Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spell of Entrapment - A Guest Post by Jeffrey Beesler

Thanks for hosting me today, Bryan! I have to admit that it’s been such a strange journey for me as a writer. I’ve spent the past five years learning everything I could to incorporate into my stories. As a result, I’ve come a long way in identifying the skills I have and those I need to work on to better tell a story.

But the road I’ve taken has not exactly been a straight one. Constant curves down the way have tried to throw me for a loop. This is especially true in the querying process. My projects thus far have had their share of bumps and bruises in the form of rejection. It comes with the territory, especially if I intend to stick with traditional publishing.

And I still do. I really want to see my books in print, to be able to enjoy that fresh, new book smell that you can only get from a traditionally-printed book. I do have a novel with a small press publisher, so that helps. I’ll certainly let you all know when that one becomes available.

On the other hand, digital self-publishing has entered into the equation while I’ve bided my time chasing after traditional publishing. Through digital, I’m able to get my content to my readers much sooner. Heaven knows more than a handful of them have been chomping at the bit to sink their teeth into my stories. I can’t keep denying my readers forever, now can I? Just by changing my plans around a little, I’m able to boost myself further ahead in the game. The fact that several people have already expressed how much they love my story is proof enough that my gamble has paid off.

Jeffrey Beesler is the author of Spell of Entrapment, and he has had a short fantasy story published in Abandoned Towers #4, The Broken Pipes of Drei City. He is a graduate of the LongRidge Writers Group correspondence course, Breaking into Print. His book can be purchased here:


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When a knight, Sir Patrew of Trava, infiltrates sorceress Embekah Mare’s home, a magical backlash renders her unconscious. She awakens to discover a spell of entrapment binding them both inside the manor’s walls. Now forced to live with him after twenty years of solitude and exile, she must navigate her way through alternating feelings of distrust and attraction.

As the weeks pass with no end in sight of the hex, a shape-shifting spirit arrives inside the magical barrier’s walls to target Embekah specifically. When she seeks out Patrew’s help against this new threat, she uncovers a secret in his past that could very well destroy her future. With the help of her trusty toad Halscrad, Embekah must see through the deceit and find something long lost to her.

But not everything is as it seems. With lies all around her, Embekah finds the truth to be more elusive than the freedom right outside her manor. Can she survive long enough to figure out what’s real and what isn’t?

Friday, March 9, 2012


As a consequnce of the day job, sometimes my dreams look like this...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Crime and Realism in Fiction

Novels are fictional worlds that reflect our own, sometimes quite directly and sometimes quite abstractly. Crime novels usually lean to toward the direct end of the spectrum, to realism, but many of them are actually fairly artificial constructs. Many only loosely follow how real crime investigations play out, and even those that do closely follow real procedures are often clearly artificial constructs. That is, their storyness comes before their realism. Everything has been formatted. Opening hook, conflict, obstacles, rising action, climax, denouement.

Which is normal enough, as this is how the human brain works; it organizes, formats, and finds patterns in things, shaping them so that they can be more easily remembered and understood. But there are stories that attempt to strip some of this storyness away and deepen the realism. And it just so happens that I've read a couple recently, and my reaction to each is a little different.

The Day of the Owl

The Man on the Balcony

The Day of the Owl, by Leonardo Sciascia, is a short Sicilian crime novel, but not of the Americanized "Mafioso" type. It's a spare, lilting novel of a sudden murder in an open square and an investigator's attempt to discover what happened. This, perhaps, doesn't sound so strange, but the book's uniqueness lies in the paths not taken; that is, in the cliches and familiar patterns it avoids. The story floats through odd turns and the conclusion is sudden and strange and goes entirely against the conventions of storyness. And yet, even as I admire this choice, and appreciate the value of its dark oddness, the very fact of its story defiance is both solution and problem. Its defiance of storyness imparts some of the meaning to the story, and yet it is still a story, and this defiance makes it, as a story, somewhat unsatisfying. It is interesting and admirable, and yet distancing in terms of reader fulfillment, leaving me somewhat ambivalent about the novel.

The Man on the Balcony, by the husband and wife team of Sjowall and Wahloo, also looks a little askew at storyness and at crime story conventions, but somehow they find a unity between story and not-story. Their novels are a sort of brilliant conundrum to me: how do they write novels that are as much about the periods of wiating within an investigation as about the investigation itself, and yet still maintain pace? How do these insterstitial moments actually increase the pace and tension? A man is seen standing on a balcony and is reported to the police, for no apparent reason. And small girls are being murdered. Could there, somehow, be a connection? This book, too, ends oddly, declining to follow convention, and yet somehow it's satisfying, it fits within the flow and pattern of the novel itself, part of both the story and the not-story.

This, I guess, is one of the tight ropes that crime writers must walk: what is realism? or what, at least, is realism in the fictional world they've created?