Friday, December 19, 2014

The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan

Charlie West just woke up in someone else's nightmare.

He's strapped to a chair.  He's covered in blood and bruises.  He hurts all over.  And a strange voice outside the door just ordered his death.

The last thing he can remember, he was a normal high-school kid doing normal things--working on his homework, practicing karate, daydreaming of becoming an air force pilot, writing a pretty girl's number on his hand.  How long ago was that?  Where is he know?  Who is he really?

And more to the point... how is he going to get out of this room alive?

In My Opinion...

Yesterday, before Charlie West woke bloody, bruised, and tied to a chair (back when sleep used to be one of my top priorities), he was normal (and I wasn’t the least bit tired).  

He doesn’t know how he got to that small windowless room or why he can’t remember.  He only knows that a voice beyond the heavy door just ordered his death, and he doesn’t want to die. 

Definitely not the start of an average day.

Now he’s on the run, desperate to unravel the one mystery he should already know the answers to.  Why were those men chasing him?  When did he become a fugitive?  Was there a mistake – a misunderstanding – or is he the one who’s bad?

I’m not going to lie, after reading the blurb I was pretty sure this was one of those not-my-type-of-scary  books.  But it was on sale.  And I’m a stingy bookworm.  

Do I regret buying it?  No.  No, I don’t.

The story flows fast and furious.  And when it comes to the characters themselves, Andrew Klavan is a master storyteller.  I’ve only ever read one of his other books (of which after the first reading I was traumatized and the second in awe of Klavan’s skill).  His main characters are solid and well-rounded.  Their emotion is raw and real.  We learn a lot about Charlie from his memories of that last day he remembers.  He has flaws, normal everyday struggles, and dreams just like everyone else. 

That being said… Is it suspiciously convenient that Charlie West has a black belt in karate?  Yes.  Extremely so.  In fact, a friend described him as ‘Jason Bourne: Boy Scout’ and honestly that pretty much sums him up.  However, even as he questions who he has become and if this new Charlie West is a good guy or a bad guy, his boy scout mentality makes him an easy character to route for.

Overall, there was never a dull spot where I was like “Okay, I can put it down and go to bed now that I know he’s safe.” No.  It just didn’t happen.  And if it can make me sacrifice sleep (quite a feat, trust me) that’s when I know I’ve got my hands on something special.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Well here he is!  My levi-beastie.  We'll just call him levi for short.  And let me say... I have no plan of doing any time soon a picture that requires in any form... scales.  None.  What.  So.  Ever.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bohemoths & Beasties

There is a description in Job of a fearsome creature - a creature that lurks in the deep... deep down in the deep. When it rises to the surface, it says that smoke pours from its nostrils and flames stream from its mouth. It speaks of strength, and graceful form, and let's not forget the fearsome teeth bit. I am talking of course of the leviathan.

 A while ago, someone asked me to take that description found in Job and draw a picture of what I imagined this beastie to look like. (He asked me to do the behemoth too, but he's relatively related and I'm not being paid, so please, let's not be hasty.)  So naturally I had to do the research. "Job... Job... where is Job? Job... Ezra... Nehemiah... Why isn't it pronounced job anyway?... Esther... Ah-ha! Job. Job 41. Here it is!" And then I proceeded to list all I could gather about the description. It was really quiet poetic... and very lengthy. Plus, there were a ton of interesting tidbits.

 "If you lay a hand on it you will remember the struggle and never do it again!"(If you live to tell the tale.)

 "Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering." (So this thing is huge. Gigantical even, I'd say... if I used words like gigantical in everyday language. Which I do.) 

"Who can strip off its outer coat? Who can penetrate it's double coat of armor? Who dares open the doors of it's mouth, ringed about with fearsome teeth?" (There's that fearsome teeth bit again!)

 "It's back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted." (Sweet!)

 "It's snorting throws out flashes of light; it's eyes are like the rays of the dawn. Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds. Its breath sets coals ablaze and flames dart from its mouth." (And some historians think it was a crocodile or a huge sperm whale. Use your imagination here, folks!)

