A surprising holiday gift

A little while ago, I moaned on this little blog that my beloved computer had died. I finally got it back and we have renewed our loving relationship. However, it didn’t have Word working on it. The computer kept asking me for the Key Number and the box was lost in the depths of our basement.

Along the same time, I got a little surprise from D. Emery Bunn, a writer and editor who I believe will go far. He had finished the second book in his series Darkness Trilogy and wanted me to have a look at it. I had checked out his first book, Darkness Concealed and loved it, so I was super excited that I got his second book as a holiday gift.

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The only problem was that his book was in Word.

Here is where the magic of the holidays came back in because today, my lovely hubby (who loses more things than the Bermuda Triangle) found the Key for me.

I’ve started reading Darkness Revealed…

I’m pretty pumped. And I’m pretty scared. This is not a book for the faint of heart.

But you can bet there’ll be a review in your future of the book… 🙂

Pay It Forward Friday: D. Emery Bunn

Pay It Forward Fridays came from this post by Emily Guido. The idea is to feature a blogger or author on Fridays and give them a little shoutout. Anyone goes as long as they’re interested.

I’ve received an incredible amount of support from bloggers, authors and people I’ve met on line who didn’t know me and were just very kind, supportive souls. And, when I read that post by Emily Guido, I thought: time to give back.

I loved this quote from Emily’s mother:

“I cast a couple of pieces of bread on the water and the waves bring me back a ham sandwich.”

Karma is a beautiful thing.

Today I’m focusing on D. Emery Bunn.

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D. Emery says this of himself:

“D. Emery Bunn is an author, editor, and engineer, though his pile of interests keep on getting larger. He got his start on writing thanks to National Novel Writing Month, and is an avid supporter of free culture, the power of writing, and the creative arts. Darkness Concealed is his first novel, but he will be working on the sequel and a cyberpunk short story collection. He lives at his home in Clovis, New Mexico.”

D. Emery is the author of Darkness Concealed, the first book in the Darkness Trilogy. (Click on cover to buy the book). I read this book, found it fantastic and reviewed it.

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Here’s a little blurb about the book:

“50 years ago, the dawn did not come. Again. Everyone in Telthan knew it would happen. Monsters roamed the land, killing virtually everyone in their path, laying waste to anything in their way. Only a precious few survived to rebuild the wreckage of civilization, just like last time. No one questions the Darkening. Not even the children.

That is, until four strangers set off in search of answers, braving a forbidden city, a forgotten library, and foreboding mountains for the truth that has to exist. But the past does not give up its secrets easily, and the truth is far darker than the blackest night.”

D. Emery Bunn has in-depth analysis of his book and characters in this page in his blog. He also gave interviews and answered questions–though no one has yet found out what the D. stands for in his name. 😀

That’s not all, D. Emery has written several other short stories based on this premise:

Normalization.

A near-future cyberpunk dystopia/utopia, where thanks to advances in technology on all fronts the government is able to enforce a directive to have all of society be within a pre-defined “normal” that is handled by a computer algorithm.  Those below the norm get free upgrades, while those above get two choices: colonize the solar system and never see earth again, or accept dampeners to be returned to normal.  In return, all of society is allowed to indulge in pretty much anything they want to, unwanted work handled by machines of some variety.

This isn’t popular with everyone,  so a black market of illegal augmentations and people willing to use them exists.  Every illegal aug, as they call themselves, has to be very careful on not ever being exposed for the deviant they are, as all caught deviants are shipped to the asteroid belt for a term of forced labor proportionate to their deviation from the norm they had at time of capture, then they are released to colonize space.  One twist to the setting is that government surveillance is illegal and thanks to several unalterable algorithms impossible to do so without getting caught.  Any deviant is reported by normals who got suspicious of the person’s behavior.  So 1984 without telescreens.”

These three are based on Rachel and April,

This one is based on Stephen Tesoro, Deviant Enforcer.

Between editing, Beta Reading and writing, D. Emery is a busy guy but I was lucky enough to get him to help me edit my book and I can honestly say, he was an incredible editor. Professional, sharp as a tack at finding my mistakes and dead on in his comments, his help transformed my book. I vowed never to let anything I wrote see the light of day unless it had gone through D. Emery first.

