Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Countdown? One. More. Day.


#1: The Circle, by Ted Dekker

As per my LOTR post, I couldn't pick which book in this series to focus on. There's so much here that I had to include it all in one post... because really, it's all been hugely inspiring to my writing career.

1. Two worlds

In Dekker's series, there are two completely real and completely believable worlds. One is our own, and the other is one that I would never have imagined -- one where sometimes the world is literally turned upside down so the people can have more fun.

The brilliance, however, is that both worlds are similar enough to make them real. Never once did I doubt the integrity of the story based on the two unique worlds, even when Thomas Hunter was going back and forth between them. In fact, that only seemed to make the worlds more real.

2. Circular storyline

What Dekker did with this series is something I'd never seen before, and haven't seen since.

Black, Red, & White were all released in sequence, in that order, without much time between their releases. They were also written in sequence, as far as I know. But what makes it interesting is the addition of book four, Green. This book takes the original trilogy and throws it on its head.

How, you ask?

Because book four makes the whole series into a literal circle.

If you want to know what that means, then you should probably check out Dekker's series -- because I'm not about to spoil it for you.



P.S. The series isn't over... 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Game Over

First thing's first: We're starting a new countdown.

Four days, and counting...

To what? 

Well you'll have to wait four days and see!


#2: Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card 

Goodness, this book. I picked it up one day expecting to have a fun book to read during my busy work schedule, and instead I threw out the work schedule and finished the book.

1. Ender

It's not often that we get to read a book through the POV of a child, and it's even less frequent that the book is actually well written. Fortunately for us, Ender is mature enough that the story seems a little less like a kiddo telling us about his war games.

Orson Scott Card is one of the best authors to read when it comes to this. He keeps Ender very much a child, while giving him enough maturity to show us how smart kids really can be.

If you ever want to write a child character, read this book.

2. The game

As per the title, this book is all about a game. Ender's game.

The fun part is, we don't really get to understand the game, because Ender doesn't even understand it. So we get to come along for the ride, which again adds a unique aspect to the story. Technically, it's written from the POV of an unreliable narrator, but it's only because Ender doesn't really get the full picture either... until the end.

Want to write an unreliable narrator who's still relatable? Read this book.

3. The ending

This is the biggest reason why I recommend this book to people. Even I didn't see the ending coming, and I find joy in the fact that I very nearly always know how books, television shows, movies, etc, are going to end.

So if you want to be surprised by the ending of a book, read this book.

In a word: addicted.

That's what I've been when it comes to this series, since I first picked up Ender's Game.

[love... and four days counting]

{Rani Divine}

Friday, September 25, 2015


#3: Demon: A Memoir, by Tosca Lee

If you haven't read anything by Lee yet, I encourage you to do so. And I encourage you to start with Demon, as I did.

It won't disappoint.

1. A study in writing

This is a book written about a man writing a book. He's ghostwriting it, really, as told to him by a demon.

Interesting idea, isn't it?

For me, it became a study in writing. Lee used several techniques I'd never seen before, and she carved everything out into a story that had me itching to find out what was going to happen next. I had great difficulty in putting the book down once I picked it up, and for me, that's saying a lot.

In reading this book, I was pushed to be more creative in the way that I see the world around me, and in the way that I write about it.

That alone would've put it on the list, but the thing that really got it here is...

2. A study in living

Lee was married when she started writing this book. By the time she finished, if I recall correctly, she was divorced. In many ways, from what I understand, that this book cost her her marriage. She'll be the first to tell you that it wasn't a bad thing. After all, she's about to get remarried.

But for me this book showed me what it really is to be a writer. We commit fully to what we do. When we're inspired to write something, literally nothing is going to get in our way.

We're called to write, and we're going to write.

Some of us end up losing things because of that -- but look what we gain along the way! The things that we lose are things that don't line up with our calling, they're things that we'll realize at some point are expendable.

If you can't give things up to follow this calling, then maybe you're in the wrong place. Maybe. Or maybe you'll learn to get stronger along the way.

Maybe we all will.


{Rani Divine}

P.S.  This time next week we'll have a huge announcement from RAD Writing! Stay tuned for more information!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


#4: Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton

It was only a few short years ago that I finally picked up this book. The movie was one of my absolute favorites growing up, and there were a few semesters in high school where I literally watched it every day while I did my homework.

I may have been a bit obsessed.

The book... was more than I ever imagined.


Despite what some people may tell you, Jurassic Park is a semi-horror book. That classifies it as a thriller, in case you weren't sure. It's not terrifying enough to be horror, but it's too tense to be anything less than thriller.

