24 June 2018

Book Review -- 'Origin" by Dan Brown

This one snuck by me. Origin was released in October of last year and I didn't even know. For someone as devoutly adoring of Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series, that's sacrilege in my eyes. When I found out it was there, I grabbed it immediately. And tried to find the time to savor it. Took me three times, finally ending on the date of this posting. Before you read anything into that...don't. It's just that life gets in the way sometimes. It happens. But I've finished it.

Professor Langdon has been called to Spain to witness a former student's revelation. A revelation that is alleged to be so shattering and explosive, that the student--Edmund Kirsch, by name--had to consult with three religious leaders to get their opinions on the matter. A revelation that is almost explosive enough to prompt Kirsch to share it with the world a month earlier than he promised these religious leaders he would. A revelation as to the origins of humanity and what humanity will one day become. Answering the most fundamental questions humanity has had since its birth.

Where did we come from? Where are we going?

But it turns out to be a revelation that's just a bit too explosive as Kirsch is murdered in the middle of the broadcast, before he can actually make that revelation. It's up to Langdon, Guggenheim Museum Director Ambra Vidal (who also happens to be the fiancée of the Crown Prince of Spain), and the unseen personal assistant of Kirsch, Winston, to find out where the revelation is hidden and solve the clues along the way to releasing what has become Kirsch's life's work.

And, of course, the murderer will be revealed in there somewhere. It always happens that way. Find out who tried to silence Edmund Kirsch and you find out who killed him.

Very heady stuff. And I've read some of the negative reviews of the book. Valid points in there. Quite a few level a charge of the Langdon Series becoming formulaic. And they're right. They are. Robert Langdon is in town for some event, happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets dragged into a life threatening situation for someone, and he's the only one who can figure out the clues. That's pretty much what happens here. Can't argue that. Truth is truth. Others found it a heavy and ponderous story line. And there's truth there. There is a darkness that is more like The Lost Symbol than the tone of Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and Inferno. But....

The theme of this book can't be treated lightly, nor does Mr. Brown. It's not going to be an easy answer and it's not going to be something as lofty as finding the tomb of the Magdalene, or whether or not you believe in secret societies. There's no Indiana Jones adventure to this. This is a struggle between religion and science, a desperate need to know who we are and what we believe. In a world where wars are started over religious iconography and a simple cartoon drawn by someone poking a little light in the oh so serious dogma of a religion, the subject and theme of this story is not going to surface level. It's going to run deep. Dark. And make you question everything you think you believe. The questions can be painful. So are the answers.

Another review made note that the book was a bit long winded. That's also true. But! If you read the first four books, the set up was rather short. Uncomplicated. Two, maybe three chapters to set up the action and the books all took off at a gallop. They were simple to set up. Well, maybe not The Lost Symbol, but the other three certainly were. Origin isn't that simple to set up. The "origin" of the book will be just as complicated as the rest of the story. You can't sum up what is about to happen in a few words. You just can't.

The book was everything I'd hoped it would be. Deep, dark, mysterious. Complicated. The characters are vibrant. Action a-plenty. Getting pulled away from the story was like ripping me out of my mother's womb all over again. Sitting down again, even some time later, and I was sucked back into the story to the exclusion of sleep. Food. Drink. Until one of those pulled me out and the demands of the body...or of friends and loved ones...took precedence. That was how riveting the story was to me.

As always, there was some new twist or turn that caught me unaware and I followed with renewed vigor. A few I anticipated. Many I didn't. I met people that I was so sure were enemies or friends, only to have those plot twists turn those ideas on their heads. I fell in love with Winston, no lie. Each character is just as complicated, just as fascinating. Just as complicit in the drama.

But the book ended exactly as it should have. As it needed to. I saw a few reviews that didn't like that ending. I loved it. I thought it was perfect. The book could end no other way. Dan Brown leads you by the hand through a very complicated, sometimes disturbing, but always satisfying story to an equally satisfying conclusion. And if you're like me, something to chew on for a while.

I'm giving this one **** out of five stars. Yes, its formulaic and dark, but the dark is on point The formulaic isn't. Time for a new formula, Dan. But this is a must read. Lots of action, lots of twists and turns, excellent characters, and a story that will linger long after the words The End come .

