Book Review: I Will Hold My Death Close

10502254_592407747547506_7740250097570509581_nI Will Hold My Death Close by Stant Litore

Available for pre-order on Amazon for your Kindle

Circa 1120 BC – Israel –

The story is based loosely on the events of Judges 11 where Jephthah (Yeptha) promises to sacrifice the first thing he sees upon his return home for victory over his enemies.  The first thing, he sees his daughter and only child.

So one might expect that the story to be told from the father’s perspective and involve his internal struggle keeping such a horrible promise.  This is however an installment of the Zombie Bible and Stant Litore has a way of turning the story you know into something beautifully different. Something powerful.

Jephthah’s daughter is marked for death and flees to the hills where she has to fight for her life from the unburied dead (zombies).    She fights off the dead knowing that at any moment, her father could appear with his stone blade in hand to take her life on the sacrificial alter.   Through the course of her struggles, she remembers the songs of her mother and how she stood again the unburied dead with only a stick.  She fights to keep her death close and her own.

The centuries to come will not remember her name. But generations of young women will climb the hills to remember her.

Litore once again proves that he is a master storyteller.  This story didn’t let me go for a moment and literally left me grasping for breath at end.  He has taken the story of Jephthah’s daughter and elevated beyond the scanty lines in Judges 11 to something incredibly powerful.  No matter what your faith or spiritual path, there is something that you will find to love in this book.  I really am in awe of Litore at this moment and can’t wait to see what he writes next.

Talking to Myself

I spend a lot of time talking to myself.

Day in Day out.  I tell myself stories.  Sometimes they are good stories. Other times they are just ways to the time and I don’t mourn them when I lose them to memory. Lately, I have been telling a lot of stories and they have making their way onto the page.  Two of those stories were written in the days that followed my beloved Papa being admitted to the hospital.  I talked to myself and wrote a story. And then another.

Two poems and then another story.

The week and the summer have passed quickly.  Papa has been released.  He has given up his beloved beer in order to spend the rest of his life with the family he made possible.  The beer he gave me inspired a neighbor to cut my lawn when I left it on his front porch.

I stepped in front of the mike and didn’t freeze.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and used the words I tell myself to send a message to the universe. And another poem was birthed.

Met someone new for coffee and another story was trapped on the page.

A friend stopped by and we shot a video to help get my novella, Blood Child, out into the world.

And then it started raining in my house.

I am pretty sure there is another story or poem about to burst forth.

Stepping Up (To the Mike)

In just two short days, I will be stepping up to the mike and reading my poetry aloud to a group of people for the first time since college.  Then, I was in a small circle and we were all sharing our poems and songs. It was small and close. Intimate and safe.

Now, I am stepping in front of an audience of strangers.

An audience. Crap, what I am thinking?

Fear.

Fear should not stop me from growing as a person, a writer or a poet.  And NPR.

I listen to it constantly.  Friends have to ask me to change the station when we are speeding down the highway. Students beg me to play something besides Diane Rehm after lunch.  And it was thanks to this addiction that I encountered Quique Aviles and his smooth yet gritty accented voice.  When he read a few lines from one of his poems (1992) my heart leaped and I was transported back to the first time that I read Daily by Naomi Shihab Nye where she said that “ The days are nouns: touch them.”

1992

I want to keep playing with verbs

Write letters to old friends

And ask them to keep writing

I want to hold on to the lives of consonants and vowels

~ Quique Aviles

                I want my days to be nouns that touch the souls of others and my friends verbs that I can hold on to.  I want my art and heart to grow, and staying at home with notebooks of poetry and lines following through my mind weaving emotions into stanzas with rhymes and rhythms scattered throughout will not encourage this growth.  Loving Emily Dickinson, even playing her on stage once, does not mean that I want to be her.

 

Letting Go..

deadeverafterRecently, I discovered that one of my favorite authors was ending a series that I have been reading for the better part of ten years.  It saddens me, but I get it. She needs to me move on and it is time for us to let go Sookie Stackhouse and her fangy friends. Charlaine Harris‘s series has been going strong since 2001.  There have been bums along the way, but fans have been eating the books up.

