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I know, I am supposed to come on here and give everyone some deep insight into who I am and the nature of my existence, but for all that I have been writing for better than half my life and have been publishing the results of those efforts for several years, I have not in the past nor will I likely in the future do such a thing. To be perfectly honest, I am simply and without question just not that interesting, personally or professionally, perhaps that is an assessment that is overly humble or unfair, but it's a truth that is nevertheless fundamental. In a day and in the age when seemingly everyone is all too eager to document their every personal detail and display their every passing thought, I personally can find no compelling reason to do the same. Call it a quirk, call it a choice, or call it my own personal form of crazy, but there is me living through the dull-drums of existence and there are my books which at their core are the stories I've told myself over the years, and one category is considerably more interesting to me than the other.
When I first started writing, all those years ago, I didn't begin by putting words to a page for profit, or because I had delusions that one day I'd be celebrated for my efforts. I did it because it seemed like it might be a good way to pass the time, and in that moment, though I hardly understood it at that time, I found something when I wasn't looking for it. Since then, as time has passed, and I have honed my abilities, the underlying element of that moment of self-discovery hasn't truly changed, Entertainment. I don't write books because I can, I certainly don't write them for the sake of profit, though there is a glimmer of hope that one day there might be more of that. I write books because it's fun for me, it is my own strange kind of hobby and my own odd form of self-entertainment. And even if were to reach a point on some future day where the scales tip and I feel that this whole attempt to publish the results of my efforts is no longer viable, I will undoubtedly keep writing, if only for my own sake. I first published my books after a long and troubled decision making process, which ultimately weighed out marginally in the favor of the idea, that perhaps because I liked my books a great deal, that perhaps there were people in the world who would find an equal amount of joy in them. While at times there has been good reasons to doubt that belief there have been moments when that belief has proven true.
I am not like most writers, that is a truth best acknowledged right up front, I don't write my books thinking to imitate another author with their pulse pounding action, high drama, or unending tension. I write the stories I find interesting, create the worlds I think are cool, to follow the characters I like, through the events that unfold in front of both them and myself as we work our way towards whatever may come. I don't plot out my novels, I don't outline the story, I don't pre-program the dialogue, and often enough even I am surprised by the end of the current chapter as things change on a whim. My books are an organic process that grow and shift, free from over-sight and restrictions and ultimately often lead to place not even I can predict. Whether those who read my books like what comes of my strange hobby is more often than not is my very last concern, and while I might feel compelled to apologize for that being the case, it doesn't or won't change the facts in the end. Each book and each series I write are a result of the page's progress through the succession of each line and paragraph, loyal only to the facts on the page and require only the input of myself as a conduit in allowing those words to progress through their natural courses. So the end results of those efforts often enough take a path not even I expected, but I for one won't and will never change that fact.
My books are often strange and unexpected, I feel it is only right to acknowledge this, and there have been some in the past who have taken exception with that fact, angry that I did not meet their expectations. But I did not write my books for them, I wrote them for myself, selfish though that is, and I certainly did not publish my stories for them. Ultimately I publish my books for the small percentage of people who might read them and like them, and for the occasional bits of far flung joy I get from having people tell me how and why they enjoyed something I wrote. If you are one of those readers who starts a book with expectations and the belief that it is the writer's job to meet those expectations, please look elsewhere. But if you are one of those readers who reads simply for the joy of it, without expectations of what you might find, than I hope you will like what I have written.
on June 02, 2014 :
The Sixth Movement by Shiva Winters
When Shiva Winters proclaims that she writes for entertainment she's not kidding. I've come to expect a number of things from her work and the highest on the list is the entertainment. This installment of Forgotten Children is no exception to the rules. There will be long sentences lots of world building and bunches of creative science along with somewhat realistic though rather super-humanly strong characters. If you're looking for strong female characters then look no further. Shiva(The character in the novel) and her adopted family have plenty to go around.
In the previous book we learned many of the dark secrets of Anslaw; and Shiva rediscovered herself and made her stand against an abuse that had gone on for too long. This resulted in her being interred at Anslaw and Aerisa. Free to live there, but not free to live among others except the other sixes. This has given her the time and opportunity to release more of her fellow 6's from their cryogenic containers and begin a slow process of integrating them. But now they need to further gain freedom by becoming less dependent on the government that is grudgingly taking care of their responsibilities to the soldiers they created.
One way Shiva and company can do this is to help track down the 5's who were sold off into the black market. But for Shiva; the only way to do this type of work, is on her terms. So the majority of the plot to this installment is the conflict between her with her family of 6's and the government. Some of those officials seem to earnestly want to help but many still want to use the 6's and gain some sort of return on their investment. Shiva will have to stand strong against any potential for abuse and she'll have to somehow learn to trust those who deserve the trust.
The reader is about to learn more about the abuse Shiva had to endure and the result; with some rather extensive explanations for some unknown passages under Anslaw. And as Shiva's intellect begins to kick in strong we see the building of the base from which the community of 6's will begin to gain their freedom. Yet each time Shiva needs to interface with the politicians and military it becomes a test of wills.
This installment includes some few strategic battles pitting 6's against 5's and those battles, for the most part, seem mostly one-sided, but since the real conflict here is between those who want to help and those who want to continue to abuse, it works out quite well as the plot goes and it creates a well paced Science Fiction Military Suspense Thriller.
As I mentioned the main players are beginning to look like super-humans with extra powers that give them the edge. But Shiva Winters does her usual excellent job of bring the human characteristics into each character with their flaws both major and minor and all displaying simple normal human traits. As with the previous novel there is a distinct Lesbian thread in the story but it does not overpower or dominate the story and is handled in a quite logical believable fashion.
As always with Shiva's writing I caution anyone who has a weakness when it come to grammar that there will be at least a few flaws in the fabric. Most are in the form of repeated words or missing words.
Like a good scotch whiskey Shiva Winter's prose can sometimes be an acquired taste so I recommend for the new reader to start with some of her earlier work. You will love it or hate it but if you read enough you should start craving it. I'm always happy to see when she releases one of her newer labels.
I had a chance to look at the ARC for her new steam-punk novel and, for those fans that love her current series already, it will be a great treat to add to your collection.
No pressure for you to get that one finished Shiva.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)