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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. 31, 2014 :
Change of Seasons by Shiva Winters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Change of Seasons(The Relics and Remnants)by Shiva Winters
Shiva Winters is master of the long sentence, which is what I love so much about her prose. She is an artist pushing the limits of the craft and sometimes it becomes recognizable by the flaws that creep into the whole mix. Despite those few flaws I can not help reading everything she writes. This novel is a bit less than the two action series that she's done in that it has a more sedate feel to it. It's much the same as her Wandering Steps Across a Starry Sky. They both deal with some somewhat nomadic characters. WSAASS had Gypsies in space and Change of Seasons has its Gypsies in the rough wilderness world of the Relics and Remnants.
This novel has a lot of world building; but it is all carefully ensconced in a bit of an Adventure Romance[putting emphasis on Romance]. There is a bit of steam punk without the Steam and the Victorian feel. There are airships and there are mechanical devices that have been left from an ancient race that lived on this world prior to man's arrival. So its more of a clockwork-punk type of novel without the added feature of vampires and werewolves and fictional characters remade. Well there are some mechanical wolves of a sort and even some mechanical birds with AI's.
The focus of the plot for this story is less the dark drama of the the Salak'patan Series and the Forgotten Children Series[That's not to say it won't get there in the coming future.]; but right now in this first novel the focus is on introducing the Winters family and taking them through the gruesome trail of Romance along with a bit of light adventure. The youngest girls; Talia and Katia; steal the show for me. But the romances are around them, though they have their own special relationship. This is the story of Daniel and Serina and their family and the romance is all on their daughter Sana and a family friend Stephen. But it's also the story of the Ronin and the Winters family and the precarious life they have as being considered the cast-off bits of the empire.
As far as the adventure and intrigue; this time it's more akin to what we read in Dumas and the Three Musketters. There is a lot of court intrigue and even the society of the gypsy like Ronin has a complex structure. Stephen(an outsider) must wend his way into the Ronin so he might court the one he loves while Sana has traveled off to the empire on vacation only to discover that she is courted by a high noble while she knows that her family name will doom any such relationship.
The scope of the book is quite wide as Talia and Katia uncover and restore a multitude of Remnants of the others who used to live on their world. What they are doing will be dangerous and costly but will benefit both the Winters family and the Ronin of whom their mother is one. In this back drop we have such creatures as the mechanical wolves and the birds and floating wagons and replicator machines.
Once again there is no end to Shiva's imagination and the execution is a treat to explore though it has it's rough edges that border on some few errors and style choices that some will love and some will hate. Shiva writes these for her own enjoyment and publishes them with the hope that others will enjoy.
I hope that fans of SFF and Romance and Adventure novels will find as much to enjoy and love about these books as I do and I hope Shiva has a lot of time yet to write many more.
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(reviewed 61 days after purchase)