It’s Official: Room 3 Cover and Sample are Here!

I’m excited (if still a bit off my game) today. Why, you ask? Well, title says it all. The cover to Room 3 is finally ready to go, and I’m happy to show it to you.

Thanks go to Ryan of Novel Branding for another knockout cover. Dude knows his stuff. Here’s the current blurb:

Stolen away from the world she thought she knew by a shadowy organization, Kelli has accepted their warped version of reality; over and over, she is forced into a dream world, where she must unravel a mysterious song and free a hostage trapped in a giant tree. Long-term failure means only one thing: death.

Then came Carla. A new captive, the Organization treats her like royalty, hailing her as the key to their success.With Carla’s arrival comes better treatment and an unexpected side effect: visits from dead family and friends. One pleads with her to protect Carla, while the other leads her to question Carla’s motivations and her own role in the Organization.

Following a failed escape attempt, Kelli’s fragile existence begins to unravel and she learns that  even her most basic assumptions about her life, and the world itself, could all be false. As events spiral out of control, Kelli finds herself caught in a whirlwind battle between godlike beings who hold own fate, and that of the entire Organization, in their hands.

I’ve also posted a sample chapter on my Room 3 page, up top, so go ahead and check it out! I’d love to know what you think so far.

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That Old Familiar Feeling: Reviewing Valknut the Binding by Marie Loughin

Something about Valknut: The Binding felt very familiar. Not in the sense that I had read the story before; on the contrary, the premise and its plot are highly unique. You don’t often find Norse mythology, hobo culture, and a murder mystery tied together in one neat package. I felt more that the overall story had a familiar feel, as if it were informed by the same influences that have defined my own career. I also thought it could make a great episode of Supernatural or the X-files, so that could contribute to the feeling. In any case, it’s a good familiarity, like meeting an old friend after many years apart.

The characters of Valknut live their own lives. It’s a simple statement, but it’s one of praise. At no point did I feel the characters were anything other than themselves (with their own emotions), even as the plot dragged them to the conclusion. The protagonist, Lennie, is a young woman drawn into circumstances that she doesn’t understand by her quest to find her missing father. She meets “Junkyard” Doug, a hobo on a similar quest to find his brother’s murderer, the serial killer known as the Hobo Spider. They’re soon accompanied by “Jungle” Jim Tuttle. Jungle Jim was something of a difficult character for me. I liked him – a lot. He had a purity of spirit that rang true – when we see him lighting up everyone’s faces, it feels genuine. My only problem is that it kind of plays into the trope of “the Rainman”, wherein someone with a disability has another compensating benefit, typically one that is magical. I’ve seen it done so much that it needed a little something more. Unfortunately, I don’t think he quite overcame that, as much as I might have wished he would. While I think Jungle Jim is a great character, I had a bit of a pause at seeing this again that has stuck with me.  Continue reading