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 July 02, 2014 :
As a long-time fan of Shiva Winters' Slak'patan series, I was eager to start this one as well. Her wit and wisdom are amusing and sometimes I like a good happy ending. I think I'm going to stick to the Salak universe, however.
First I'll start with what I liked about this book and say that it's not an inherently bad book, but it's not my thing.
First off, I loved the main character (Also named Shiva) from the start when she was surrounded by much larger and very violent bullies and immediately put them into their places. I also greatly enjoyed how both Shiva (the character) and her girlfriend both turned out to be lesbians and literally NO ONE CARED! I want to live in a world like that some day. I also enjoyed the action scenes when they happened. I could picture the flying debris, Shiva's rising rage and that becoming the source of her energy in an endless hail of bullets, again surrounded by an enemy much larger than herself and incredibly aggressive.
What I did NOT like, and Shiva (the author) will hate me forever for saying this, but it's true, is how Shiva (the character) immediately turned into a giant marshmallow in the second chapter.
If the character had a name in this story, they seemed to either be the enemy or a cuddle buddy. Hardened military personnel can't seem to keep their hands off of a teenaged girl. I can only assume that this is also part of this type of world but it just didn't sit well with me.
There were the usual amount of typos, but my brain automatically corrects those as I read, so they did not detract from the story for me. Those who are jarred out of their reading experience by a misplaced comma or missing word will have a hard time here.
Overall, I recommend this book if you like something light with occasional outbursts of vague violence, you will likely greatly enjoy this book and may even find a new favorite author in the creative and talented Shiva winters. It was simply not my kind of fiction.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Oct. 31, 2013 :
The Sixth Line of Defense by Shiva Winters
Shiva does it again.
Shiva Winters has a style a draws me right into the character right in the beginning. In this case she sounds like your average troubled teen who has to deal with a lot of intercity thugs at school. Only Shiva (this is also the name of the protagonist) has been bounced from school to school because she has a specific boiling point where she can no longer container herself in the face of adversity. She's proactive and she's tough and she doesn't back down and rarely loses the fight. She's been shifted from one bad school to another because of this.
Shiva is a special case as we soon find out both through her and through her handler Devon who has something in common with Shiva. Both are genetic soldier of a bygone era that were created to win the war and save the day. Except Shiva is from the 6th generation of these soldiers. Devon is from the 3rd gen and gens 4 and 5 were so horrible that the ones that didn't get put down are on ice. That means that everyone expects Shiva from gen 6 to be the worst.
That's pretty much the set-up for this story.
This book also contains a theme common to Shiva Winter's other writing. That theme is that there is a special bond between people that goes beyond friendship, sex, and even sometimes love. It knows no bounds when it happens and it's a profound experience and in some case as with the Salak'patan Series it can be deadly to both parties when on member of the bond dies.
This book also contains a heavy lesbian theme which is introduced fairly soon in the novel. Shiva and Vala meet at a special school (one that Devon has found for Shiva) and they bond and become very close in a short time, since that is the nature of the bond it makes the quick romance become somewhat believable.
Besides the bond itself we find that Vala has some special significance in the plot of the story.
Ultimately because of the failure to integrate the 4s and the 5s into society the military has been reluctant about the 6s and have only tried to integrate a handful of which all have failed except Shiva and as we mentioned Shiva has problems. Part of the plot is that someone wants them to have problems because they want to bury them deep. It eventually comes out that it's all part of a plot that hinges on eliminating the 6s who in part were created in-case the enemy was ever able to compromise the 4s and 5s and turn them against the military.
As the blurb mentions this story is about what it means to be human and that is definitely examined in a number of ways throughout the Narrative.
And that brings us to Shiva's style of writing. Her narrative is rich and sometimes her sentences are long and descriptive. And these are all things I enjoy about her writing. I will caution those who are severe about grammar spelling and general editing that this once again is not the book for you. Of those I took time to mark there are over 30 missing words or double words or things like than instead of then and in some cases ambiguous statements that sound wrong in context which might be more missing words or misspelled.
This is a good SFF for Young Adults and it contains some reasonable lesbian romance.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 19, 2012 :
I generally steer away from stories about people with special mental abilities, but I'm glad I gave this one a shot. It didn't turn out to be anything like I expected and the characters are well outside of the types of characters that I normally identify with, and yet I enjoyed the book a great deal.
That isn't to say that the book is flawless. There are many instances where a word was used in the wrong tense that caused a sentence to be confusing. There are also some places where a comma was missing and "to" being used in place of "too." The changes in POVs could also use a little work as it isn't always clear who the POV is for as much as a page of text.
That being said, it was a very enjoyable reading experience and I look forward to more work from the author.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)