THE SISTERS, by Dervla McTiernan – Quick Detective Listen with Great Characters

If you’ve been paying attention to my Goodreads recently, you know I’ve polished off a couple of Audible’s Originals — short stories published exclusively on that platform.

I’m rather impressed with what Audible has put out on that front, including “The Sisters,” by Dervla McTiernan

Having read very little in the crime-detective genre, I was intrigued by “The Sisters,” mostly as a gateway story to the larger Cormac Reilly series by McTiernan. This story is somehow a prequel or a prelude to the larger series, so I was interested to dip my toe in. What I found was an interesting story with great characters, and I sort of just want to read more about them.

Airfric and Carrie are sisters, a barrister and a garda respectively, and both are eager to make names for themselves in their careers. Carrie becomes entangled in a suspicious murder case that Airfric is defending, and ends up helping to solve it against the wishes of the detectives in her squad.

Honestly, by the time the real detective aspect of this story got under way, it was halfway over. I really enjoyed both Carrie and Airfric as POV characters, but I wanted this story to have more meat to it.

A few weeks removed from listening to this, it feels like the first third of this two-hour listen was just Airfric going about one particularly bad day as a junior barrister, until she stumbles into this case.

Again, I loved Airfric as a POV character. McTiernan’s style is easy to grasp but not lacking in emotional depth. I think she excels in brevity that somehow carries added layers to it. I just wish I either had more time to spend in this story, or that the real story had begun sooner.

Just as you get used to Airfric’s voice and get into her part, the POV switches to her sister, Carrie. Carrie, the garda, was also a great character. Aside from their slightly different accents (both achieved by the narrator and noted in the story by other characters), it’s easy to glimpse of bit of Carrie and Airfric’s relationship, and hear the lifelong bond. Still, both have distinct narrative voices that play off each other well.

Once Carrie really digs into this case she’s not supposed to be involved with — because obviously — the story moves even more quickly and then ends, rather abruptly.

I think this could have been a novella, or even more, with the care that is given to these characters’ personalities and background. That’s really my only gripe with this story: it’s too damn short.

Aiofe McMahon was also a fantastic narrator. Who doesn’t love a melodious Irish accent? But for real, I’m finding that I will actively search out books narrated by specific people, simply because their voices are so pleasant to listen to, and they are talented vocal actors. I will definitely be listening to more of her McMahon’s work in audiobooks.

Steve D

Well, Now I’m Playing Dungeons & Dragons

I’m just now realizing that I probably should have taken a picture of our little table on Saturday, strewn with papers, journals, pencils, various-sided dice, and a few beer cans.

After talking about it a few times over the course of the last year or so, I started playing Dungeons & Dragons with a group of friends, and we had a great first night! Continue reading “Well, Now I’m Playing Dungeons & Dragons”

THE ISLAND by S. Usher Evans – A Light Survival Adventure

I used my time at the beach last week fairly well, if I do say so. I managed to read about 85% of a book in about six days, which is a much faster clip than I usually make.

The Island by S. Usher Evans is the first in her Madion War Trilogy, which I picked up at Awesome Con in April. After talking with the author for a few minutes, I decided to buy all three books at a discount.

After finishing book one, that seems like a pretty good decision. The Island is a solid adventure story that was easy to digest on a lazy vacation. Continue reading “THE ISLAND by S. Usher Evans – A Light Survival Adventure”

Exploring the Story – World of Warcraft

I’m not a huge gamer. The most recent systems in our house are a Gamecube, which I’ve had for over 15 years — maybe 20, which is scary — and a PS2, which we just took from my in-laws’ house because my brother-in-law didn’t want it anymore.

However, there are a few games that I will always love to play. The main one, if you hadn’t guessed, is World of Warcraft, an MMORPG that first came out in 2004. I started playing in 2005, and I played off and on until about 2014.

Once again, the drums of Warcraft are beating in my heart, and I’m probably about to start playing again. There are a thousand reasons why I love this game, but the primary one is my love of exploring this world.

Continue reading “Exploring the Story – World of Warcraft”

How to Defeat the Second-Act Drafting Slog

I’m currently knee-deep in the second-act slog of my first draft of The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy.

The most important characters have been established. A couple of key side-characters and plots have been introduced, or at least teased. I have solid ideas for the ending.

I’m just having trouble getting there. Continue reading “How to Defeat the Second-Act Drafting Slog”

Building a Plot through Dialogue

Plotting the first draft of a novel can be difficult. Oftentimes, you’re not sure exactly where the story is going until you get there. Weaving together multiple characters, their micro-conflicts, and the larger plot is impossible unless you already know how the tapestry should look.

I’ve been having trouble recently with writing my first draft for The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy. Some of that has been due to travel and other things going on in life, but a big part of it has been a bit of writer’s block. Luckily, I found a way around that, at least for now. Continue reading “Building a Plot through Dialogue”

“The Grand Mythos” Chapter 6 is Out

Chapter six of “The Grand Mythos of Úr’Dan” went live last night.

“Aenúrfít, the First Life” follows the first creature in the world as it adapts to its new home.

Genre: fantasy, high fantasy, mythic fantasy

Chapter Blurb: There is new life in the world, but the creature must adapt quickly. Find out what life is like for the first creature of this young world.

Series Blurb:

Every world has its folktales, but even folktales carry a part of the truth. Follow the first beings in the universe as they try to bring order and life to their home. Witness the creation of the vibrant world of Úr’Dan, and the fantastic creatures who live there. Based on the unique fantasy universe of the novel, The Warden of Everfeld: Memento.

Go to Wattpad to read it for free: 

https://www.wattpad.com/735558922-the-grand-mythos-of-%C3%BAr%27dan-volume-one-1-5-the

Following that Narrative Thought

My writing pace has slowed down a bit in recent days, and for once, I don’t mean in pure word count.

Maybe a week ago I completed a longer chapter centered on one’s character’s POV. I knew how I wanted the chapter to go, it just took a lot of writing time and words to get there.

I’ve since moved on to the next chapter with my favorite character–Arden–and I think my writing style has shifted a bit. Continue reading “Following that Narrative Thought”

Sometimes It’s Okay to Consolidate Your Narrative

Apologies for the late post today. I was helping a friend move some very heavy, very unwieldy couches across town. Although, I’m sure it will be Saturday by the time anyone reads this anyway.

I had a bit of a revelation recently regarding my first draft of The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy, and it’s really helped me focus my writing and plotting efforts, hopefully for the foreseeable future. Continue reading “Sometimes It’s Okay to Consolidate Your Narrative”

Chapter 5 of “The Grand Mythos” is Live!

Chapter five of “The Grand Mythos of Úr’Dan” just went up yesterday. And I’m shortening my publication schedule again. Look out for the next chapter in just three weeks!

“The Blood Seas and the Womb of the Earth” is the longest chapter yet in my series, and I would argue the most exciting. A new character arrives!

Genre: fantasy, high fantasy, mythic fantasy

Chapter Blurb: The First Four Vai’ad have begun to shape the Void to their liking, but Go’Dan wishes to create new life. They will soon discover that by combining their powers, the Vai’ad can truly master their world.

Series Blurb:

Every world has its folktales, but even folktales carry a part of the truth. Follow the first beings in the universe as they try to bring order and life to their home. Witness the creation of the vibrant world of Úr’Dan, and the fantastic creatures who live there. Based on the unique fantasy universe of the novel, The Warden of Everfeld: Memento.

Go to Wattpad to read it for free: 

https://www.wattpad.com/735558922-the-grand-mythos-of-%C3%BAr%27dan-volume-one-1-5-the

Steve D