 On top of that it listed all the weapons that didn't work against this beastie and how it treated iron like straw and bronze like rotten wood. Oh yes, the fantasy writer in me was smiling big time. I got to research all the fun stuff... like how to make scales look on it's underbelly look like broken potsherd.  (Yes, I said fun.  Have you ever looked at scales close up?)  It was also a great excuse to look at how all the other artists portrayed their leviathans. This was one of my favorite portrayals .. even though it doesn't exactly mesh with the biblical description. Wish I knew who the artist is.

  So what do you think? What do you imagine this levi-beastie thing to look like? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Something Greater Than Darkness

I know what you're thinking.  "Oh... that's cool.  But... uh... what is it?"  It's a flaming symbol!  A symbol that becomes very important in my current WIP novel.  What's with the flames?  *shrugs*  Blame the muse.

Originally this ancient sun/compass design was painted on a cavern wall.  It hung silently in the darkness for a couple hundred years until someone's torchlight fell across it.  Below it were these words:

"There is something greater than darkness that calls to the light in every soul."

Friday, January 4, 2013


For Christmas, I took on a special project.

A pet portrait, but not just any pet portrait.  Reagan, my cousin's best friend.  Something he could have while he's away from home.  Something to help him remember all those good memories.  Like those long explorations in the woods.  Or meeting at the end of the driveway after school.  Or going fishing together.

This was my reference picture:

And this is the finished project:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Inner Beast

I know all about anger.  It helps to bring out the inner beast - a creature that prowls its cage of darkness waiting to be loosed.  They feed it lies.  They teach it to crave the dark power that comes with spilling blood - a crimson trail to taint the mind and become a lifelong shackle. 
Who am I?  A man or a beast?  A victim or a killer?  Can I become anything but what I am - what they have made me to be?  Can I guard myself from the predator that stalks within before daylight shows me for what I truly am? 
A human monster.

No... he is not a werewolf.  Meet Jurridan Kyd.  My main character who, being an assassin, struggles with a vicious inner beast.  Ever heard the Cherokee legend of the two wolves?

An old Cherokee is teaching is grandson about life.  "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.   
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.  One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow,  regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.  The same fight i s going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."   
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"   
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

And that is the best way to describe the the war between the victim and the killer in my MC.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year, New Goals, New Blog

New year, new goals, new blog, new opportunities to do all those "ing" things I never managed to do during 2012.  And I am not referring to "entering" the great adventure known as the big 2 Oh... that double decade age... where you supposedly leave the awkwardness and acne behind.  Supposedly.

Instead I've hopes of accomplishing all those big positive ing things!  Example?  Meeting my goal.  Surviving several stages of editing.  Developing a thick skin as agents and publishers begin rejecting my manuscript (I'm perfectly fine with skipping this stage mind you!).  Maybe hooking an agent/publisher by this time next year.  (I may be positive, but I'm not holding my breath.)

So feel free to journey with me as I furiously scribble out my novel.  You can bet there will be bonuses along the way as I brainstorm my characters and the fantasy world I fondly call The Desolate Lands.  Well... maybe not that fondly.  I wouldn't want to live there or anything.  However, the artist side of me is itching to grab a pencil, so I can guarantee artwork is on the way.

That being said, perhaps I should go over the rules.

1. You are here solely for enjoyment purposes... uh... enjoy yourself!
2.  You are here because you're interested n reading fiction excerpts, viewing artwork, or finding out more about my world and charactes... I and my cast offer you a warm welcome!  Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

All posts are under possession of Meaghan Ward (that's me!) and as such are subjected to humorous jests, inside writer jokes, and quirk comments.  If you do not understand aforementioned, smile and nod, laugh, or rotfl as deemed polite.

That's it!  Pretty simple, right?

So with all this in mind, the party-of-the-first-part wises the party-of-the-second-part to make themselves at home and look around.  Feel free to introduce yourself in the comments!  Do you like to write?  Read?  Draw?