Word of the week: defenestrate \(ˌ)dē-ˈfe-nə-ˌstrāt\ - transitive verb - (hear it!); defenestration \(ˌ)dē-ˌfe-nə-ˈstrā-shən\ – noun - 1 : a throwing of a person or thing out of a window; 2 : a usually swift dismissal or expulsion (as from a political party or office) – (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

I'm Done!

Well, I did it. It's done. Finished. Wrapped up. Complete.

And hell, if it ain't right by now, it ain't never gonna be!

After one hefty haul-of-a-decade of twelve (off and on) structural self-edit-throughs, and two long drawn out years (down to the very month I'd received my last “Thanks, but no thanks” rejection letter) of meticulously crafting fresh meat onto the old bones of a story long-coming (two and a half hours every morning, seven days a week), I'm finally done with my full length dark fantasy novel: The Perfect Player – Book One of the Caendorian World stories.

[Insert triumphant music here.]

And holy shit, what a feeling! Seriously, it's, well . . . a bit weird.

Now, you would think I'd feel elated, excited, overjoyed, ecstatic, giddy, over-the-moon, or whatever other wild and wonderful sensations could course hot through my veins. But you know what? I'll be damned if I feel any of that.

Nope. You know what I feel?


Pride in a job finally complete; pride in my perseverance, when many times I just wanted to defenestrate every chapter and every character and give up on the project entirely after constantly questioning and re-questioning my writing and storytelling abilities; pride in starting myself down a path to what hopefully will become a somewhat steady career (sales and new novels pending, of course) . . .

Yes. Pride.

But I also know this: I never could have finished it without those terrific people who helped me along the way—the beta readers and sounding boards, the editors and proofreaders, the online writing community I've been a part of for nigh on six years. All the advice and the feedback, the support and the “kicks in the rear” and well as the “pats on the head” have made all the difference in the world, and for those who were there for me:

Thank you!

I'm done.

Ha! Imagine my hubby's concern and confusion when I had texted him those two exact words just over a fortnight ago, the moment I had lain down the last sentence of my three-section, fifty chapter novel.

“I'm done.”

His response?


And you know what? . . . I have to agree.


Word of the week: delve \ˈdelv\ - verb - 1: to dig or labor with or as if with a spade; 2a : to make a careful or detailed search for information; b : to examine a subject in detail – (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Although I have become online friends with the author, I bought Robert Evert's Riddle in Stone because: 1) it sounded interesting and, 2) I wanted to help support his writing endeavors. Those who know me understand that I don't—nay, can't—review on a whim; I have to truly enjoy a novel written by a Writer's Beat member before I even consider giving it a Writer's Beat Quarterly review. So, that said:

Book Review: Riddle in Stone by Robert Evert

Novels are tough to complete, tougher to find an agent for, and sometimes even tougher to sell to the right publisher. Many would-be writers don't even get past rough draft editing and their manuscripts languish, with characters and story worlds withering away in the darkness of increasingly cluttered desk drawers.

But not Robert Evert, author of the novel Riddle in Stone, the first book in a fantasy series of the same name. Determination and persistence had pulled him through to his ultimate goal, and on February 26th, 2013, Riddle in Stone was released by Diversion Books in e-book format, available through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and a host of other distributors.

And oh, what a story it is!

Fantasy novels, mind you, have always been my cup of tea—particularly dark fantasy—so it was easy for Evert's world to absorb my attention and hold me fast to the digital page with its overall smooth writing, well-woven plot, and intriguing characters, having managed to shut off my “inner editor” . . . for the most part.

Riddle in Stone carries the reader along on a journey with Edmund, an overweight, middle-aged, stuttering scholar from the secluded village of Rood tucked in the Highlands, a month's travel from the kingdom of Eryn Mas where King Lionel presides. And it's there—in Rood's village square, with an official royal proclamation—Edmund makes a life-altering decision, which indeed becomes quite the journey for him in so many respects—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The gist?

Edmund had always been smitten by Molly, a beautiful tavern serving girl he'd grown up with in Rood, though never able to confess his true feelings to her, hindered by his self-esteem and speech impediment. So when a soldier-adventurer from far-off comes to the Wandering Rogue (the tavern where Molly works and Edmund frequents), to brag about his exploits with a goblin horde, Edmund comes to a startling realization: He's wasted half of his life holed up in the boondocks village of Rood, locked in a stagnant, sheltered and, well . . . utterly “boring” life, as Norb, the stable hand, so bluntly puts it.

But Edmund is determined to change all of this. Driven to become an adventurer—not only in the hopes it'll impress Molly, but also to give his life purpose so he doesn't die alone and pathetic—Edmund accepts the challenge of the written royal edict: To find and deliver the legendary “Star of Iliandor” to King Lionel in Eryn Mas!

Yet Edmund had no idea how life-altering his decision would turn out to be. However tough he believes his journey is at the outset absolutely pales in comparison to what he later endures . . . when he's captured by goblins, oppressed, abused, and forced to work alongside hundreds of other human slaves in the bowels of the goblin mines.

