Opening up my Limbo File

I hate getting stuck, which is where I’m at on a project at the moment. It’s so frustrating but I felt I had no choice but to set it aside for a while. It’s now in the limbo where I consign half-written projects.

While I was in the limbo department, I decided to check out something I began writing back in the summer of 2012, and Young Adult book about a former Angel of Death who is now trying to bring about the end of the world, and the girl who stands in his way. It’s always a girl, isn’t it?

I opened it up and began reading from the beginning, and I like what I have so far. What sucks is that it ends mid-sentence, and now I have no choice but to finish writing the damned book so that I’ll know what happens. It’s actually okay with me. I had always intended to come back to this piece eventually, and apparently eventually has now arrived.

I like the general tone of the book. It’s not too dark, nor is it too saccharine. It begins after the death of my main character’s seemingly neglectful mother and my m.c.’s reunion with a father she hadn’t seen in six years. Understandingly, there’s some bitterness about the separation, but she soon discovers the truth behind her parents divorce and the estrangement it produced.

Where it goes from there is still uncertain, which is why I stopped writing in the first place, but I have a few ideas that I’m entertaining. I would like to write this as a series, and I have a few ideas about what I want in the third book, a look into her mother’s decision to divorce her father, and the last moment of her life, when she gave up her will to live, and surrendered to Death’s embrace.

Maybe it’s a little to heavy for a Young Adult books series, but I don’t think so. I hope that I succeed in writing about the power of love and the need to accept death as a continuation, and not an end. We’ll see.

Book Review: Rogue Hunter Dark Space

Thanksgiving is over, and the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Hope the holidays were kind to you, and that you Black Friday shopping didn’t leave you with a black eye. For today’s review, I read Kevis Hendrickson’s novel Rogue Hunter: Dark Space. This is the second book in the Rogue Hunter series. You can follow the author on Facebook and on Twitter.


Rogue Hunter: Dark Space © 2013 Kevis Henderickson

In Dark Space, the second book of the Rogue Hunter series, we follow Zyra Zanr, a beautiful, though dangerous bounty hunter. She is the most famous and feared hunter in the known universe, and as such made many powerful enemies. One who she crossed, a crime boss to whom she owes a considerable amount of money, a loan that she never repaid, put a price on her head. The hunter becomes the prey.

One group of bounty hunters who heed the call to capture the most dangerous hunter is led by a man named Drake. He and his misfit crew seek to find Zyra in the hopes of earning the huge reward offered for her capture.

Outgunned and outnumbered, Zyra is captured, tortured almost to the point of death, and put into a cage, all the while the stress of the mission begin to wear on the crew, threatening to break their already fractured sanity. Their only chance to deliver their precious cargo and receive their reward.

But of course, things never go as smoothly as they should. What follows is a game, the ultimate fight to death, with Zyra battling to escape and survive, and Drake fighting to get his reward while keeping his crew alive. It boils down to who has more skills and resources. In the end you have to discover who is hunting who, and who lives to see another day.

There are several dynamics at play. The most obvious is between Zyra and her captors, who imprison her and torture her, who are willing to hand her off to a most certain death to collect on a bounty. Then there’s the dynamic play between Drake and his crew. We get to peer into their minds, to read what they think of themselves and each other. This is highly dysfunctional crew, that only comes together when their survival is at stake.

At its heart, it’s the hubris of the ship’s captain, and his actions towards his prisoner, that propels the story forward. Not only does he capture her, he makes it personal by his savage treatment of Zyra, to the extent that he almost alienates his crew, and losing some of their respect.

It is his uncompromising attitude, that he will deliver Zyra to the crime boss, that risks the safety of his entire crew. His flat refuses to heed his crews warnings, and he ignores the very real danger that she poses to himself, and those around him. At what cost?

The story itself is well told. It took me some time to figure out the cast of characters, and their place on the ship. Two in particular, Rawls and Rhodes, I had trouble separating, and it would have helped had one of their names been different.

