Book Review: “Storming” by K.M. Weiland (ARC)

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Storming coverMy first review on this site was a review of a short story by K.M. Weiland in anticipation of the release of her latest fiction novel. I was privileged to have the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy of this novel, titled Storming, for review.

Storming is an interesting and exciting story. We meet Robert “Hitch” Hitchcock, a cash-strapped barnstorming pilot who seeks to impress the owner of a flying circus enough so that he might be offered a job. Hitch’s world is turned upside down, however, when his plane, quite literally collides with a woman in the air.

The story was very good. I like the limited point-of-view approach as it really lets the reader get to know the main character well. It’s an adventure story, with all the excitement that comes with that, but Storming also presents a great character arc in the protagonist.

I liked the cast of characters, including a couple of very bad villains I loved to hate.

Great story overall.

(Click here to check it out on Amazon)

 

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Research and technical details in fiction

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fiction writers are often well-known for delving into research, but I’m sure many a reader has found technical errors made by authors either as a simple slip-up or by a lack of thorough research.

As someone who likes technical details, yet also good fiction, I wondered how an author strikes a balance between thoroughness and good flowing prose. As writers, we need to keep readers interested in the story and the characters. I feel, however, that writers need to strive to be as correct as possible when they include certain researched things.

A recent example of an almost excessive amount of technical detail I’ve encountered, was Franklin Horton’s apocalyptic novel, The Borrowed World. He includes in some scenes very detailed descriptions of the characters’ guns and gear, this being a story about survival. To be clear, I am a firearms enthusiast and I participate in sport shooting, yet I found some of the detail being a bit unnecessary. (You can read my review here)

This topic really interests me, so I decided to ask some other authors for their opinions on the matter.

K.M. Weiland (@KMWeiland), from helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com, who writes historical and speculative fiction, had the following to say:

My goal is always to be as thorough as possible in my research upfront. As I’m then writing, I’ll bold any issue about which I’m uncertain so I can research it more particularly. And whenever possible, I try to get an expert to read my work over.

After that, I just have to let it go, hope I got 90% of my facts right, and let the chips fall where they may.

Joseph R. Lallo (@jrlallo), probably most well known for the Book of Deacon trilogy and whose steampunk novel, Free Wrench, I reviewed (find my review here), said:

I absolutely feel that a writer needs to get the research right. I don’t think it makes a difference which genre you write, the facts need to be solid. Obviously historic fiction and things set in the real world need to ring true, because people can check your facts. In sci-fi, everything should have at least a basic connection with reality, if only as a jumping off point. And even in fantasy, the more reality you can fold it, the better. Even the things you have created from scratch and don’t need to conform to reality should still be consistent, so I spend a lot of time going over my earlier stories in a setting to make sure the rules don’t change. As a writer, your job is to let your readers get lost in your stories. When you don’t get something quite right, that’s a surefire way to knock someone out of the tale.

And last but not least, I consulted another author, my very own brother, Stefan Fouché (@Fouche97) who blogs over at noveltray.wordpress.com. I spoke to him via Skype so there’s no text to quote. Nevertheless he emphasised the importance of researching properly and being thorough when you include technical information. Story, however, is most important and both he and I agree that your writing shouldn’t bore your readers with excessive info dumping.

So there it is, more than just my own opinion on research and the specificity of the details a writer should include. Overall it seems that correctness of the details is pretty important and that the amount of information a writer includes, should not detract from the reader’s experience.

I would like to conclude with a big thank you to all three of the authors who very kindly shared their opinions with me, although I kind of think Stefan is obligated to do so as he’s my brother. 😉

BOOK REVIEW: “THE BORROWED WORLD” BY FRANKLIN HORTON

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Borrowed world coverWho doesn’t love a good apocalyptic thriller? I know I do and a while ago I read this interesting take on it by Franklin Horton. To summarize the plot, a terrorist attack causes a major collapse in the United States and our characters are stranded away from home and have to find a way back.

I call this an interesting take, as usually the genre is filled with things like zombies, aliens or nuclear disaster. Mr Horton opted rather to take a more realistic approach and I enjoyed it.

The book is well researched on a technical level. Lots of firearms are featured (which I liked, being a gun enthusiast) as well as a lot of survivalist-type gear and mindsets with some characters. At some points, however, the technical information felt a bit excessive and unnecessary, but it beats a book filled with lots of technical errors (for all other thriller authors reading this, a magazine is NOT a clip).

Overall I would recommend this book to people who like reading thrillers and apocalyptic type books. I also know that preppers will love it.

(To check it out on amazon, click here)

Book Review: “A Man Called Outlaw” by K.M. Weiland

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Western, it seems, is a rather polarizing genre in terms of popularity. Many people are avid fans and others simply don’t like it. The once popular genre in both literature and film has also declined in popularity. Fans of the genre tend to be nostalgic, yearning for the golden era of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. But alas, those days are gone and few Western films cause audiences to flock to the cinema these days. That is a pity, because I kind of like the genre.

Enter K.M. Weiland’s novel, “A Man Called Outlaw.”

In this novel, two stories are told in two respective time periods. Miss Weiland manages to get the reader really invested in the characters and draws the reader into their world. The protagonist is easy to root for and the villain is very evil indeed, but all the characters are realistic and distinct – three dimensional. The story is also very well researched and this helps to immerse the reader into the 19th century American West – from the clothing worn to the colloquialisms used. (Also a hat tip to the author, coming from a gun enthusiast like myself, for the specific mentioning of loading five rounds into a single-action revolver that can hold six. Check this video to see why.)

I highly recommend this book to anyone. Fans of the Western genre will certainly like it, but there’s more to this story than gunfights and riding off into the sunset. It has lots of depth with great conflict between even greater characters.

I Loved it.

(Click here to buy it on amazon)

Book review: “Free-Wrench” by Joseph R. Lallo

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free wrench coverIn a world full of morbid plots and dark clouds, Joseph Lallo delivers this little silver lining of a story. Let me say this book was a fun read.

In a fictional steampunk world, plagued by a terrible environmental disaster known as the fug, the land of Caldera has isolated itself from the rest of the world to keep the pollution at bay whilst pursuing more aesthetic ideals. The protagonist, Amanita Graus, is a more unconventional and practical Calderan, who chooses a more practical profession, trading the canvas for a spanner to work with steam-powered machinery. In order to attain a cure for her mother’s terrible illness, she embarks on an adventure by boarding the “Wind Breaker” (yes, I snickered a bit), an airship, commandeered by a group of trader/smugglers from the outside who illegally sell their wares in Caldera…

Did I mention this was a fun book? Joseph Lallo tells a lighthearted steampunk story with interesting, funny characters and even an interesting little creature too. Lallo also incorporates generous helpings of humour, a well crafted setting and a great sense of adventure which all makes this a very likeable story and one I’ll gladly recommend.

I really enjoyed it.

(Click here for the amazon review, and here to buy it on amazon Kindle if you are interested)