01 August 2017

Hamlet and the Hiddy

So imagine my surprise to find out that Tom Hiddleston is at last doing Hamlet. And knowing how much I would do anything to see that, I thought... He needs a play list.

I have long wanted to do Hamlet. Anyone who knows me, knows the intense love I have for that play. I have since the first time I saw it. I fell in love with the theater because of Hamlet. I fell in love with English Literature because of Hamlet. And I especially fell very hard in love for all things Shakespeare because of it. I read the play often, getting something new out of it every single time.

And one time of reading it, I was at the end -- listening to Foo Fighters at the time -- when a particular song came on and I "watched" the end of the play listening to that song. And it was then that I put together my own soundtrack for the play. Songs that pulled those same emotions out of me. the funny part, if you want to call it that, is that all the songs seem to be very grunge oriented. Specifically Foo Fighters and Nirvana.

So, with that in mind, Mr. Hiddleston, I give you my own playlist for Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Enjoy it as I do. And break a leg. I wish I could be there. You'll be brilliant. I know you will be. You were born to play Shakespeare.

My Play List for Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

I Should Have Known, Foo Fighters
Something From Nothing, Foo Fighters
The Feast and the Famine, Foo Fighters
The Pretender, Foo Fighters
Heart-Shaped Box, Nirvana
Rape Me, Nirvana
Come As You Are, Nirvana
All Apologies, Nirvana
These Days, Foo Fighters
Walk, Foo Fighters
Congregation, Foo Fighters
A Matter Of Time, Foo Fighters

Banner courtesy of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts

25 May 2016

Some Days, I Just Don't Get It

You know, I had a fellow author once tell me that I should avoid the hot button topics of the world. She said, "It'll just lose you readers and get you in trouble."

I'm really not in it to try and convince anyone. A lot of what I believe, I believe based on what I feel, not on "fact" of any kind. Over the coming days, I will be in here commenting on things. Mostly because I don't understand them. You're free to comment your feelings. I invite open discussion. I will do my damnedest to be polite about it, remember that everyone has an opinion and all opinions are just as valid as mine. Even when we don't agree.

I will ask you to do the same.

You'll forgive me if a lot of this is stream of consciousness stuff. In and around the "how to--" on writing. I'll try to remember to label the personal essays as such. But a lot of this will be rather hot button. Just warning you in advance.

I bid you peace.

29 April 2016

My Name is Mine Again

Finally! I got my domain back. In case you hadn't noticed, look up at that URL bar and you'll see it -- http://www.jessevcoffey.com. Mine again. I had to let it go for a while but I got it back. I'm the only me there is. Happy day!

That's really all I have right now. I will be back later to start back up with my blog subjects and such. I've compartmentalized my life in such a way that my Geminian, fractured life has a blog for each purpose.

This one is my writing and my explorations into the vocation I have chosen. I use my words to talk about my words. The professional me.

I have a more personal blog that relates my day to day life, my struggles with my weight and self esteem, the world I live in and what affects me by it, my thoughts on it. That one might lose me a lot of readers, but it also might gain me more insight. Discussions are always welcome there. The link for that one is http://jvrcsobserves.blogspot.com/.

The one I blog the least in is my Dear Tom blog. I've eased back into the theater for a while. My struggles with regaining my footing as an actor and stories of the process. Not sure how much longer I'm going to keep that one. But we'll see. For now, there it is.

And on that note...

Make it a great day.

04 January 2016

A Rose By Any Other Name...

The pen name. Le nom de plume. Il nome della penna. El nombre de la pluma. And the question -- should I have one or not?

There is only one quick and easy answer, and even then, it's not that easy. Answer? It depends on what you want out of your writing.

Do you want complete anonymity? To protect your private life from the outside word? Then, yes, you'll want a pen name. But I guarantee you, at some point, someone will find out the truth. Ask Stephen King about that one; when no one knew who the hell Richard Bachman was and then got outed as a pen name of Steve! But still, separating your professional life from your personal life is a good plan -- especially when it comes time to brand that name (which is another discussion and that will come later).

