly intriguing and her characterization was strong.


You can have the best story, great characters and action, but if the pacing is off, a reader will sense it and may lose interest in the story. The trick to smooth pacing is ensuring you have the proper balance of narration, description, dialogue and action. Too much of any of the above, and the book will feel off balance.

Striking the Balance

Some authors go crazy with the description. Everything from what a character ate for dinner to what clothes she’s wearing to every decorative detail in a room is written down. A way to tell if you’re putting in too much description is to ask whether the description is moving the plot forward or adding to the characterization. If it does neither, it’s probably unnecessary.

As my background is in screenwriting, I have the opposite problem and write too little description. I have to go back in and add some. A fast pace doesn’t work any better than a slow pace. Some breathing room is necessary between active scenes so the reader can have a moment to absorb what happened.

The following three examples are places where I look to add in description. If you put in too much, you can also use this as a guideline to see what parts of your description are superfluous.

1. Setting

A man enters a restaurant frequented by hunters. The author describes the scene by showing us hunters sitting at their tables, wearing flannel shirts. She next goes on to describe the stuffed animal heads that are mounted on the wall. Alongside a deer head is a very large rifle. When the man who entered the restaurant spots it, he recalls a repressed memory. The description leads to a psychological trigger; therefore, it’s pertinent to the story.

2. Action

Imagine a scene of a garden with flowers in bloom and the sun shining, etc. The author does a beautiful job of making us feel like where there as a woman picks flowers in a park. Then…just as the woman takes a whiff of a white rose, a stalker grabs her from behind. In this example, the garden description and color of the rose created contrast along with an element of surprise for both the character and reader.

3. Mood

A cloudy and stormy night would best be explained by a character struggling against the gust of wind to keep her umbrella in her hands while complaining how the weather ruined her dinner plans for the night, etc. Or maybe she’s suffering from seasonal affective disorder and is on her way to a support group. Her reaction would thus blend in with the description, making it much more powerful. Set your description around a character’s mood for emotional scenes.

Let the Subtext Drive the Description

Effective description is loaded with subtext. It adds to the characterization and drives the plot forward. It also adds intrigue because the character is reacting to his or her environment, which makes a reader ask questions and wonder what will happen next.

The active use of description also makes the writing more engaging. Basically, every scene in a story should drive the plot forward. Some might argue that plot isn’t as important as characterization, particularly in literary fiction. I don’t see why that should make any difference, other than some readers just enjoy reading pages of description. That’s the beauty of books. There’s room for all types of writers and readers.

Personally, I prefer a book with a solid plot and great characterization. Most readers do as well as those are the types of books on the top of the bestseller list for fiction. To keep your readers wanting more, ensure that every description you add leads somewhere, or you’ll risk losing them.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Paranormal Mystery

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Eleni Papanou on Facebook & Twitter & LinkedIn

Blog http://elenipapanou.com/

Colorado Mandala by Brian Heffron

Michael paused, his flinty eyes darting out at his listeners. Yes, they were ensnared—just the way he liked them. The power of his oratory filled him up. The corners of his mouth curled upwards, and he bared his perfect teeth into a smile he knew his listeners would find intoxicating.

“… He was aaaalways cold,” Michael drawled, letting the word lounge in his mouth a bit, “but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;

Though he’d often say in his homely way that he’d sooner live in hell.

… And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow, And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe, He turned to me, and Cap, says he, I’ll cash it in this trip, I guess;

And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Michael stopped and drained his whiskey glass. Every pair of eyes in that bar bored into him. The women—breathing hard, visibly—and the men, too, were transfixed. Michael took all this in, and then continued.

“Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:

It’s the cursed cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.

Yet ‘taint being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;

So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A brief scuffle in the far corner of the bar brought Michael’s gaze upward again for a beat. Shadows and light and whiskey tangoed together in his mind for a moment. An old scene seemed to flash there as well. But Michael blinked back the memory, whatever it was; no, not now. He shook it off and continued:

“A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;

And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.

He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;

And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.”

Breathing in the bar had seemingly ceased completely. His audience was all one body, one ear, and one eye. All upon Michael Boyd Atman.

“There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven, With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;

… Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.

In the days to come, though my lips were numb, in my heart how I cursed that load.

In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring, Howled out their woes to the homeless snows—O God! how I loathed that thing.”

Michael’s voice now softened. Something snuck into it that hadn’t asked permission, and remained. What was it? His audience saw their performer naked before them and this engaged them even more.

“… Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;

It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”

And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;

Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;

Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;

The flames just soared and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;

Then I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.”

Here Michael stopped again. Had that old memory returned…the one he had tried to push away earlier? Tears welled in his eyes and he felt sheepish, almost frightened, but then—he realized he didn’t care. He let it come and the tears fell.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Brian Heffron on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.brianheffron.net/brianheffron.net/Welcome.html