My Words!

New Year dawning??

Yo! So after that spam of reviews, let me say, Happy New Year! I’m way more active over on Patreon lately, news-wise. It’s a bit easier to post there and people are invested in me being as transparent as I can be about what I’m up to. However, my website is good for more concrete posts and updates, so I enjoy it for that aspect. It’s not so easy to catalogue things over there however, so I like to post those sorts of things here especially. For now, neither are made entirely redundant.

So, it’s officially been the first week of the new year, and what have I been up to, you fail to wonder? Well, I fell ill right at Christmas, so I’ve mostly been sleeping and in bed and just generally being an invalid. And reading! I’ve been trying to force myself into a new (okay, a renewed) era of reading. I have an idea of what I want to read this year, minimum-wise. I’d like to read the other six Harry Potter novels, reread Kelly’s two Nyra novels, read at least one of my friend Tom’s Ember tales like I meant to do last year, and possibly get through a Durarara!! novel or two. It’s a big catalogue for someone who rarely does any reading, but I have my hopes. For now, I start with The Waters of Nyra Vol. I. The newest editions of both volumes are bloody GORGEOUS and I’m so jealous. It makes me very very much want to renew my search into artists to do my own covers for other works in the future. Hers have a vintage feel, invoking in me memories of old, bent-up, yellowing books in musty bookshelves of my childhood, and that is excellent. I’m opting to read the physical copies this go round, because it’s going to be rarer and rarer I get to read physical volumes of anything, you know?

Now, borrowing this list from Patreon, here is the most up-to-date inventory of my works as of the first; it’s only outdated for 2121: The End of Syfe, which I already got back to work on a bit at a time.

[“Jinn Trilogy”]
Between the Lines: 1,512 words (Sci-fi)
(Delving into Jinn’s background via a friend who knew him “in the before times”, features advanced technology and a lack of positive social interactions. The main character is outfitted with an experimental AI named Junpei.)
Efficiency: 7,664 words (Sci-fi)
(A man wakes up to find himself bound and under a rusted scalpel of someone who insists they should be recognized. On the run from he doesn’t know what, he is told someone named Jinn just might be able to help him. Whether he likes it or not, of course.)
Viral Genetics: 3,357 words (Sci-fi)
(Jinn employs a veritable army of working Joes, but Erik has a name, and a specialty–and a goal.)

[“Outwards” Stories]
Behind the Moon: 9,730 words (Fantasy)
(Ed slips through a shadow in the middle of the night and tumbles painfully into another world.)
Beneath the Wind: 28,578 words (Fantasy, Romance)
(Venswick is in danger; Ed’s presence has drawn dark eyes upon its luscious land.)

[The Redford Verses’ Stories]
2121: The End of Syfe: 57,449 words (Fantasy, Sci-fi)
(The ex-patients of Redford are struggling under the burden of righting the worlds they know before the end of 2121. The worlds are all under siege, and not everyone is coming out on top.)
Love Burns: 120 words (Fantasy)
(Zackary Ezrael Tyke thinks about his closest relationships.)
The Truth About Judais: 185 words (Fantasy)
(Lilania is a lively spirit, always open to new experiences. When she befriends a visiting rogue named Ezrael, a very important bond forms.)

[“The World Tree” Stories]
Spanners: 31,509 words (Fantasy)
(Penny and Shaun are tasked with studying the Spire, and when they can’t help but activate it, it naturally breaks. Or kills them. These are the most logical possibilities, unlike Shaun’s simple suggestions that they’ve found themselves in the past or Asgard or both.)
The World Tree Detective Agency: 1,246 words (Fantasy)
(Loki is being punished for something they didn’t do, as usual, but this time the gods have decreed that Sigyn be captured until Loki show some results. Enter The World Tree Detective Agency, Loki’s pet project.)

A Cat & His Box: 25,319 words (Sci-fi, Humor)
(Fel is officially a runaway–alongside their three friends and Dingy, a Spacelot, which happens to be some sort of two-tailed space-faring feline with a witty AI named Noire in the mysterious Box, a special ship with a special trait, which, if you couldn’t guess, is that it was stolen.)
The Community: 5,712 words (Sci-fi)
(Zan and Wicket are from different Sectors–different worlds, really–but Zan doesn’t see what the big deal is about sharing his space with her. The Community has its regulations, however, and the consequences are not so kind.)
Dark Blood: 10,625 words (Thriller, Horror)
(Cindy is shy and new to the island, and the council just doesn’t seem to care for her very much. The resident goof seems not to mind her though, and so they try a thing called friendship. And then she’s attacked.)
Dreamscape: 7,165 words (Drama, Romance)
(John is desperately trying to smuggle Elise out of the country, before she can be hacked open and exploited by the government he worked for. John is now unemployed.)
Duality: 2,613 words (undisclosed)
(I cannot talk about this project under penalty of death or disappointment, I’m not entirely sure which.)
Just Business: 6,483 words (Romance)
(Alice is recruited by a secretive organization to do work. Nothing terribly specific, and her coworkers are not the most forthcoming.)
Purity: 152 words (Fantasy)
(J is under arrest when the world suddenly decides to dissolve all around him.)
The Silver Coin: 836 words (Romance)
(The caravan is on the move, and Ariana can hardly fend for herself. That’s where Dimitri comes in, with his infamous silver coin, and their migration for survival twists into a knot.)
What Lies Beyond: 4,678 words (…)
(A series of questionable events that I have lived through.)
Winter Red: 53,662 words (Thriller)
(Melinda escaped the noise of the world, only to find herself in the hands of a serial killer. But when he doesn’t murder her immediately, and slowly teaches her the tools of the trade, is it trauma or fate that guides her own hand?)
(Untitled Drabble): 682 words (Supernatural, Romance)
(Clein and Thom have a symbiotic relationship. Clein gets to fulfill his social needs outside of having a pack, and Thom can possess him on the regular. It has its benefits.)
(Untitled Sherlock Holmes): 631 words (Mystery, Thriller)
(Watson has seen Holmes through many a case, but he isn’t sure he is willing to stand by his friend any longer.)