Another character, a woman named Gomez, frequently swore in Spanish. I think it was stilted, and didn’t flow naturally with the rest of the narrative. As a Spanish speaker myself, I question its inclusion. It didn’t fit, and felt that it was at times an unnecessary device to prove she was of a Hispanic heritage. It came across as though it was poorly translated and belabored.

In spite of those few things, I liked the book. I followed along, wanting to know how Zyra would escape, or if she would. I had to know who would survive, if anyone. I was engaged, and thankfully the story was not filled with a bunch of technobabble, whose use sometimes gets in the way of the story. Yes, they are on a space ship in deep space, but it’s only the setting of the novel. The drama comes from the interplay between characters, although the ship does serve the story beautifully.

My opinion is that this book is definitely worth reading, especially if you are into sci/fi and action. There’s enough action to satisfy the casual reader, with blood and gore in the right mix. It’s not over the top, but enough to highlight the danger they are all in. Kevis certainly wrote an entertaining story.

List of Book Reviews
Next Review – Firstborn
Previous Review –  Marsh Island

Book Review: The Last Death of Tev Chrisini

This is the second book review in what I hope to be a monthly series. This month I am reviewing the debut novel, The Last Death of Tev Chrisini by Jennifer Bresnick. Jennifer is a fellow blogger here on WordPress, one that I follow and find illuminating as well as entertaining. If you have a chance, please check out her blog, after you finish reading my review, of course.


The Last Death of Tev Chrisini © 2012 Jennifer Bresnick

The Last Death of Tev Chrisini by Jennifer Bresnick tells the story of a soldier caught in the middle of a war that has been waged for almost seven hundred years. Centuries have passed since the last face to face negotiations between the warring factions when word comes of a two-week ceasefire to allow delegations to meet for the first time.

News comes before a humiliating defeat is suffered by Tev’s forces. He survives, and after the ceasefire takes affect, his commander, Lord Ausring is invited by the opposing leader, Duke Polormi, to a banquet. Ausring, who is not in a position to decline, attends, bringing Tev and a few other men of importance.

It is through this contact that Tev finds himself marching with the enemy, escorting them through his territory, to attend the negotiations. This ultimately brings our hero to discover the truth of who he is, and why, after over 500 years, and countless deaths on the battlefield, he is still alive. The ceasefire is the motivation for him to fulfill a destiny long since hidden from him, and forgotten in the ravages of a seemingly perpetual war.

While The Last Death of Tev Chrisini deals with war and the complicated politics between sides, and even among family members, at its heart it is very much a story about one man’s journey of self-discovery. The events that were triggered before the first battle of the novel set in motion a course of events that propel Tev, and by extension us the reader, forward.

As is the case in most heroic journeys, Tev has the choice to refuse or back out. He could have chosen to deny is heritage and his destiny, but like a true hero he is compelled to do what is required of him, in spite of the cost.

Overall, I found the novel to be compelling and well written, and as a winner of Shelf Unbound Magazine’s Best Indie Book Award it should be. My only issue, and not that it’s a bad one, is that it’s easy to lose track of the number of characters, locations, and races in the story. Happily, she remedied that particular (non)problem with the inclusion of Glossary of Names to help us the reader keep track. Overall, I recommend that you give Last Death a chance.

You can find her book on Amazon and Smashwords.

Currently, Jennifer is working on a prequel, which if this novel is any indication, will be just as enjoyable to read. I can only hope that Last Death will only be the first of a series of novels set in this universe, and a launching point for a long writing career.

List of Book Reviews
July’s review – Winter Howl
May’s Review- The Bridge

The Last Death of Tev Chrisini © 2012 Jennifer Bresnick
© 2013 Joe Hinojosa

Rewrite update: I’m still rewriting


DSC05316 (Photo credit: Fenix_21)

I haven’t written about my work in progress in some time now. The good news is that I’m still plugging away at it. The bad is that I’m still plugging away at it. Shouldn’t I be done with it? The only answer I have is that I’ll be done when I’m done with it.

