Friday, June 22, 2012

Company of Liars - A Review

Company Of LiarsCompany Of Liars by Karen Maitland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is the Dark Ages, a time of superstition, lawlessness and disease. A trader in holy relics does good business at a market fair and takes pity on a strange, white-haired girl who is beaten by her master. The trader offers her food which she greedily acepts but this is a good deed that will not go unpunished. Narigorm, for such is the name of the girl, attaches herself to Camelot (as traders in holy relics were then known) and to the other travellers who gather around him.

The little band of men and women moves from town to town, fleeing before the Plague which has arrived in England from the continent and is spreading over the land but something as deadly as the Black Death shadows them. Narigorm is a diviner whose readings always come true, sometimes in unexpected ways but as the band moves around the country, Camelot begins to think Narigorm is much more.

As the members of this travelling band get to know each other better, disguises are either dropped or are torn away to reveal true identities. And one by one, the members of the band begin to die; they are either murdered or they take their own lives.

This was a fabulous book. I’d classify it as a literary horror where the tension slowly builds, creeping up on you on silent feet. Ms. Maitland accomplishes the difficult task of bringing the Middle Ages vividly to life.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Dreaded Rejections!

I'm sorry but your story does not meet our requirements at this time, our publishing schedule already has several debut writers so we are not taking on any more, you have a great story but we are already publishing a lot of vampire novels so we cannot accept yours, Dear Ms. Tina Neill, Thanks for your submission but it does not meet our needs at this time.
I think all writers have probably gotten a rejection at one time or another – for a manuscript or maybe for an idea. Rejections are basically a fact of life for us but they’re not all bad, no, not even those generic ones that don’t get our names right. Why? Well, because getting a rejection means you sent out a submission. That’s a fabulous thing right there. I’ve met dozens of people who say they’d love to be published but, guess what, only half have even started a manuscript and, of those, only a handful finished it. Of those who completed their manuscript, very few have actually had the courage to send it around to agents or publishers. So you’re way ahead of the pack.
But what if your rejection from No.1 Publishing House had your name on it…and, gasp, what if the editor said your manuscript wasn’t what they were looking for but that tastes were different and encouraged you to keep trying with other houses? Clearly, this is a much more desirable rejection than the first. It’s not as good as an acceptance, of course, but it acknowledges a universal truth – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So stock up on the stamps and the Tyvek envelopes and keep the mailman busy or keep your index finger limber and keep pressing Send.

Okay, now let’s say you’ve sent that baby out to about twenty different publishers and, kind as the rejections have been, they’ve still been rejections. Well, now might be the time to put aside the manuscript for a few months and start working on something else if you haven’t already. In a few months, you might see that what you’re been trying to sell to publishers as a straight historical could possibly be amended to become more of a gothic with paranormal elements. Or maybe that contemporary could be either sexed up way more or made more inspirational (remember both the erotic and inspiration markets are doing really well).