followed Miss Havana's misadventures in The Substitute, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! and The Training Bra (coming soon from Solstice Publishing), then you would know Miss Havana's real name is given to her for different reasons in each novel. In The Trophy Wife, for the first time, Miss Havana will be Cuban (while she lives), and God will be the one to assign her nickname. These books have been a joy to write. I'm already looking forward to completing the research for The Trophy Wife so I can get started writing in earnest.
James L. Hatch
Monday, June 18, 2012
The talented Erika Linsden is visiting today. She is a young and rising author and, following her blog below, I have posted a four-star review of her short story, "Soul." Please welcome Erika Linsden.
As I’m sure James can relate, I tend to have a reoccurring theme in my novellas: death. To quote James, “My own drive to continue breathing is powerful, so I’ve always wondered how anyone can overcome that drive to self-terminate.” What does it take for someone to overcome such a deep hatred and low self-esteem to fight their death at their own hands and come out on the other side? Will and faith. One has to know that no matter what, things will get better. This is only a dark moment. You have to tell yourself that every minute if you have to, but in the end those words are what help pull you through it.
I’ve never hidden the fact that I have a mental illness. And yes, I have a history with suicide attempts. In Soul I explore the argument I was raised to believe being Catholic that the devil and/or demons are the ones that cause suicide. Exploring that wasn’t enough for me. I needed a view of the other side. It’s easy to point the finger at another source. How does the demon feel about what he’s doing? Meet my Taker Drebin. Through a series of events, Drebin becomes a demon. His mission: to entice humans into committing suicide so their souls can feed Lucifer.
I don’t want to spoil the story as I hope you pick it up, but Drebin isn’t the evil that history and even he has made himself out to be. Which brings up the age old question: do bad things happen to good people? I think so. I do believe that there are bad people. But not all bad people are evil. They may be doing something in the name of love. Soul is a romance, so I’m sure you can guess what happens. Drebin’s point of view is only my interpretation of what may be happening on the other side.
One reader told me that she thought “Drebin was a dick.” But by the end she was rooting for him. With the release of the second Takers book coming in early July, more of the dark side is explored. Oh yeah, and some more death. But like I said, it’s a theme of mine.
Now if I can stray away from the apocalypse… (See Tyran’s Thirst)Thank you, Mr. Hatch, for allowing me to cook with Miss Havana today.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I don’t often review short stories because they begin and end before any real depth of plot can be developed. However, I made an exception for “Soul” by Erika Lindsen (from Solstice Publishing, 2012) because the blurb enticed me. Imagine being a demon, one management level down from hell’s VP, who is assigned the task of gathering souls for Lucifer’s benefit. And not just any souls. The souls this "Taker" demon gathers must be obtained by suicide. It’s the demon’s responsibility to plant both thoughts of suicide in his “patsy”, and to make sure his patsy follows through.
I found the premise intriguing because some people believe those who commit suicide could actually be driven by demonic forces, and you never get to ask the successful ones why they did it. My own drive to continue breathing is powerful, so I’ve always wondered how anyone can overcome that drive to self-terminate. I had hoped for a little philosophical insight, but I didn’t get it. The story isn’t about what drives a person to take his or her own life, but about a young woman’s infatuation with the Taker demon. It was similar to “Twilight”, but with a demon instead of a vampire.
That said, I believe “Twilight” fans will love this story. Serious students of human psychology, however, won’t. But let’s face it, the “Twilight” series wasn’t intended to be serious – “Soul” isn’t either. It’s a love story with the force of love pitted against evil. I won’t say which force wins – you’ll have to read it to find out.
Overall, I was sorry the author missed the opportunity to present "real demons" that haunt young people who kill themselves, but I might steal the “serious” side of that concept in a future work of my own. Once I got past that misunderstanding, which wasn’t the author’s fault, my only real problem with “Soul” concerned punctuation and grammar. I tripped over several incorrectly used semicolons and commas, some passive voice and a few misspelled or missing words. I’m just picky; most people won’t notice. Nit-picking aside, I'd give it four stars.