Right now, I have about 87K words but that will likely increase quite a bit. I’m thinking I’ll end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 100k, give or take a few thousand. I think that’s a good round number to shoot for, don’t you?

Okay, I’ve answered where I am in the writing process, but I haven’t told you what I’m writing. I’m rewriting my NaNo from 2012, trying to expand upon what I wrote back in November, hoping that I am closer to a cohesive narrative. I’ve written out several plot points that have no bearing in the story. I thought they would, but as my first draft took shape they became unimportant, taking up valuable space that could be used to better define the story I am trying to tell.

It’s kinda like a jigsaw puzzle at the moment, but one where I’m throwing pieces out and trying to find room for new pieces, wanting to see how it changes the picture as a whole. I’m pruning and adding, tweaking words here, changing ideas all around, trying to find a better way to say what I’m saying. You know what I’m saying?

It’s hard since I never took a class on book writing. I’ve been writing for almost a year and half and I’ve yet to get to a place where I’m comfortable with my work. But I’m content in the process of creating and writing. I’m pleased with how my rewrites are going. Part of it is that I’m still learning what I’m doing and how to do it. I’m cool with that.

I keep hoping to reach some sort of magically place where I can look at what I’ve written and say “It’s perfect!” But not yet. I know I’m being unreasonable. I understand that I can find myself in a vicious cycle of writing and rewriting and rewriting some more, round and round, chasing perfection as a dog chases its tail, never to catch it. I know at some point I will have to step back and accept that I have done the best that I can and that I will have to let it go.

That’s why I have a few people read for me. I need that input and it’s a valuable resource for me to have. My readers can ask me questions, point me in a direction I need to explore, and help me whip my work into shape. My first drafts have all been read and the one I’m revising is the best one which needs the least amount of work, so that’s why I’m working on this one.

Will I publish? I hope so. That’s my ultimate goal. I know I still have work to do, but as long as I keep plugging away at it, one keystroke at a time, I know I’ll be done. Then all I’ll have to do is hope that you all will be interested in what I’ve committed to paper.

But did I like it?

9361589It is near three a.m. and I am still awake. Tomorrow, or rather today, is going to be hell to deal with.

But I am awake, and I may or may not write a proper post for today, but I have to get some things out lest I become overly-morose in my private contemplation. You think I write for the fun of it? This is the greatest tool for combating my depression that I have. This and the other blogs that I have. Find them if you dare.

I just finished a book, The Night Circus, and it has put me into a bit of a funk. I’m done with the story and I wasn’t ready for it to end. It didn’t end the way I would have liked. It resolves itself, but it’s still a little too open, and you know there are more stories in that world to be told, but that’s not what has me down. Like any good story, when the book ends, it leaves you with a sense that the story continues, even if you are not privy to it. Maybe, should the author decide to do so, you may be invited to go along on another adventure. I rather she would, but I’m not betting on it.

I don’t want to try to tell you what the story is about. Read it yourself. I’m not going to give a condensed version, or even a review. If you want my opinion, I will tell you that I loved the book and that I’ll read it again and again. It moved me, as all good books seem to do. For me, that’s enough. My personal criteria has been met.

There is no greater gift than to be moved to tears and no better catalyst than a good book. To be moved to joy and to sadness, to laughter and to weeping, crying tears both joyful and mournful, is what I love in a book. I want to be transported out of my life, to journey with the heroes, to suffer and celebrate with them. I want to experience their highs and lows. I want to forget myself and delve into the illusion that I am no longer me, but in the story itself.

That’s where I am. I felt for those characters. They became my friends, even if for only a little while. With all the bad in the world you want to read that maybe someone got to live their happily ever after. Call it wish fulfillment if you want, since I guess that’s what it is.

Maybe I’m just overly emotional because it’s now fifteen after three and I’m tired and I have less control of them when I’m worn out. Of course there’s the fact that I am an emotional person, but I doubt you knew that.