Do you plan on writing in several genres? Then, you definitely need to have a pen name -- or several. A different name for each genre. That branding thing again. I think pretty much everyone knows by now that I write under my own name of Jesse V Coffey, but I also write under the pen name of Siobhan MacKenzie. The reason being, Jesse V Coffey writes paranormal, historical, and speculative fiction. But Siobhan MacKenzie writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense/thriller, and erotica. One day, I want to write a series of thrillers and I'll have another name for those. I keep them separate because Jesse's readers are not that interested in Siobhan's writing. And vice versa. So, cross-genre writing will be best served with pen names.

Maybe you don't want your family to know you're writing erotica, erotic romance, or porn. Pen name. I know a couple of authors of BDSM novels that have pen names.Why? Because they keep their writing life away from family life -- to keep them from reading something that might distress them.

Or, maybe you just want a pen name because you want one. Okay. Again, your choice. But the point it, it depends on you. There is no right or wrong answer. Just what your comfort level is and what you hope to get out of your writing. Once you make that decision, then go for it.

Are you an author? Do you have a pen name? Why did you choose it? Tell us about your experiences and help fellow authors with that decision.

Write on,


29 December 2015

Put Those Fingers On the Keys and Commence!

I have been threatening to do this for a while. It's about time I got started. I mean, I asked everyone in Jesse's Coffeyhouse (on Facebook) -- if I started up my blog again, what would you like me to write about. I got a list as long as my arm. And I have long arms. So, here's the first of that list.

For the Love of Words

 Actually more for the love of the story. Since I was a child, I was writing something. Mostly stories though. And reading. You didn't see me without a book in my hands. My Mom's side of the family were voracious readers. And they would read to me at night before bed. It was just natural to me that I would become a devout bookworm. And go from reading to writing.

I was reading Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen by the time I was ten. Shakespeare when I was eleven. Sidney Sheldon, Erica Jong, and Jacqueline Susan by the time I was 14. I started writing when I was twelve -- because I got a cassette recorder for Christmas and decided to write my own plays. My brothers and I would record them, playing the parts. The first one was some sort of western as I recall. I thought it was hysterically funny at the time. I doubt anyone else did. I wrote my own first story when I was in ninth grade -- for an English Class and we had to write a fairy tale. It was a bit of a contest. I won. But that's neither here nor there. It was the encouragement I needed.

I got the itch to write my first novel in 1997 but I didn't actually start writing it until about 2002 while I was laid off and in between jobs. My dearest friend was the one to talked me into trying the publishing thing with it. I was scared that I didn't have what it took. I was scared that I had only one book in me. How wrong I was on both scores.

A half dozen books later,  I feel like I'm still learning. Still following that dream. What motivates me is the love of the story. The love of words. Learning new words, using them in my stories. Taking the pictures and plots out of my head and putting them on the page to share. If I make money at it, great. If not, I'm good with that too. But I'd surely love to make money at it one day. In the meantime, I can write about it here. Share what I know here.

That's fair, right? I'll share with you, you share with me? After all, it's all about the story, all about the words.

Write on,

02 October 2015

And so it begins... The Second Contest begins...

October is here. A Wager of Blood is up everywhere. $.99 for the month of October. I thought it was a good price. I mean just for the month. See if that gets any movement before I move it permanently to $4.99.

I am giving away free copies of the ebook of A Wager of Blood to celebrate the re-release everywhere. A contest a day, a free book a day. My first contest was a Facebook only. Probably still should have posted but to be honest, it was a busy day yesterday and I forgot to post it here. I'll probably do that particular one again.

So, today's however is a blog only contest. A simple one really. Find me a haunted inn. The story of A Wager of Blood takes place in a haunted New Hampshire inn. Find me one. In your state, town, wherever you find one. Find me a haunted inn and then tell me about the haunting in the comments. Once again, all who enter will get your names tossed in the hat and I'll choose a winner from there. And share this with your friends, everyone you know who loves a good paranormal thriller.

Winner will be posted tonight around 10:00 PM Eastern. Good luck!

30 September 2015

October News -- New Blog, New Attitude, New Release, New Giveaways

Hmmm, do I start with the good stuff? Or make you wait and read all the way through. I'm evil that way. I know...Follow the KISS rule -- Keep It Short & Sweet!

