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Guest Blog by Alex Bledsoe - Language in Sword Sisters - October 24, 2014

Please welcome Alex Bledsoe to The Qwillery. Alex is the co-author with Tara Cardinal of Sword Sisters. He is also the author of the Eddie LaCrosse novels, the Tufa novels and more.

Guest Blog by Alex Bledsoe - Language in Sword Sisters - October 24, 2014


by Alex Bledsoe

“She is a woman - much woman. Should her perfidy be less than that of other women?”
—John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror, written by Oscar Millard

In case you weren’t aware of it, John Wayne—yes, that John Wayne—really did play Genghis Khan in the 1956 movie, The Conqueror. It was a disaster. Beyond the questionable casting, though, what really sank the film was the dialogue, written in the faux epic style quoted above. I mean, come on: no one ever said (to quote another line from the film), “You’re beautiful in your wrath.” People never spoke that way, not a thousand years ago or at any other time. And yet, we somehow expect that sort of thing from both historical tales, and secondary-world fantasy.

One reason is that the historical writing we have from bygone eras doesn’t sound anything like the way we speak now. I mean, people still have trouble deciphering Shakespeare, and he wrote in English. So we assume that, in the generic “olden times,” people spoke in this arch, highly-stylized way.

But that wasn’t the case. Written and spoken languages were very different up until the last hundred years or so. There was no attempt to capture the rhythms and verbiage of day-to-day speech in writing, because that was considered vulgar. The written word was expected to be grammatically, and socially, correct.

Which brings us to Sword Sisters, and the decision about the type of dialogue my co-author, Tara Cardinal, and I would use in it.

I’d already given this issue a lot of thought as I wrote my own Eddle LaCrosse novels (He Drank, and Saw the Spider is the most recent). Like Sword Sisters, they are secondary-world fantasies, but they’re written in a style that deliberately echoes the great noir writers like Chandler, Hammett, and Parker. So the dialogue is completely contemporary, and the characters have contemporary names like “Eddie.”

There’s a reason for this beyond mimicking a style, and it’s one that I hope keeps the stories sincere as opposed to parodies. If you want your reader to experience the same emotions as your characters, you first have to remove the obstacles separating the two. One of them is the way they speak. If your dialogue features syntax like that quote from The Conqueror, then you may succeed in reminding your reader that this story takes place somewhere other than the modern world, but you’ll have a harder time making them care.

Consider that Conqueror quote in detail. What is Genghis Khan actually trying to convey? Well, in the less-than-egalitarian fifties in which the movie was produced, he’s saying, “She’s a woman, so of course she’s sneaky.” So why can he not simply say that?

The answer is, he can. And in the fantasy I write, and like to read, he would.

When I joined Tara Cardinal to write Sword Sisters, we already had Tara’s original screenplay for the film Legend of the Red Reaper as a template for tone, style and pace. There’s very little of the arch Conqueror-style dialogue in it, and I took it as license to use a more conversational style in the novel. It’s not the same style I use in my own writing, because I’m not the only writer involved in this one. But it does allow the dialogue to flow in a realistic, contemporary way, so that the characters feel like people you might know, rather than ones you’d only read about in dusty old books.

The way people talk in stories and novels is one of the most important ways a reader gets to know them. Tara and I wanted to make it easy for readers to step into our world, so we used a style of dialogue that was open and contemporary. We hope you agree that it’s the right choice.

Sword Sisters
A Novel of the Red Reaper
Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe
Ragnarok Publications, October 20, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 248 pages
Cover by Arman Akopian

Guest Blog by Alex Bledsoe - Language in Sword Sisters - October 24, 2014
Cast aside by her mother, tormented (literally) by her father, feared by humans and despised by most of her own kind, AELLA is determined not to care—not to care what they think, not to care if they like her, not to care about anything or anyone. Just so long as no one tries to touch her or imprison her again, Aella couldn't care less.

Until...he pulled an arrow from Aella's back and kissed her cheek.

Until...she carried Aella home and stood between her and a giant spider. And a rioting mob.

Until...they came to Aella looking for help.

Aella, daughter of demon and witch, must find herself once again, as she forges her own route to a destiny she doesn't want to believe. At first a hero in name alone, Aella soon discovers she has the strength and the heart to control her demonic lineage and truly assume the mantle of HERO. In her struggle, she also finds something even more valuable—friendship, as the youthful and spirited AMELIA isn't just a friend worth dying for—she's Aella's true "sword sister" and worth living for.

