The Disappeared – book review

The Disappeared (Retrieval Artist, #1)The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. I thought I’d become jaded about reading Sci-Fi, but Kristine Kathryn Rusch changed my mind with The Disappeared, first in the Retrieval Artist series.

When I spotted this book a few days ago on a promotion and saw it was the first book in Rusch’s Retrieval Artist series, I bought the eBook and started reading right away. Some years ago I’d enjoyed audio versions of one of Rusch’s Retrieval Artist short stories, and was eager to read the first book.

Wow! Rusch is a skilled, highly-readable author who is an expert in bringing characters to life on the page (eScreen?). Immediately, I was entangled in the dilemna of a woman about to Disappear from a life she loved, and the tragedy of a couple whose baby was mysteriously stolen.

I needed to discover the reason for the woman’s disappearance, the fate of the baby. I was fascinated by the world Rusch created, and the moral dilemma of good people wrestling with right and wrong in a world where the law allowed children to be stolen from their parents, where humans could unwittingly cross a line that doomed them to devastating legal consequences meted out under multi-species legal agreements.

Rusch paired a burned-out investigator with a brilliant rookie detective whose personal tragedy forces him to examine everything he believes. The author has created a masterpiece!

Now I’m ready for book 2 of the Retrieval Artist series. It’s waiting for me on my eReader.

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The Truth About Trish – free this weekend

the-truth-about-trish600x900My romance novel The Truth About Trish is enjoying a “free” promotion on Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords this weekend.

It seems a suitable time for this particular title to be on free, as I’m giving a workshop today on character-driven plotting, and pacing to maintain tension – and this story was very much a result of character-driven plotting, because I had to dig deep into the characters of Abby (the heroine) and Ryan (her hero) in writing their story.

So pick up a copy and enjoy – and for those of you with Kindles, although Trish is priced at $.99 on Amazon, you can get your free kindle version at Smashwords.

Vanessa

 

Workshop: Character Driven Plotting, Pacing to Maintain Tension

Writing RomanceThis Saturday I’ll be giving a day-long workshop for the Romance Writers of America’s Vancouver Island Chapter. If you’re in the Nanaimo area, come along and join us in an exploration of character-driven plotting, and pacing your novel to maintain story tension.

Workshop Details

When: November 2, 2013, 9:00 to 4:00 (registration from 9:00 to 9:30)
Where: Vancouver Island University, 900 Fifth Street, Building 255, Room 170, Nanaimo (Campus Parking Map)
Cost: $40.00 if registering after October 19th or at the door. Lunch, coffee, and tea is included.

Session 1—Character-Driven Plotting
In this workshop, Vanessa explores character-driven plotting, and the technique of using the hero and heroine’s personal territory to build a bridge between character and conflict. We all want the magic formula to work: characters + conflict = a great story. Sometimes, we need a little help, and adding a territorial imperative to the mix could be exactly what your story needs.

Session 2—Pacing to Maintain Tension
Pacing a book involves finding the balance between showing and telling, between emotional intensity and distance, between slow and fast. Vanessa makes this complex technical subject clear with graphic examples. Topics include time and the writer: story time, reader time, and writer time; the simple rule that covers it all; and how pacing relates to viewpoint and narrative style.

I’m looking forward to a great day with this group of enthusiastic writers!

Vanessa

Workshop Handout

Lifelines: Kate’s Story – a new women’s fiction suspense novel from Vanessa Grant

Lifelines: Kate's Story

Kate Taylor hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since her husband David died. It doesn’t help that David’s dog, Socrates, watches her constantly as if he expects her to bring his master back; that her personal life is a series of telephone conversations with her evasive adult daughter and her demanding mother; that working as a family counselor she regularly faces a client named Rachel, a narcissistic woman who evokes Kate’s most painful memories.

Kate is exhausted: tired of coping, tired of listening, tired of life. Then one night on an icy road, she goes into a treacherous skid. A razor’s edge from death, she realizes she wants to live.

She makes plans. She sets goals. She takes a lover. She copes with her daughter’s newest crisis and her mother’s financial foolishness. But then Kate discovers the truth about her client Rachel, and she’s thrown into an ethical nightmare.

Her career could be destroyed.

… so could her life.

Book Recommendation – Killing Bliss by EC Sheedy

Killing BlissKilling Bliss by EC Sheedy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book when I read the initial release in 2005, and I’m loving it all over again now reading the Kindle edition.  Wonderful story, great characters, and I can’t write a better blurb about it than the author’s own, which starts:

One night. Two bullets. Three runaways.Addy Michaels, living her careful life on a forgotten back road, thinks she’s safe–that the past and its corpses are long buried. Surely after fifteen years the cops have quit looking for the street kids believed to have kidnapped a baby and killed their prostitute foster mother¬, Belle Bliss.Addy couldn’t be more wrong.A cold case.Hot again, when the missing child’s grandmother hires renowned profiler Cade Harding to find her grandson. Cade tracks Addy to her safe haven in a remote area of Washington state. Their attraction to each other is immediate, dangerous, and badly timed because…Cade isn’t alone.

A twisted killer

Faceless and unknowable, a murderer follows in Cade’s footsteps–on the hunt for anyone who can tell the truth about killing Bliss.