I have been passive for far too long when it comes to my writing "career". I've always had this attitude that "I have a day job, the acting and the writing are for my soul." Except, I want to make this a career. Which means, if I want it, I have to be far more active. So...time to be active. Time to pursue it. Time to make it happen. The world isn't beating down my door, wearing a path in the earth to my cottage. Like the man said in the movie, "If you build it, he will come." Well, so will they.

So that's my new attitude. To blog daily, make you all wear down that path to my door. And it starts today.

A Wager of Blood isn't a "new" release so much as it's releasing it in new venues. The story is set in a small New Hampshire town. The inn there has a...well, let's just say it has a past. Frankie and Meg, two good friends, get stuck in the loop of solving that past, along with their husbands Sean and Zach. But Zach seems to be the one with the most to lose in this -- it's his legacy and his blood that's being called into the wager of a life time. Or death time.

One of those spooky stories that fit in well with Halloween month. Which leads me to the last point. A giveaway.

More like 31 days of giveaway. I've decided to give away 31 copies of the ebook version of A Wager of Blood. One a day for the entire month of October. Little contests. Excerpts from the book. Trivia. Fun times. And for the entire month of October, the price of the book will be $.99--in case you just want to buy it. $.99 for my Paranormal Thriller. After that, the cost rises to it's full cost of $4.99. So October is your only time to get your copy at the introductory price.

Shall we play a game? Come back tomorrow and we start.

Write On,

27 September 2015

Redefining who I am

I do this on occasion. Take a long hard look at myself and say, "Hmm, I've changed. I'm not the same any longer. So, who am I?"

So, I am sitting here, trying to come up with the answer. Who am I? I'm a woman. I'm human. I work for an online bookseller, buying books. I'm a writer, a novelist to be precise. An author. I am a part time actor. I am a fun and funny person, learning to find her way in a modern world.

I think it's time to do a little personal and internal exploration. I think it's time to explore what I love the most. I think it's just time to explore.

And blog about it.

What do YOU think?

Welcome back, Jess. I think you might have been missed.

07 September 2015

I Don't Always Have Something To Say

But when I do...

I come back with a vengeance... It's nice to have my lover back. My stories. My words. All things writing. I lost it for a while. Too much going on and I just couldn't do it. You know how life gets in the way. But the moment I made this my home page/web site, I knew I had to do something. So...time to keep things up again. Time to put me back out there.

If  you're in the tri-state area (KY, IN, OH),
please come join me. I would love to meet
you. Find more information here.
Yes, I am working on a new book. That's for later. My writing, my life, all of that. Begins with one simple announcement...and a bit of promotion. Please read on.

I am going to be at this year's Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY. This weekend, September 11 - 13.

I'm quite psyched up for this. I was there last year for the first Inaginarium Convention and had the absolutely best time ever. I was on several panels, got to see several more. Participated all over the place. Before I had even walked out the door to come home, I went to the co-ordinator and said, "Please! I gotta come back next year. I loved this!"

I was invited. I was back. I am back!

Imaginarium is for all of you who want to write, want to learn more about your craft, want to lead those who are just coming into their own talent. All genres, all types -- screenplays, fiction, nonfiction. Romance, Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy. You name it, we'll be talking about it. Workshops too. And a gaming room. This year, we have concerts, film marathons, and there's always the gaming room. Not to mention the vendor room where you can buy the books those authors have written. A lot to do.

And if you're looking for me, I'll be on no fewer than seven panels this year. And I'm actually moderating three of them -- look for the (M) next to the room name:

FRI 6P - Ask an Author: Romance -- Shelby
FRI 9P - A Polished Novel is a Beautiful Thing -- Madison (M)
SAT 2P - LGBT Themes in Popular Fiction -- Shelby
SAT 4P - Mental Health & The Literary World -- Shelby
SAT 5P - The Rise of Gay Romance -- Hancock
SAT 9P - Erotic Romance vs. Erotica -- Hancock(M)
SUN 12P - Romance for Boys? -- Hancock (M)

I'm taking the laptop to keep notes and report from the convention. We'll see if I can actually remember to do it. Last year, I got one picture in and got so busy that I forgot. This year -- more pictures, more sharing of things. I hope.

Please come. I would love to see you there.

Write on!