Now, admittedly, Riddle in Stone is not for the faint-hearted or the weak-stomached reader; gruesome scenes do dwell within, and even though they aren't described in intricate detail, they're enough to possibly sour the very easily squeamish. As with all scenes of every well-written novel, though, they are needed to advance the story (i.e. no pointless gore for pointless gore's sake) and tremendously well balanced throughout.

My overall take?

I came into the story with two mindsets: 1) as a reader, and 2) as an editor.

As a reader: It held my attention from beginning to end, easily tugging me along beside Edmund as he journeyed from meek and unskilled, to strong and highly adept. Together, we met characters we loathed and adored, experienced pain and loss, suffered hardships, and reveled in triumphs. Even though Edmund is the opposite of how I perceive myself, I was still able to connect and relate; essentially, he became a “friend,” as all good main characters are wont to do, enough to draw me into the first chapter of book two, available as a bonus read at the end of Riddle in Stone.

As an editor: It was well-rounded with both world and characters properly fleshed out and a fitting, if not touching, end. Narrative and scene structure were balanced and mixed with natural dialogue that brought out the characters' individualities. Although villains were certainly villains and heroes were certainly heroes, neither were stone-cold one or the other; each possessed both positive qualities and realistic flaws, and a variety of backgrounds that removed “cardboard cut-out” two-dimensionality. Subtle connections were well done, and the writing itself was fluid overall, with only one niggle: scattered typos and minor errors—likely overlooked by the average reader; snagged upon by my practiced editor's eye. Yet the storyline remained strong enough for me to lay these aside (or correct them in my head) and continue reading.

In short: Very pleased with the story as a whole.

So, how would I rate Riddle in Stone? I give it a firm four-and-three-quarters stars. Not pristine and purely perfect (because nothing's perfect, to be honest), but it is a really great story that I highly recommend, particularly for those who love fantasy with a darker bent. Worth both the money and the time spent reading it, and I am looking forward to delving into the next book planned in Mr. Evert's series.

*  *  *
Riddle in Stone is available for Kindle at Amazon. You can download a sample there to read! 


Word of the week: oddment \ˈäd-mənt\ (hear it!) - noun - 1a : something left over : remnant; b plural : odds and ends; 2 : something odd : oddity – (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Indie Author of the Month: Come Meet . . . Benjamin Wallace

A couple of Christmases ago, the name of this month's indie author was plopped into my lap.

Well, all right, not in the literal sense, but done so nonetheless by a very trusted source. Curious and always looking to read good indie stories, I Kindle-downloaded this particular author's then only-available short story. Little did I realize I was in for such a wonderful treat!. . . .

Dumb White Husband vs. The Grocery Store by Benjamin Wallace was hands down filled with absolutely terrific humor; relatable scenarios turned on their sides and told through the amusing viewpoint of . . . a “dumb white husband.” (Who was certainly not dumb at all!)

Yes, yes, normally I'm partial to humor a bit on the darker side. But sometimes straight-out humor for humor's sake is just plain fun to read, so I was thrilled to learn Mr. Wallace had released The Big Book of Dumb White Husband packed with short stories along much the same humorous lines, all interconnected in some way or another, and all told through the various tales of three husbands (all basically at odds with one another) who live on the same block.

Really, once you've visited them, you just don't want to leave. And guess what? We don't have to!

Pretty soon, Dumb White Husbands vs. Zombies will be served up in five segments. Sign up for his newsletter, and you'll get the first episode when it's released. And if you're not yet familiar with Mr. Wallace's line of books, this will be the perfect way to get your feet wet.

But now, without further ado, here is Mr. Benjamin Wallace to introduce, well . . . not necessarily himself, but to discuss an interesting review he'd gotten on a book of his that's been out for quite a while: Post Apocalyptic Nomad Warriors.

* * *
Who says the apocalypse isn’t funny? One reviewer did. She bought a book billed as a Post-Apocalyptic Comedy and, once deducing there had been a war at some point, said there was nothing funny about that. I’m not sure how she was expecting to read a post-apocalyptic book that didn’t have an apocalypse in its backstory. But she helps prove a point.

What she obviously doesn’t get is that a post-apocalyptic world will be full of funny because it will be full of people. And people don’t know what they’re doing—everyday people that now find themselves in charge of what’s left or, what’s funnier, what to do with themselves since no one is around to tell them what to do.

Where would you go? What would you do? What to name your new town? Do you adopt the cage match system of justice? There’s no end to how people will try to start over. What will they keep? What will they abandon? After an apocalypse, the world is more open than ever. And, since people usually make bad choices, there is no shortage of humor in a world with no rules.

When the apocalypse does come, I think we all envision ourselves being one of the oddments. We like to picture ourselves in a world without rules. We like to see ourselves as the heroes. But, in reality we’d probably just be standing around staring at the mud wondering why food isn’t growing.

So, why not have a little fun with it? The genre is rich with stereotypes of the gritty survivors facing impossible odds, mutants, gangs, action and adventure, the lone hero. But drop any real person in a world like that and you’re going to get a ton of laughs.

* * *
Learn more about Benjamin Wallace and his books at his really cool blog: Dumb White Husband

Please support this indie author! You'll be glad you did. 

Ooo, ooo! And guess what? He's also a talented artist. I'm not sure what these bears are all about, but they look really awesome, and I'm told we'll discover more about them pretty darned soon.