He can be found through his blog or on Twitter @DEmeryBunn.

If you’re looking for a great editor or a fantastic book, check out D. Emery Bunn!

Review: Darkness Concealed

Darkness Concealed is a dark fantasy. It’s a story set in a world where terrible things happen in a cyclic pattern. It’s also the story of four reluctant heroes who set off to try and beat incredible odds.

I particularly loved the characters. I loved Caleb in particular because he came from a small town, he was different and such a sensitive person. I loved his gift or curse and the changes it brought in his personality as a result.

I loved Alexandra, the fighter and warrior. I loved that she was a woman and also the defender of the group. She made so much sense to me and had so little patience for beating around the bush that I liked her instantly.

Liz was hilarious. Her inner battles were a hoot and she made me laugh. I loved her realistic nature and how clearly she thought.

Ivan, who loved books so much, was one of my favourites. A thinker, analytical and reasonable, I could so relate to everything he said. I felt better knowing he was part of the group and was hoping he’d be along for the ride from the very beginning.

Darkness Concealed doesn’t reveal its secrets at once. I loved that there were pieces and bits of the puzzle that come along the way. There are no useless facts. Things come together and become meaningful as we go along and discover more of the truth behind what’s happening. As a reader, I had to learn to be patient and wait for that insight. And not everything is revealed in this book. This is a trilogy after all.

I particularly loved the places where the four heroes go. I won’t go into details and reveal too much, but I loved those locations. They’re fantastic, amazing places and I was thrilled to be able to go along for the ride with the four main characters.

There are terrible things described in Darkness Concealed but there’s also humour and magic and hope. If you’re a fantasy reader or someone who’d like to try this genre, this one is for you.

(credit: goodreads)

(credit: goodreads)

Interview with D. Emery Bunn

I was very intrigued with Darkness Concealed and, when D. Emery Bunn suggested doing an interview, I leapt at the idea. He was kind enough to agree and gave me some fascinating answers to my questions. Here’s a more in depth look at the creation of the book and what we can expect in the next instalment.

 

1. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In the story itself, there’s a couple of messages that I’m trying to communicate:

  • Hope endures until one loses it. Hope in a better world, hope in survival, hope in triumph. There are dozens of reasons why the characters in the story should give up hope, but they don’t. And it strengthens them enough to keep going, even in the midst of despair.
  • Heroes aren’t the people who charge into the midst of the fight, weapon swinging. Heroes are the people who realize that they’re in over their heads, and refuse to quit. Heroes are the people who don’t abandon their friends even when things are grim. Heroes are those who have deep flaws, and don’t let that stop them at any point.

As somewhat of a sequel hook, there are other messages that are built into the trilogy itself, and isn’t visible in Darkness Concealed itself.

 

2. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No. It’s a better story than I thought I’d ever write, and I will not look back and say “well, I could have done this better”.

 

3. What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing the story of Darkness Concealed to life?

Research-wise, it wasn’t too much of a challenge. The story and setting had been sitting in my head for years before I wrote the first draft of it, and intricate reasons and logic for everything that goes on came into being without me having to work that hard.

Likewise, my only literary insistence was maintaining a unique vocal style for each of my characters. I might have speech tagged to prevent any and all confusion, but after a point their dialogue alone should hold them distinct.

Psychological aspects were the hardest part. Darkness Concealed is not a happy story, and there is more than one scene which if I read it and fully comprehend what I’m saying, fills me with tears.

Logistically, the only snag I had was when I threw out the first draft as unsalvageable garbage (it was, trust me). I wrote the second draft from scratch, and as I was writing it I kept on skewing off the rails of what had previously been written. Where I’d had action and mind-bending scenarios, subtlety reigned. The thematic whiplash, as someone who’s read both versions, was pretty big.

 

4. Which authors have influenced you the most?

When it comes to having an answer for absolutely everything in my world, and being able to trace its timeline back thousands of years, I have to credit J. R. R. Tolkien. I have a bookshelf full of the stuff he’s written.

