Meet the Member Mike Torreano

As we speak, Kathie Scrimgeour (aka KJ Scrim), Meet the Member and Candy Success editor, shares her current interview with member Mike Torreano.  We’re happy to share successes and spotlight our numerous membership.  Kathie may be reached at

KJ Scrim: How lengthy have you ever been writing and what’s the style you favor to write down?
Mike Torreano: I began writing once I retired about six years in the past. I appear to be inescapably drawn to mid-to-late 19th century America. I’ve two conventional western mysteries out (The Reckoning and in a pair months The Renewal), each set in South Park 1868 and 1872. Additionally, my writer, The Wild Rose Press, simply introduced out The Renewal as an audio e book as properly.
KJ Scrim: Do you have got something specifically you’re engaged on proper now? Inform us a bit of about it.
M.T.: I’m writing one other western, nevertheless it’s not the third within the trilogy, it’s set in 1871 New Mexico territory, and my hero travels north throughout a cattle drive. He has a mysterious background that’s slowly revealed as he rides. For a very long time he doesn’t even notice somebody is searching him. I’m a pantser, so the remaining will come collectively as I am going.
KJ Scrim: In your web site, you say that you simply consumed Zane Gray’s work. Of the huge array of his writing, are there any that stood out for you? Why?
M.T.: Riders of the Purple Sage might be his most enduring work and accommodates a number of story line threads which add complexity and heighten curiosity because the reader waits to see all of them come collectively. I’ve kind of structured my storylines with the identical a number of threads.
KJ Scrim: What different authors influenced your writing?
M.T.: Actually Louis L’Amour and Larry McMurtry, but in addition the poet Robert Service and novelist Jack London. My tales appear to be set within the Previous West or within the northlands. I are likely to gravitate to descriptive, however sparse writers.
KJ Scrim: Writing conferences, workshops, and critique teams are an necessary a part of the brand new author’s experiences (and extra skilled writers too!). How have they helped you?
M.T.: I at all times come away with a stack of convention notes, however actually, if I can come away from a convention with one or two good concepts it’s been a hit. The trick then is to power myself to use these concepts in my writing, so these gems don’t simply collect mud.
KJ Scrim: Do you attend the occasions outdoors PPW’s convention and, if that’s the case, which of them are your favourite?
M.T.: I’ve at all times loved the Write Mind classes and Open Critiques.
KJ Scrim: Do you have got any “self-help for writers” books that you simply use often? How do they assist? Please share your record of your high 2 or 3.
M.T.: I might advocate everybody writing historicals use a interval reference e book or two. They’re accessible on-line and gives you a clearer image of what life was like throughout a selected time.
I’ve discovered The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, to be very useful, together with Donald Maas’ Fireplace In Fiction.
KJ Scrim: In case you met somebody who was fascinated with beginning to write, what recommendation would you give them?
M.T.: Whether or not you’re a pantser like me, or a plotter, take time to assume intimately about your most important characters. As soon as you already know them properly, their scenes will doubtless spill off the web page.
The second factor I might advocate is to discover a appropriate critique group of comparable style if doable. Mine may be very helpful in serving to polish my manuscripts.
KJ Scrim: Is there something you wish to add that we haven’t mentioned?
M.T.: Craft your storylines with care. Decide one thing you simply have to inform so that you’ll be capable of end what you begin.

mike torreano headshot e1522008233886 - Meet the Member Mike Torreano
Mike Torreano is a western thriller author. He joined PPW about six years in the past. Mike devoured Zane Gray which sparked a lifelong love of American West of the 19th century. He has one e book revealed, The Reckoning, with two extra within the works, The Renewal, Fireflies at Nightfall.  Web site: E-mail: mtorr4650@comcast.internet
find the cost of your paper

Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.