Crichton is good at these. In fact, I might go so far as to say that they were his forte. If you've read any of his novels, you'll understand what I mean.

In my opinion, Crichton is the most successful author at blending the thriller genre with science fictional themes. Dinosaurs aren't exactly the talk of the town, most of the time.

Somehow, Crichton manages to blend the two together and make readers forget that the whole premise is science fiction. In reading this book, I imagine that everything is indeed real, that there is an island out there where dinosaurs were made and thrive.

That's the mark of an excellent writer, and it's a benchmark many of us are trying to reach.

3. Science

This is what keeps drawing me back to Crichton:

I learn something every time I read his work. Even if it's my second time through.

He masterfully blends reality with his fictional world, while including enough real-world information that you're almost guaranteed to learn something along the way. It's not just any writer who can do that. Most of us have a hard time getting anyone to read our exposition, much less getting them to enjoy reading scientific data.

Crichton, on the other hand, does so without batting an eye.

That's what made Jurassic Park #4 on my list.


{Rani Divine}

Monday, September 21, 2015


#5: The Lord of the Rings

This is another one of those books that I wonder if I even need to state the author... But for the record, it's Tolkien. Not Tolkein, not Tolken, Tolkien.

I'm counting all three books in the series as one, because I can't bring myself to choose which one I like best. I like them all. They're all amazing and deserve to be read over and over and over again.

This man really had to be in the top thirteen, because hey, I'm a fantasy author. So here, the three F's of why Tolkien made the list:

1. Foreshadowing

I'm going to tell you how it is. Foreshadowing is hard to do successfully. It's confusing, it's annoying, and when I'm writing it I don't feel like it's worth it.

But then I read LOTR and I see all the marvelous foreshadowing that Tolkien somehow managed to weave into every single chapter of every single book... and I wonder if it really has to be that hard. Tolkien was a master in this art, and there's a lot to learn by simply reading his work.

Almost everything that happens in the books is foreshadowed. Yeah, it might be a bit much, I'll give you that, but that doesn't mean he wasn't successful in doing it.

If it'd really been too much, people wouldn't have enjoyed the books.

2. Fantasy

Tolkien is one of the foremost writers when it comes to this genre. Mention the fantasy genre to anyone on the street and they'll probably say "like Lord of the Rings?" and your answer will be yes. In some ways, I believe we all aspire to be like Tolkien, to write at his caliber when it comes to fantasy fiction.

That alone would be reason enough to read these books. Everyone knows them, and has either read the books or seen the movies.

Wouldn't you love to be the author who wrote that work?

Learn from him and maybe you will be.

3. Frodo

If there's one character in this series that means that most, it's Frodo.

There's a reason for that.

Tolkien created a character that's interesting, that's fluid and changeable as people are supposed to be. He has struggles, he's a little quirky, and follows his heart. That's a true character--enough so that I could almost call him a person.

When you put those three together, it adds up to #5 in my list of authors and novels that inspired me to start writing. Tolkien's work pushed me to start my first novel. It was terrible, but hey, it was a start.

Everybody has to have one of those.


{Rani D.}

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mars Bars

#6: The Martian, Andy Weir

Honestly, from the very beginning I knew there were only one or two ways that Andy Weir could've ended this story. We all know that. This guy is stranded on Mars, and either he's going to live or he's going to die. Either way, the story could've been crafted into something beautiful.

No, I'm not going to tell you which way it goes down.

What I will tell you is this:

1. Logged

The bulk of the story is written through the means of personal logs. Watney is alive on Mars, left behind by the rest of his team, and he's writing in the logs for anyone who might manage to find them. In the beginning he doesn't even think he's going to make it through this alive -- though he's determined to try.

The interesting part is that we get a unique glimpse into the psyche of a man on his own.

Really, that was why I picked up this book to begin with. I wanted to know how an astronaut would react when he found out he was the only man on Mars.

And boy did I get my answer.

2. Satisfaction

Never, I repeat never, have I read an ending so satisfactory.

Like I said, I'm not going to tell you what happens. But I will tell you that Weir crafted this story brilliantly. Even when I'd figured out what was going to happen, I couldn't figure out what was going to happen. Yes, I realize that doesn't make any sense.

But for a writer, that's one of the most satisfactory feelings in the world.

You fooled me, Weir, even though I knew your ending all along. It doesn't get much better than that.