Based on actor/director Tara Cardinal's LEGEND OF THE RED REAPER motion picture, SWORD SISTERS is the prequel to the film, now available on DVD and download.

About Alex

Guest Blog by Alex Bledsoe - Language in Sword Sisters - October 24, 2014
Alex grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (birthplace of Tina Turner). He has been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman.

He is known for his Eddie LaCrosse novels (The Sword-Edged Blonde, Burn Me Deadly, Dark Jenny, Wake of the Bloody Angel and He Drank, and Saw the Spider), the novels of the Memphis vampires (Blood Groove and The Girls with Games of Blood) and the Tufa novels (The Hum and the Shiver, Wisp of a Thing and the forthcoming Long Black Curl) and his own “Tales of the Firefly Witch” series. He now lives in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls, writes before six in the morning, and tries to teach his three kids to act like they’ve been to town before.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @alexbledsoe  ~  Google+  ~  Blog

Review: He Drank, and Saw the Spider by Alex Bledsoe

He Drank, and Saw the Spider
Author:  Alex Bledsoe
Series:  Eddie LaCrosse 5
Publisher:  Tor Books, January 14, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN9780765334145 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: He Drank, and Saw the Spider by Alex Bledsoe
For fans of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Glen Cook's Garrett PI novels, comes the newest installment in Alex Bledsoe's Eddie LaCrosse series, He Drank and Saw the Spider.

After he fails to save a stranger from being mauled to death by a bear, a young mercenary is saddled with the baby girl the man died to protect. He leaves her with a kindly shepherd family and goes on with his violent life.

Now, sixteen years later, that young mercenary has grown up to become cynical sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. When his vacation travels bring him back to that same part of the world, he can’t resist trying to discover what has become of the mysterious infant.

He finds that the child, now a lovely young teenager named Isadora, is at the center of complicated web of intrigue involving two feuding kings, a smitten prince, a powerful sorceress, an inhuman monster, and long-buried secrets too shocking to imagine. And once again she needs his help.

They say a spider in your cup will poison you, but only if you see it. Eddie, helped by his smart, resourceful girlfriend Liz, must look through the dregs of the past to find the truth about the present—and risk what might happen if he, too, sees the spider.

Melanie's Thoughts

He Drank, and Saw the Spider is another adventure of the sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. The story starts sixteen years in the past and we find Eddie starting out in his new profession and still raw from the death of his fiance and own near demise. He is travelling on his way to war where he comes across a man being attacked by a bear. He kills the bear but fails to save the man. In his dying breaths the nameless man hands over the precious cargo he was protecting - a baby. Really a softie at heart Eddie takes the baby and looks for a caring family to leave her with. He finds a large, loving family and leaves the baby not to think of her again until...... Yes, until a vacation with his girlfriend Liz takes him back to the very town where he left that same baby sixteen years before. Who was she? Who did she belong to? What happened to her? Is there magic involved? All questions that Eddie wants answers for. The longer he stays the bigger the mystery gets but Isadore, now a lovely young woman, needs his help and the former sword jockey is just too nice to say no. Queue the adventure!

I have always enjoyed this series and think Eddie is a great and conflicted character. I had thought that Bledsoe had decided to leave Eddie after the last book Wake of the Bloody Angel so was a bit surprised when Qwill said she had this book for me. The plots of the previous books have been fairly convoluted but always ended up with something I wasn't expecting to happen. This book is much more straight forward and the plot almost linear. There aren't any big surprises in this installment which I think was a bit disappointing.This was the first novel that featured Liz as a secondary character for a large part of the novel. As much as I like Eddie and Liz's relationship she didn't really add that much to the plot in this case. Eddie is the true hero and is such a great character. I think I prefer the start and the end of the book as the scenes with Eddie and the baby Isadore were very cute and the ending where Eddie comes to terms with his past is quite touching.

Overall, He Drank, and Saw the Spider didn't engage me in the same way as the other books in the series. It is a quite short and an easy read so I don't feel like I had made a big investment in time. It feels a bit like Bledsoe was forcing out one more book and I kind of wish he hadn't. Having said that the Eddie LaCrosse series is an excellent one and if you like sword and sorcery fantasy then it needs to be on your TBR.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 18, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - May 18, 2014

Greetings from Canada, eh! Yes, by the time you are reading this I will lounging on my sister's couch hopefully getting waited on hand and foot. Well OK, I will be sitting on the couch. Hopefully with a good book. So what did I read this week?