~Lils

Tagged with: ,

When dividing loyalties, consider your options…

S-BOMB warning. That’s SPOILER-ALERT, for those less crude than I.

So here we are, at the final story in my Sherlock Holmes collection: The Priory School. I’ve read it before, so bits and pieces came back to me as I read. I was mostly excited to be finishing the book so that I could move on to the next, truth be told! But, as to the matter of this story… it has a fairly good lesson on where loyalties should lie, when dealing with family and scandal and so on. The Duke of Holdernesse has a complicated situation, that is only revealed at the end of the tale. He has an illegitimate son (he had apparently tried to enter a legitimate marriage with his mother, but the woman would have none of it and died) whom he kept as a secretary. A marriage and ensuing legitimate heir however upset the matter greatly. The elder son isn’t on his best behavior, and ultimately the wife leaves for France, and the younger son goes to Dr. Huxtable’s priory school nearby.

The case is, when it comes right down to it, the kidnapping of the younger son by the elder, with an accidental murder in-between. Holmes goes about in his usual methods, scouring the region for clues and keeping Watson mostly in the dark until the ultimate reveal. For once, he gets a hefty sum for his involvement (and his silence). The one thing he does do is make certain the Duke understands just how foolish he’s been to keep James, the elder son, under the same roof as his hated little brother, with his behavior being as it is. The Duke assures him that James will be going to Australia to find himself, and that he’s already in the process of tidying up his relationship with his wife since it was ultimately just James that was the problem, and Holmes is satisfied.

My only real question is, why end on this note? I do not know the rhyme or reason behind the stories included in this collection, honestly. I cast a fresh eye upon the introduction to the book, and it mostly says that, of the 56 stories about Holmes’ adventures, they chose those which stood out (which is funny to me, because this is precisely what Watson is supposedly doing at the introduction to each tale). Finally, for now, my reviews of Sherlock Holmes are at an end, until I pick up with my complete collection on the Kindle or another collection with new selections. For those interested, the pretty hard cover edition with a slip case that my friend Jesus purchased for me can be found here.

Interested in The Priory School? It can be purchased here.

~Lils

Tagged with: , , , ,

Too many dancing men and one too many stalkers.

S-BOMB warning. That’s SPOILER-ALERT, for those less crude than I.

One more down! Last night I read The Dancing Men, a Sherlock Holmes short story that I’ve seen depicted and read many times over the years. It’s a nice, twisted up little tale that involves cryptography (which I love). The dancing men, as they are called, are a written code, hidden behind what appears to be children’s scribbles. Holmes is keen to solve the mystery behind the riddle, but it takes time; he needs more samples of the curious messages. Mr. Hilton Cubitt asks that Holmes solve the mystery so that his mysterious wife can rest at ease. Ever since the messages began, she’s steadily declined in mental health and is just dying before his eyes and he can’t take it!

Sadly, the last message Holmes receives causes him to rush towards Mr. Cubitt’s home in a desire to prevent a tragedy, but when he reaches the station he finds he is too late. Murder has been done, supposedly the loving wife upon the trusting husband. No one is sure who shot first, only that they both suffered injury and he is dead. So, while the first half the of the story was about decoding the messages, the latter half is about solving a murder. The murder isn’t as straight-forwards as the local inspector feels, but he’s more than willing to follow in Holmes’ lead to see the great detective work. Almost immediately, Holmes discovers that there was a third shot, as well as a third person present during the crime. From there, he figures out where the third person has been staying and sends them a letter, written in the dancing men, supposedly from the injured woman’s hand. It is in this fashion that Holmes soon has his man. Once the particulars are ironed out so that the woman will not be shamed with possible guilt of murdering her husband, of which she is not guilty, Holmes quietly puts to rest the dancing men, which soon become immortalized as decor at 221B Baker Street.

It is an iconic piece of decor, really, and, outside of the bullet holes forming letters I can never quite recall, the dancing men are the first piece that always comes to mind for me. This is a brief review, but honestly, the majority of the story that interested me was Holmes’ explaining the finer points of cryptography, and there isn’t much to comment on in that regard! So cheers, I’m so close to done with this collection!

Interested in The Dancing Men? It can be purchased here.

~Lils

Tagged with: , , , ,