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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 Oct. 01, 2013 :
The Tangled Path of Destiny by Shiva Winters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Tangled Path of Destiny by Shiva Winters
Wow! What more can I say except wow?
I have to admit that I might be the exception to the rule when it comes to this book. I did not expect or demand this much detail of what is going on with Monorth simply because I'd been enjoying the rest of the story. Also Book 5 will pretty much bring everyone up to date making this book extra bonus material. I would not go so far as to say that I didn't appreciate this book because it's an awesome addition.
Shiva describes this as dark and depressing and that is something I didn't so much notice, maybe a bad reflection on some of the things I've read recently. I would classify it as mostly gray and qualify that it seemed reasonable to assume that Monorth would venture into some gray areas in this story. This is a time travel story with the time traveler bent on letting the past take its course. Monorth is trapped in time but is certain it is not meant for him to change time. That doesn't mean that he wont try to hurry things along when they seem like they will drag out too long. That's how he gets into the gray area. I am not a real fan of bloody battle so this book was good in sparing me from too much of that.One of the big bonuses in this book is the development of the Jynx character and that alone makes this one worth reading. But despite anything Shiva might say in her blurb at the end; this story is epic and packed with quite a bit of action. I'm not sure how anyone who has enjoyed the other books in this series could be dissatisfied with this book. Of course there are always a few out there that will have to be dealt with.
The actual building of the world through the war time in this story brings me close to a place where I might compare this with The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. Keep in mind I read that in late 60's early 70's timeline and never really felt the urge to grab it up and read it again so my memory of the whole thing might be a bit fuzzy. It is still sitting there in all three volumes from a 1965 and 1966 edition that each contain a foldout map in the back that are still there untouched and never looked at. The whole set is on my bookcase waiting for me to read it again.
While Jynx often reminds me of the AI characters that Heinlein created, Monorth reminds me of Heinlein's Lazarus Long in the later years. But Monorth is also an intriguing brooding character that also often reminds me of the Count of Monte Cristo of Alexandre Dumas. When Edmond Dante takes up the fictitious identity of the Count, bent on revenge and any cost and then must face the personal consequences as extracts his own form of justice. Only in this story Monorth is taking on the identity not so much to exact revenge as it is to become more closely tied to the events of consequence during the beginning of the war. It's interesting to watch his internal struggle with several issues and finally having to reach to the depths of his own darkness to help move things along in the direction he'd much prefer not to take things if it weren't for the fact that these things must take place to save the future.
Shiva really shines in this one and I think that it's because it was such a struggle as she posits in the back of both books 5 and 5.5. The idea of being under the gun to write the portions she was trying to suppress within her head seems to have enhanced her usual talents. ( I should probably call them unusual talents.)
Even though I was not one to demand this book I will have to emphatically state that if you read the series and you enjoy all the other books then you must read this one.
This is Shiva at her best in character development and this was actually something that Monorth needed to go through since way back when he lost his first bonded mate.
Great SFF for all fantasy fans and lovers of epic fiction.Not so much again for those who are totally annoyed by random grammatical problems.
Well worth the trouble for any of those that are brave enough to try.
(reviewed long after purchase)