When it comes to having meta plot twists that were there the entire time, only invisible until the moment, I’ll credit Isaac Asimov. I’ve read the Foundation Trilogy twice, which is a very rare thing for me to do.

Beyond that, I can’t name my influences. My writing is an amalgamation of everything I’ve ever read.

 

5. Who was the hardest character to write? Why?

Alexandra. She started out as a very put-together sort of person who got thrown off her life path by unexpected tragedy. But when I wrote the third draft, the tragedy consumed her. Her pain and loss drove her very character, and I had to rewrite almost every single thing she said and thought. I hadn’t been expecting such a transformation, but when I read it afterwards, it made sense.

 

6. What started the idea/concept of Darkness Concealed?

A play-by-post campaign where to apply you needed to present a fully-formed land with adventure hooks and other juicy bits the dungeon master could use. I thought “hey, I can do that, and that sounds cool, too!” I took a shower while thinking about it, and one sentence formed: “idyllic, peaceful pastureland…except for when the apocalypse comes.” Everything built from there.

 

7. What are you reading right now?

I’m presently doing two beta reads for two different authors, and reading for pleasure another book. I won’t say much about the beta reads because I don’t know when the books will release, nor the author’s preferences.

  1. Family Ties by Debi Smith (Beta).
  2. Kidnapped by William Twentyman (Beta).
  3. Breadcrumb Trail by Adam Dreece. Emergent steampunk YA, with tons of allusions to fairy tale characters and mythology. I’m really digging the darker tone of the story, though the worst is likely still yet to come.

 

8. Darkness Concealed is the beginning of a trilogy, what can we look forward to in the next book? Do you have a title for it yet? When can readers can expect it?

I’ll be honest and say that Darkness Concealed leaves a lot of questions unanswered, a lot of plot threads dangling. The sequel, Darkness Revealed, is exactly what it says on the tin. That pile of questions will be answered, but the answers are very, very dark.

As for when it will release, I plan to write its first draft in November, and hopefully its second between January and February. I’m aiming for a 9 month release schedule from the start of the story to when I get it out there.

 

9. Does being an editor make writing easier or harder? Why?

Easier, but mostly because I’ve come to terms with it. I don’t write at top speed, ignoring the typos and grammatical gaffs. I also don’t write without considering whether it works. As a result, I don’t write as much in a given period of time as someone who’s pushing through the draft and worrying about it later.

When drafting, I will outright delete a “bad direction” with the story, where it doesn’t appear to be going where it should. I performed that sacrilege during NaNoWriMo, deleting entire scenes because I realized they weren’t what I was supposed to write. I refuse to let terrible material sit when I can replace it just as fast with something that’s good.

It also means that when I come back to a story to spruce it up, I’m comfortable throwing entire sections out. Darkness Concealed was written once, rewritten from scratch once, and reworded completely scene by scene a third time. I don’t mind this, because what got put in place is head and shoulders above what got removed.

 

10. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

I maintain a blog at www.demerybunn.com, as well as an email address (emery at the same domain). Blog topics can be anything from advice about writing and editing, to stories of what’s going on in my life, to reviews, interviews, and rants in defense of independent publishing. Oh, and posts about how what I write is coming along.

I also have a very active Twitter presence (@DEmeryBunn), and looking to add Goodreads to my list of places I frequent.

 

A huge thanks to D. Emery Bunn for this interview! As a little bonus, here’s a teaser quote from Darkness Concealed.

BTBocqB

 

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other Monday Morsel participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Note: click on cover to go to site.

 

Sneak a peek

I’ve done it. I’ve peeked ahead.

I really, really get into books. I love the characters like crazy and when things go wrong…well, I don’t handle that well.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t read mystery very often. I just can’t handle the stress. Recently, I read Hands of Evil and bit through all of my nails. Don’t get me wrong, the book was excellent…I was just worried–actually, terrified might be a better word. And don’t get me started on Darkness Concealed. Can someone get an ulcer from reading?

I don’t always read ahead. It depends on the book. I bet with Stephen King it wouldn’t help to peek ahead…I might see something worse! **Shudder**

It got me thinking though, do you sneak a peek? Ever? Does it depend on the type of book?

(credit: collectingcandy.com)

(credit: collectingcandy.com)