As a side note, Weir also taught me how not to do a character -- because there's one in The Martian who simply makes no sense whatsoever. 

Who's read this one, and do you have any thought on the upcoming movie (which may have also been a part of why I read The Martian to begin with)?


{Rani D.}

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Legen... Wait for it...

#7: I am Legend, Richard Matheson

Hey, at least I've finished this one.

1. Vampires

Yes, they're cliched. Honestly, I've grown so weary of vampires that I can hardly bring myself to read a book that has anything to do with them.


Matheson's novel is much more than just a vampire story. And the thing with these vampires is that they're true, that they're like the creatures were originally thought to be. They're not the sexy brooding leading role in a romance novel. They're gritty, they make you cringe, and they'll make you bleed.

That's why I like them, and that's why I called this book #7 on the list.

Because if you're a writer and you're trying to create a creature with real grit, Matheson is your best bet for inspiration. If you haven't read this one, I encourage you to go pick it up right now.

2. Character Development

More than just a vampire story, it's also the story of a human man. Yeah, that might sound a little cliched as well, and yeah you might be able to get this story somewhere else, but not like this. Matheson made his human character as undeniably human as possible. While his vampires are undoubtedly vampires, his human is also one of the best humans I've ever read on paper.

That alone is enough to read the book.

3. How to end a story


I won't give anything away. Even if you've seen the movie, I won't give anything away. (they're different endings, by the way).

Matheson knows how to end a story, better than a lot of writers I read. He knows his craft, and he's not afraid to use it.

That's the kind of writer I aspire to be.


{Rani D.}

Monday, September 14, 2015


So, what did you guys think of the excerpt? (if you haven't checked it out yet, Click Here). I'm VERY excited to release this book, as the next in the Druid series. And in case you haven't noticed, they're not being released in any particular order (at the option of my publisher, RAD Writing).

I hope those of you who've read Coetir enjoyed it, and that you'll stick around for more! There's more where it came from. Trust me.

Now onto the important stuff. Number eight!

#8: Old Man's War, John Scalzi

I'm not going to lie. I haven't actually finished reading this book.

Really, I started reading it in college as a way to communicate with the cute boy who sat a few seats down from me on the bus. Yup, that's right. I started reading it for a boy.

But don't you dare think I stopped reading because I didn't like him anymore. I'm nicer than that. Come on.

1. Starship Troopers on Steroids

Ever seen Starship Troopers? Then you'll know how crazy that movie is.

Well, Scalzi's book is even more so. Half of the time I hardly knew what was going on, because it was so crazy. But it's the kind of crazy that sci-fi writers need to keep coming back for. If you're looking for a pure bit of science fiction action, check this book out. Really, check out a fair bit of Scalzi's work. The man is a master when it comes to sci-fi, and full of inspiration for writers.

Space action, war, everything you'd expect from a good classic science fiction tale, all rolled up into one fairly long book. With some honest and deep character development, I might add.

2. Intensity

This, my dear friends, is why I haven't finished the book. It's too intense for me, and it's full of so much action that I get too drawn into my own ideas to care what happens to any of these characters.

If you're not a writer, that won't be a problem for you.

If you are a writer, you may join me in the land of recommending this book and never finishing it yourself.

Let me know if you join my club.


{Rani Divine}

Friday, September 11, 2015

C is for...

Thanks to everyone who voted on what excerpt you wanted to see this weekend! The votes were counted up last night, and we've reached a conclusion... 