So much so that some fans have threatened to kill themselves if she goes ahead with her plans.If you are one of these fans please seek help immediately.  Serious, do not stop on go just get help now.

As readers we get attached to characters and tend to forget that there are living breathing people behind them.  I haven’t always agreed with what characters in my favorite books have done.  (Richard in the Anita Blake series is lucky I couldn’t bitch slap him.) The people behind the keys giving life to our favorite stories are the ones that create the worlds we love. The worlds I aspire as a writer to make. And since my style of writing is akin to Ms. Harris, I feel sympathy for her situation.

It may be easy to say to an author that they should continue to write because they are making money, but writers like teachers don’t do it for the money. We do it because we are can’t help ourselves. And yes, I said we, because regardless of whether or not I reach the level of success as Ms. Harris has I will continue to write.  It is our passion and when the passion begins to fade for a storyline it is time to move on. Maybe we will come back to it in time.

Mercedes Lackey said this about her long running series “Hey, everybody needs a vacation, even from the best job. So, until I come up with a story set in Velgarth that is as compelling as the ones you’ve enjoyed in the past, I’m taking a break. The last thing I want is for my own favorite series to start limping along and go out with a whimper.”

Authors need breaks to recharge their creative juices and while I will miss the Stackhouse Series I understand.

Fellow readers I know that you are upset, but give Ms. Harris some room. She has been writing this series for over ten years.  She wanted to end it years ago, but kept going when the HBO series took off. She has already gone on after she wanted to quit for you,me, and the almighty dollar so let her be. The quality of the books have suffered.  As much as I loved them somewhere after book four, I got lost. She tried it your way and she still wants to go. Let her.

And while you are at it pick up some of her other great series.  Lily Bard, Aurora Teagarden and the Harper Connelly series are all excellent. (My personal favorite is the Aurora Teagarden series.)

Stalking and taunting your favorite author into producing something won’t work the way you want it, too. Trust me, when people have gotten unpleasantly freaky with me I back off.  So let us take a moment, be thankful and let Sookie go.

Thank you, Ms. Harris, I look forward to your next series or book and I am so very grateful for your stories.

Love, Hugs and Moo’s,

Lu

Now the Real Work Begins

So now that I have a good working draft of my novella, it is time to work on ideas for the cover, write a synopsis and all that good jazz. 

Part of the process includes promoting this page and other social media efforts.  So here is my proposal.  Once my facebook page gets  to 150 likesFacebook-Keyboard-Like, I will open exclusive content to all my followers both  on facebook and here as well as select at random five facebook folks to receive a PDF copy of my poetry collection.  I have been writing poetry since I was a child and the collection has nearly 150 poems. See the correlation.

Once Blood Child is ready for release, hopefully by the end of the summer if not before, everyone here will automatically be entered to win a copy. 

So please share this page and help get the show on the road.

Love, Hugs and Moos,

Lu

Finished, Well Almost..

When I wrote the ending for my novella last week, I rejoiced.  I openly declared it finished. This is the longest writing project that I have brought to an ending. Moments later I realized that the ending was really just another beginning.

Now, I have to run through the draft while I shop for editor to look over it.  Next step after that is the cover art and marketing plan.  I am completely stumped on the cover and have no idea of what I would like to see.  The cover could have been done months ago if it I had at least an inkling of idea for it.

One of the sites that I have been reading talks about the goals and writing and while I would love to be able to make a living off of writing what I want most is people to read and enjoy the stories I create.

The short term plan is to self-publish the novella as an e-book. Then move on to my long term plan by completing my novel and then look for an agent.  In between those things I am going to work on several short story ideas and finding homes for completed stories in anthologies.

I love writing and in truth whether I become a traditionally published author or not, the stories will never stop flowing from my heart and mind.

Working Away

The challenges of finishing Blood Child, a horror novella, have been adding up over the last week as my writing sessions have become less and less productive.  Still, I am not giving up and will un-bury the ending.  It is in my mind I can see it, but the words are slow in coming. So day by day, I plot and type away. The end is in sight, it is just a bit fuzzy.

Love,

Lu

P.S. Click here for a free preview, Blood Child.