Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Can You Keep A Secret? and The Silver Spoon

--Can You Keep A Secret? By Sophie Kinsella
In most ways, Can You Keep a Secret adheres pretty closely to the Brit chick-lit formula. The heroine is the typical singleton, attracted to her boss, trying to revive a flagging career, earn her parent's respect, and convince herself that her bland boyfriend is "the one."

Fortunately, author Kinsella takes the formula and wraps it around the questions: What if you confessed all your secrets to a complete stranger? And what if that stranger turns out to be your boss?

Fueled by a combination of sexual tension and hero Jack Harper's clever references to heroine Emma's secrets, the interactions between the two sizzle. The notion of starting a relationship with someone who already knows everything about you gives the romance an interesting twist.

Can You Keep a Secret? is not a deep book. It's breezy and fun but ultimately, the heroine doesn't learn much about herself or develop much in character. Though she seems to learn the value of telling the truth, the lesson is diminished by the nature of her lies. Most are the white lies we all tell, used to avoid hurting the feelings of our loved ones--hardly "bad behavior."

Nonetheless, recommended for anyone who wants a fun, light read.

--The Silver Spoon By Stacey Klemstein
The combination of romance and SF is unusual. Both Catherine Asaro and S.L. Viehl have had success with romantic SF, but in general SF is still a boy's genre, dominated by the harder, chewier end of the spectrum. The Silver Spoon is a nice addition to romantic SF's thin ranks.

Observers, a race of aliens, have lived among us for years. But until they are forced by geopolitical events to reveal themselves, no human knew of their existence.

At the time the story begins, the Observers now live openly on Earth, supposedly researching humanity. Zara Mitchell, the owner of the titular diner the Silver Spoon, has suffered from devastating nightmares centered on the Observers. Consequently, her feelings toward the Observers are not exactly warm and fuzzy and the arrival of the Observer, Caelan, in her diner is not a happy occasion.

And yet, in one shattering moment, she finds herself in an uneasy alliance with Caelan. Her diner has been destroyed and she is on the run, fleeing another Observer who inexplicably wants her dead. As the novel unfolds, Zara realizes that the attempts on her life and Caelen's belief that she is a central figure in his "prophecy" are tied to who or perhaps "what" she is. Although Zara's changing attitude toward Caelan, from near revulsion to attraction, feels a little rushed, their relationship works and doesn't unfold in a predicatable manner.

The pacing is fast, perhaps a little too fast. Things happen so fast, Zara is on the run so quickly, that there is no contrasting sense of "status quo," i.e., what life was like before Caelan showed up. The writing is spare and efficient, but at times, a little lacking in description. The result is the novel lacks a strong sense of place and the author doesn't make full use of what seem like interesting settings.

Zara Mitchell is capable without degrading into the bitter, tough-as-nails archetype so frequently seen (overused) in first person stories. With its approachable heroine and driving pacing, The Silver Spoon is a fun and breathless SF romp.
Recommended.

Still Reading...
The Waterborn By Greg Keyes.

Starting...
The Assistants By Robin Lynn Williams

Writing...
I hate Courier New. It's a nasty, ugly font. When I first started writing, my "research" indicated that Courier was the font to use. Hated it, but accepted it. Now, it seems that the SF/F/H communities preference for Courier is not the norm, at least not among other genres.

Most, it seems, take Times Roman, which looks gobs better on the page.

Anyway, I'm sick of looking at scrawny, anemic Courier. I'm stuck with it for most F/SF venues, but at least I can switch to Times Roman for the "Romance." Converted Pinocchio's Dream a couple of days ago. Another bonus, it takes up less space on the page and less paper to print.

Getting interesting in my characters again. Hope to get at least 500 new words tonight.

Cheers,

P.K.

 

Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005