All roads lead to Addy.

 ~~~

EC Sheedy has a wonderful knack for a beautiful turn of phrase that has served her well in romance. In her romantic suspense novels, EC reveals a talent for spooky atmospheres and gritty, street-wise characters.

The author is one of the Pen Warriors, a group including myself and 4 other writing friends. At our regular writing retreats, I have the great pleasure of hearing scraps of her stories before they come out. That wets my appetite for the real thing – and I’m heading back to my eReader right now to read a few more pages before my family come for a Sunday night dinner.

Vanessa

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Book Review: Sinners and Saints, by Elaine Dryer

Sinners and SaintsSinners and Saints by Eileen Dreyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Digital books are wonderful. Wander into a Web site, browse through a screen or two, stumble across a title I haven’t read by an author I admire, and – presto, it’s on my ereader.

Sinners and Saints is classic Eileen Dreyer, with a plot that twists through multiple layers and secrets, and arrives breathlessly at a very satisfying ending amid a New Orleans hurricane.

This book has Eileen Dreyer’s signature on it, which is just as distinctive as Johnny Cash’s voice singing The Man in Black.  No spoilers here. For those of you who are fans of Dryer’s dark mysteries, you’ll recognize her touch in the heroine – a forensic trauma nurse; the setting, evocative and danger filled in a perfect-for-the-story stormy, darkly magical New Orleans; and a damaged hero who is darkly perfect.

Read Saints and Sinners yourself – if you like mysterious tales with memorable characters and dark twists, you’ll be glad you did!

I’m an Eileen Dreyer fan from years back. Now that I’ve finished this book, I’m about to start reading my new copy of her If Looks Could Kill. I read this shadowy, pulse-pounding Elaine Dreyer years ago, and can’t wait to revisit Dryer’s Pyrite, Missouri, and the heroine of If Looks Could Kill.

Vanessa

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THE HIT – by David Baldacci

The Hit (Will Robie #2)The Hit by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m a definite fan of David Baldacci’s Will Robie series. I read this book on the heels of Baldacci’s first Will Robie book. The Innocent. Both are excellent, although I connected more deeply with The Innocent, and loved its character-driven plot.

The Hit is an exciting read, and I will be watching for the third in the Will Robie series. Baldacci is a skilled craftsman when it comes to writing thrillers peopled with vibrant, believable characters. My favorites are some of his early titles, particularly Absolute Power and Absolute Power The Winner The Winner.

Vanessa

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A very enjoyable read! NO ROLE FOR A GENTLEMAN

No Role for a GentlemanNo Role for a Gentleman by Gail Whitiker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a pleasure to read!

I just finished reading friend and fellow writer Gail Whitiker’s new historical, NO ROLE FOR A GENTLEMAN. The author’s prose is beautiful and evocative, but the true beauty of her novel lies in the creation of characters with warmth, integrity, vulnerability, and a passion for life that brings them vibrantly alive.

Thank you for a warmly enjoyable visit to the past, and the companionship of Lawrence, Lady Joanna, their families, and the colorful world of Regency theatre and archeology, which is woven seamlessly and intriguingly throughout the story.

NO ROLE FOR A GENTLEMAN features characters from its predecessor, NO OCCUPATION FOR A LADY – also a very enjoyable read. No Occupation for a Lady

Vanessa

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Wool places author Hugh Howey among Science Fiction’s greatest authors!

Wool Omnibus, by Hugh Howey
I just finished reading the Wool Omnibus, and I’m floating. WOOL is everything a great Science Fiction should be – amazing, visceral, delightful story filled with powerful characters caught up in an epic search for meaning!

The birth of a great science fiction author is a very special event, and WOOL puts its author up there with the greatest Science Fiction writers – those who write (and wrote) books about real characters, searching for meaning, searching for their own truth, fighting and losing and winning and – above all – grabbing readers by the throat and carrying them on an amazing journey.

Wool goes up on my electronic bookshelf, along with a few select read-them-again-and-again-over-the-years Science Fiction novels, right between Alexai Panshin’s RITE OF PASSAGE and Robert Hienlien’s STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND.

Thank you, Hugh Howey!   (and thank you @versoe for recommending this book!)

Vanessa Grant

If You Loved Me – Kindle version free Dec 8 and 9

Cover art by AngieOCreations.com – I love this cover

I’ve always been fascinated by the power of certain settings to wield control over so much of our lives. When the universal themes of survival, love, and the dreams that drive human men and women interact with extreme environments, lives can be transformed in unexpected ways.

In IF YOU LOVED ME, I plunged a busy Seattle doctor into a remote wilderness in a desperate search for her son.

When the setting is remote – like the northern waters where my heroine Emma’s son Chris and his friend have disappeared, and men and women are stressed by life and death issues, there’s not a lot of room for pretence or hesitation.  And when people go missing in the remote, largely unpopulated coastal forests of the North Pacific shores, everyone knows it’s a matter of life and death.

And sometimes, love.

This weekend, join me in an journey of love and adventure, in the Pacific Northwest that I love.

If You Loved Me – free on Amazon USA and Amazon UK

Vanessa