Cedwig: People of the Vines

    It was the sixth night since we’d entered the jungle, and still the nights were my least favorite time. Before we’d entered, the jungle had seemed almost alive. There had been sounds of animals and wind in the trees. But now that we were here, everything seemed wrong. It made me afraid, in a way.
    The animals should have at least made some sort of sound. But I hadn’t even so much as seen a fly since we’d been in the jungle. I’d spoken to Carol and a few of the other women, but they hadn’t been paying much attention. As far as I could tell, I was the only one who was bothered. Most of the women were happy that the jungle had quieted when we entered it. They’d feared the sounds and what might be making them.
    But I hadn’t.
    I’d been excited to see the things that were in the jungle and get to experience a whole new kind of life. I was looking forward to it.
    So far, the only thing that had really changed was our location.
    Papa was keeping watch tonight. I’d tried to protest and tell Jonas that he needed to keep his strength for the day, but the decision had been made. Somehow, I had a sinking feeling that my family would fall even more behind in the morning. If papa was exhausted from staying awake all night, how was he supposed to lead us? It wasn’t as though Emmett was going to step up and take charge of the machete, and I wasn’t allowed to for the simple fact of being a woman.
    This was one of the times that I hated the rules imposed on women.
    I was stronger than my brother. I knew what I was doing better than he did. I knew about the world around me, and I wasn’t afraid to learn more. The jungle didn’t frighten me, it didn’t make me want to run and hide. Coming here hadn’t been a problem for me. It was something that I had wanted to do, something that I had wanted to experience.
    None of those things could be said of my brother.
    A quiet sigh escaped my lips, and Carol took hold of my hand. We were lying on the same mat, near the center of the group of people, and lights out had been over an hour ago. Carol was usually the last one asleep, and she liked to make sure everyone was asleep before she let herself relax. She’d always been that way, even back in the plains. She cared too much. I’d heard some of the others say that she was the main reason Jonas had chosen to start this expedition. He wanted her to be in a place where she didn’t have to care for everyone around her.
    I didn’t think his plan was working out the way he’d intended.
    I propped myself up on my elbows and looked around, but there was nothing to see. Carol still held to one of my hands, but in the dark of the night I doubted that she could even see that I was sitting up. I didn’t see the point in having anyone keep watch if it was always this dark. There wasn’t enough light to see more than a few inches in front of my face.
    There were no sounds but those made by the people around me. Some of them snored, some of them shifted in their sleep, and still others sighed as they struggled to fall asleep. This was the first night where I hadn’t fallen asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I felt as though there was something watching me, something that I should’ve be able to see, and yet I saw nothing. Even the stars were shrouded by the thick blanket of trees and vines.
    As I lay back down, I heard the first sound that I was certain hadn’t come from one of my people.
    A twig snapped, and I heard one of the watchmen get to his feet. Something was wrong.
    The others continued their snoring and tossing, as though none of them had even noticed the snapping of the twig. Or maybe they hadn’t thought that it was anything out of the ordinary. Maybe they’d imagined that there had been noises all along, and that it wasn’t so strange to hear a sound beyond the clearing.
    I released Carol’s hand and sat up. There was no doubt in my mind that the sound hadn’t come from one of the watchmen. If it had been one of them, I knew they would’ve said something.
    No, this was different.
    It was too quiet.
    It had always been too quiet.
    Deftly, I pulled my long hair up into a bun and got to my feet. Carol whispered something, but I ignored her.
    Every night, before the fires were dimmed, I made sure that I knew the fastest way to my father. I ensured that I knew how to wind my way through the people that had been placed between us. Papa was the one thing that truly mattered to me, out here in the jungle. It was only him that I thought of. It was only him that my mind was truly concerned with.
    I needed to see him.
    My steps were sure as I wound my way between those who still soundly slept. I lifted the hem of my skirt off the ground so as not to catch on anything, and my bare feet deftly moved over those who lay beneath me. I didn’t care that Jonas had requested that none of us leave our places. I knew what I had heard, and I needed to see papa. If Jonas said anything about it, I knew that Carol would stand by me. She understood how much my father meant to me. He was all that I had, in a way. It wasn’t as though my brother had really been a present part of my life. He liked to pretend as though I didn’t even exist, so what was the point in pretending that I might really matter to him?
    I reached out my right arm at just the right moment, and I smiled when it touched the trunk of a tree. I’d put a notch in it with the knife papa had given me before we left the plains, so that I would know which tree it was. Papa was keeping watch just a few yards beyond this tree, a short ways outside the clearing.
    It hadn’t occurred to me that he might not be there.
    My feet carried me deeper into the woods, to the place where I was sure papa had been sitting, but no one was there. I was positive that this was the place he’d been. I’d checked and double checked before the fires had been put out. I’d done the same thing every night since we’d left the plains. I knew exactly where papa had been.
    But he wasn’t there.
    I spun around, my arms reaching out to my sides as I searched for my father. I didn’t dare to speak. Without knowing what had made the sound, I didn’t trust that nothing would be out here. No, I’d trusted that my papa would be here to make me feel safe—and he was nowhere to be found.
    One of the torches came alight with fire on the opposite side of the clearing, and I instinctively dropped down to the ground. I don’t know why the sight of the flame frightened me, but I was suddenly aware of the trees, the vines, the branches, and everything that the fire could destroy. I lifted a hand over my mouth and my eyes widened. That fire should not have been there. No one was supposed to light a torch during the night. Unless they’d actually seen something, unless something had actually happened, that torch should not have been lit.
    “What are you doing?” Jonas took hold of my hand and dragged me back up to my feet.
    “I thought I heard something,” I whispered, cowering away from him. No matter how much I loved Carol, her husband was another matter. “I just wanted to see my father.”
    He shoved me back toward the clearing, his nails leaving their mark on my skin. I knew that papa would be angry. He would’ve been angry about me stepping out of the clearing in any case, but to have Jonas find me was another matter entirely. It shouldn’t have happened. I shouldn’t have let myself be seen by someone else.
    I stood on the edge of the clearing, and I watched the firelight. I couldn’t see anything but it, and it wasn’t inside the clearing. It lit the silhouettes of the trees, and it seemed to be moving away from us—but I couldn’t be sure.
    “Freia.” The voice was loud around me, and yet no one else seemed to hear.
    Instinctively, I spun around to face the trees. That voice was unlike any that I had ever heard before. It was the voice of a man, but it was not the voice of any who had joined us on this expedition. It hadn’t even seemed entirely human.
    If no one else had heard it, then it couldn’t have been human.
    The stories of the other villages, the ones that were scattered around the world, away from the plains, entered my mind. Stories about creatures that attacked during the night, killing all the people who’d left the plains. Stories that told of humanoid beings with power beyond that of anything we’d seen before. Stories that no adult in their right mind would believe were true, but stories that in that moment I knew without a shadow of a doubt contained at least some partial truth. There was something out there, in the jungle, and it was watching me.
    “Freia,” it said again. “Come with me.”
    “No,” I whispered under my breath. I slowly shook my head, and my feet instinctively carried me back into the clearing. There was no way for me to know what it was that called my name. It could have been friendly, yes, but it could’ve been the opposite. How was I to know, when we weren’t even sure if the stories were true? We weren’t even sure if any of the humans who left the plains had ever been allowed to survive.
    I turned back around and closed my eyes, recounting the steps that I’d taken to get to this place. If I followed my path perfectly, I could get back to my sleeping mat before anyone else noticed that I’d moved.

