I have succeeded at infiltrating CONduit!
Here is my Schedule:
(I will not be attending Friday)
Saturday, May 23
- 1:00 Reading (Eccles)
- 2:00-4:00 Swap/Meet the Clubs/Signings (Stillwater)
Paul Genesse, Sarah Seeley, Ann Chamberlin
- 4:00-5:00 The Lovecraft Panel (Arches)
Eric Swedin, Christopher Husberg, Carter Reid, Sarah Seeley, Eric James Stone
Sunday, May 24
- 1:00-2:00 A Touch of the Macabre: The Thin Line Between Fantasy and Horror (Arches)
Jason King, Carter Reid, Sarah Seeley, Christopher Husberg.
- 3:00-4:00 40 Years of the Nights of Ni…Monty Python and the Holy Grail at 40 (Zion Ballroom)
Blake Cassellman, Sarah Seeley
For the full event schedule, download preview their PDF here: http://conduit-sf.com/C25files/CONduit-25-Program-Book.pdf.
See you there!
I was sitting alone in my car for some quiet writing time on Saturday when I had a little surprise encounter with nature. BYU campus is right at the base of the Wasatch mountains, and wild deer often come down to wander the grounds in search of green things to munch on. It always amazes me how graceful and ghostly quiet these creatures are. I find it a treat to spot one before it sees me and dashes away. This gal looked a bit lean but acted alert and healthy/normal otherwise. It made my solitary day a little bit brighter and less lonely.
And yes, I do write in my car sometimes. :-)
It’s nice when the weather isn’t too hot or too cold. I know no one is likely to bother me there (unless they text me), and I can get out for a little walk in the weather when I need a break.
It’s also convenient if I want to read my manuscripts out loud and I don’t want anyone to ask me what the heck is going on with that weird scary story…Mwahaha!
Happy first week of May!
May is my favorite month. The earth is alive. The days are warm and the daylight is still growing. One thing I like best about May is that BYU campus, where I often like to go to be alone, is totally empty and totally quiet for the first couple weeks after graduation festivities. Life, sunlight, and quiet are beautiful things.
Holli is one of the Space Balrogs, a group of local Utah authors I love. I got to know Holli at LTUE this year. She is pure awesome and really really nice. I decided to check out the first book in her paranormal YA series, published with Curiosity Quills Press, and I’m excited today to review Five–Out of the Dark.
Five follows a girl named Paige and her group of friends: Alec, Seth, Halli, and the boy she grows close to named Johnathan. Displaced or run away from their homes due to their magical abilities, the children find each other one by one. They embark on adventures to explore their powers and find opportunities to use them for good by contending with goblins, demons, and other various ghoulish disturbances to humanity. This ultimately leads them to a high school with a string of unusual suicides, and a mysterious plot to take over humanity. The teens also discover a magical mentor who informs them they aren’t just any haphazard gathering of kids with magical inclinations, but the next generation of “Five” who are tasked with protecting mankind from the forces of evil.
This story is a fun adventure with plenty of fantasy action, a mystery to solve, intriguing paranormal elements, and teen romance. I enjoyed the characters. The main characters each had their own distinct personalities that created fun dynamics for the group both in battle with the supernatural and as they drew together in simple matters of everyday survival. There is an intriguing subplot in which Johnathan (Paige’s love interest) must wrestle with an evil transformation that besets him after a changeling bites him. Paige pays a heavy, heart-wrenching price at the end to free Johnathan from his curse. I also liked the dark paranormal mystery twist Holli Anderson created in her depiction of high school life.
Lovers of YA fantasy and YA paranormal are sure to enjoy this opening installment in what promises to be an entertaining series.
*If you’ve read Five and loved it, you might also be interested in my review of YA fantasy Vivatera.
Dave Butler is one of my author heros. LTUE 2014 was my fist year as a writing panelist. If Dave hadn’t encouraged me to get in touch with the organizers of that event, and invited me to join his table of stellar indie authors for that and several subsequent events, I may not have known or engaged in the opportunities to network, sell, and panel that have really bolstered my confidence and grown my audience as an author. He also gave me valuable feedback on my manuscript of Maladaptive Bind before I published the novel edition. Dave is just an all-around awesome guy–and a fabulous salesman to boot. He began as an independently published author, and has recently had a number of his titles picked up by Wordfire Press, including his YA post-apocalyptic thriller Crecheling. I’m very excited for Dave and wish him the best of luck with his new publisher.
I’ve had this book on my physical bookshelf in its indie form for over a year, and decided to pick up Wordfire’s Kindle edition for my phone to read to me at work. I am far past due for reviewing this book, and so excited that I was finally able to read/listen to it.
Crecheling follows the intense story of a young girl named Dyan who must ritualistically kill another “child” or teenager her age named Jak from a lower pastoral class. This boy along with four other teens were deemed too smart for their caste, and therefore too much of a threat to the order of the System. All children raised in upper-class Creches (Creches being groups of children raised together by a “Magistrate” rather than in family units like the lower classes) must join the blood cult of the Urbane class to be inducted into the System–or else become outcasts and outlaws of open rebellion to be “captured or killed” if they refuse. More often, these upper-class people who attempt to flee the System are killed, it seems.
The reward for Dyan and her Crechemates in proving their loyalty to the System through such drastic means is induction into Urbane adulthood and their desired roles in society. (Dyan wants only to be a full-time daycare worker or “Magistrate” at that–an occupation of nurture and compassion rather than brutality). Everything goes wrong, of course when the boys and girls Dyan and her Chrechemates are ordered to kill decide to retaliate–and killing was not at all what she thought would be expected of her.
The central concept I took away from Crehceling was a rather profound exploration of the idea that families are fundamental units of society. In a fictional civilization where families are all but done away, the romantic subplot between Dyan and Jak (as many YA books feature a romantic subplot) results in their beautifully mature resolution to join together as “man and good wife” to create their own family in utter defiance of the System’s grooming. This strikes me as a clever and thought-provoking trope twist. Wrapped up nicely with this progression are other significant revelations about the power of family ties that could not be stifled by the System that come to light toward the end of the book.
The story is bloody with many character-personal casualties (few expendables were slaughtered, which I like). It also features these highly creative “monofilament” whips that can cut a person in half with a single lash. I found these to be the most intriguing–and terrifying–technological features of Butler’s brutal world. As a geologist, I also loved adventuring through the milieu of deserts and canyons scorched by heat.
Butler has created a rich post-apocalyptic world with strong characters. The action-packed plot is full of twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you’re a fan of YA dystopia and post-apocalyptic fiction, put this on your reading list. It is fantastic.
You can buy Crecheling on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Crecheling-Buza-System-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00TZ7TEP6
Or at Barnes and Noble here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crecheling-d-j-butler/1117499120?ean=9781614753032.