(Copyright Rani Divine, 2015) 

Curious about Coetir: People of the Woods? Click Here to get your copy, and
use promo code CEDWIG to get $5.00 off your entire order!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


#9: Till We Have Faces

Literally, I don't know anyone else who has read this book. Until I started bringing it up, most of my friends didn't even know that it existed.

C.S. Lewis is far better known for his work on things like The Screwtape Letters and The Chronicles of Narnia, but that doesn't mean Till We Have Faces is any less a masterpiece.

Really, there are two main reasons why I had to make this book #9:

1. The story

It's not an unheard of story. It's the tale of Cupid and Psyche. Most of us heard the story in high school or college, or were interested enough in mythology to read it on our own at some point in our lives.

What's different is the way it was written. It's not the story you expect to read -- which is generally what C.S. Lewis tries to do in his novels. While the tale of Cupid and Psyche is fairly well known, in this version I found myself wondering what was going to happen next and how everything was going to turn out.

You know it's a good story when you know the ending but the author has forced you to throw all that out the window.

2. The reason

Cupid and Psyche really doesn't sound much like a C.S. Lewis topic, does it?

That's because it's not. However, it was (from what I understand) a story that plagued him for years. It was one that fascinated him and one that he simply had to write about -- and that, to me, makes it interesting.

When reading the book, I could feel how close to the story Lewis was himself, the obsession with the story and his attempt to make it as perfect and beautiful as possible, and it made it all the more enjoyable. Perhaps that's the reason why I've read it so many times in the few years I've had it on my bookshelf.

Don't forget, there's still time to vote for what excerpt you want to see on Friday! Click Here for more information!


{Rani Divine}

Monday, September 7, 2015


Happy Labor Day everyone!

First things first... I promised you that there would be something fun coming up, and that time has come! Well... It's almost come.

This Friday, be sure to check back in for a special never-before-seen excerpt from one of my upcoming novels!

Which one, you ask?

Well, there's the thing. I haven't decided yet. So leave me a comment or send me a message on Facebook to let me know which of the following you'd like to see an excerpt from:

A. Telepathic (book II of the Advanced Saga)
B. Cedwig: People of the Vines (next to be released from the Druid Novels)
C. Adrastos (my latest endeavor into true sci-fi)

This Friday I'll post an excerpt from whichever novel you want to see most, so get your votes in before midnight MST this Thursday!

And now for the real reason we're all here....

#10: Monster

If you're a Peretti fan, you'll likely have read this book. It's not as popular as some of his others, but in my life it's been far more of an inspiration.

1. Monsters are real

The premise of the novel is simple: Big Foot is real. And it's taken captive a woman who was camping with her husband. Sure, we've all heard of stories like this one before, but Peretti somehow turned it into something new.

While the story is definitely about getting away from the creature, it's also about a hunt to find the victim before it's too late. We get both sides of the story, and we get to see and feel a lot more than I anticipated when I first picked up this gem back in high school.

2. Visual Effect

The story takes place in fall, and the whole way through I felt as though I could really see it. Nothing was hidden from my eyes -- something Peretti is very good at doing. If you're looking for an author who will help you work on your visual details, read him. He has a marvelous way of describing a setting in a non-boring and completely fascinating way that leaves you wanting nothing but more.

3. Character Development

... Of monsters. Didn't expect that one, did you?

Peretti does something in Monster, that, without giving the story away, is simply beautiful. He expands upon the creature to make you feel for it, to help you to understand it, in a way that's very far from the King Kong version. That story is cheesy. This story is moving.

Really, this book was one of many that pushed me into the realm of writing to begin with, and it's one that I keep going back to for inspiration.

That and that alone have made it #10 on my list.


{Rani D.}

Friday, September 4, 2015


#11: Hamlet

Do I even need to bother in saying who this one is by?

When I was compiling the list of authors and books that had inspired me, I knew there had to be at least one classic. For me, that classic is Hamlet.

1. Writers need Shakespeare

I know a lot of writers don't like Shakespeare. They don't like how he wrote, they don't like the stories, and they think he was a pansy. Well, I don't care. I don't care if you don't like him or if you don't like his stories -- if you're a writer, you need him.

Why? Because he's one of the greatest writers of all time, so says society. His is a name that everyone knows, and his stories are ones that everyone has read, that people keep riffing off, and that both Hollywood and the BBC keep adapting.

Writers, if you know your Shakespeare, you know something every single person in the states has been forced to read at one time or another in their lifetime.

And you could probably explain to them why they didn't get it, and why they would enjoy your writing even if they didn't like his.

2. Hamlet is timeless

Yeah, that's a cliche. But it's a true cliche.

How many stories out there are based off Hamlet, or have ideas practically torn from the pages of this book? Truth is, more than I could count. I've found several times where my own writing has mirrored Hamlet -- and I didn't even do it on purpose!

3. Thematics

Thematically, Hamlet is a good study. Even if you don't like Shakespeare and you disagree with me that every writer should at least respect the man, this one's a good one to read.

In particular are the themes of insanity and of death.

If you have a character that's about to go insane, but you're not quite sure how to make them go insane, read Hamlet. It'll help. I promise.


{Rani Divine}

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


#12: Offworld

Not a lot of people have heard of this book. Not a lot of people have read it. When I talk about it and I mention how much it inspired me to start writing science fiction, I get funny looks. How could a book that no one's heard of bring so much inspiration?

Well, that's down to the writer.

Robin Parrish 

He's a Christian writer, in case you weren't sure. I've read a couple of his other works, and they're all worth a read. But Offworld was the one that really got me into the notion of writing science fiction.

See, Parrish is really good at creating realism. So when these people get back to Earth and there's no one there, it really feels like that happened. Through his writing, I understood the characters, I knew what they were feeling and I felt for them. At no point in the story did I feel disconnected from what was going on, because Parrish kept me interested the whole way through.

Here, two specific things that I appreciated about this book, and reasons to pick it up if you're interested in writing this sort of work: 

1. Fibromyalgia

This was one of my favorite things about the book, and why I recommend it to people. Not because you'll get fibromyalgia, but because one of the characters has it. She's very strict in her routine to make sure that she doesn't feel the pain of fibromyalgia, and everything in her character development shows her degradation when that routine is disrupted and she's prevented from doing the things that keep her illness at bay.

For me, it became a lesson in how to do that, how to create a character that could be fine one minute and crying in pain the next -- all while staying within a very science fiction themed world.

Truthfully, the best way to make science fiction is to make it close to reality, almost to the point that it mirrors the world as it really is. 

2. Apocalypse

We all know how trendy the apocalypse has become these days. Parrish writes about it in a way that makes it feel real, that showed me how best to write something like that. There's desperation and confusion, there's people still trying to follow their orders and yet struggling to figure out exactly what happened and what's going on.

At no point did this novel feel like a novel to me. It was a story, told of real people in a real place.

Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.

And I've picked it up several times since then -- and for me, that's really saying something.


{Rani D.}