Melanie's Week in Review - May 18, 2014
If you read my WIR last week you will know that I started the Paradox series by Rachel Bach last week reading book 1 and starting book 2 - Honor's Knight. I have also finished reading book 3 - Heaven's Queen. I am going to talk about books 2 and 3 together as to be perfectly honest, I can't remember exactly what happened in each book! By the end of Fortune's Pawn (book 1) Devi, one of my new favourite sci fi heroines has had her memories stolen from her and everything he has learned about her hunky crew mate Rupert and his secret mission has been stripped away. She is left wondering what is going on with the strange child Ren and the floating, glowing aliens that only she can see. By book 3 Devi has had her memories returned, she is on the run and trying to save the universe from the floating, glowing aliens...or that is what she has been led to believe. Ruthless, mass murdering aliens, young girls being tortured and held captive, secret organisations and ruthless killer agents all set on a space ship (or two). Devi is on a crusade to do the right thing and save young girls who have been used to stop a war that only they can see.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 18, 2014I wasn't sure if I would but I enjoyed this series. Devi was great heroine who wasn't afraid to make the hard decisions in order to do the right thing. I liked her relationship with Rupert, the genetically enhanced secret agent. It wasn't too cloying and perfectly suited her character. I thought the plot was a tiny bit predictable but it was there was enough happening in it that it wasn't dull. Devi continued to love her armour and guns as much as her lover and friends which I thought was quite 'cute' (sorry Devi ...but it was). They all had names and she wanted to kiss them every time they were parted. This series was perfect for a long commute and a busy week.

Next on my reading list was He Drank and Saw the Spider by Alex Bledsoe. I love the Eddie LaCrosse series and this book is another example of Bledsoe's ability to continue to develop a great character. I will be writing a full review of this book so you will have to wait and see what I thought.

I hope to get through a few books during my holiday so until next week have a great week and Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - March 2, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - March 2, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - March 2, 2014This was a really productive week for me on the reading front but more importantly on the book receiving front. I was mega lucky to get a whole delicious box of books from Qwill. Check it out! I was super douper excited as in the box was the ARC of Dawn's Early Light by Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this series and can hardly wait to dig into it. I was very noble and decided to let the hubinator read it first. How nice am I? I was also really lucky to receive King Maker which is the final book of the Vampire Empire series. I have been trying for about 2 years (poss 3) to find this book in the UK, well find it for a reasonable price and so I jumped at the chance when Qwill said she had it. I also have one of the Eddie Lacrosse books, the next two books in the Suzanne Johnson's Sentinels of New Orleans series and you can just barely see Fallout by James K Decker. Keep your eye out for what I think of these books in either full reviews on here in my Week in Review.
Melanie's Week in Review - March 2, 2014
I did also read a book or two! I finished both Vn and iD which are the first two books of the The First Machine Dynasty series by Madeleine Ashby. I will be doing a full review of both of these books so I don't want to give to much away here. What I can say is that I love the covers. They are both eye catching and almost set the mood for the books themselves. I am only going to share the one cover with you so that I don't spoil you for the full review!

Melanie's Week in Review - March 2, 2014I did the happy dance when The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison popped onto my Kindle. I was really looking forward to this installment from The Hollows series as it seemed like quite a while since the last book was out. I like this series but was a tiny bit disappointed by this book. I thought it read like the final book of the series but when I looked on Harrison's website she said she is contracted for one more. I am not sure what plot they are going to squeeze out of Rachel and her quirky group of friends as almost everything seemed to get wrapped up. My favourite character, the fairy Jenks was much more in the background. There were relatively few exclamations like 'Tink's titties' for my liking. Both Jenks and Ivy appeared in every chapter but they shared much less of the 'limelight' than they did in other novels in this series. Nearly every secondary character was involved in some way in the plot which also lent itself to the 'final' book feeling. I am always a tad disappointed when an author continues a series when they have hit on a great exit novel. This aside I did like it and look forward to the actual final book.

Melanie's Week in Review - March 2, 2014The last book I want to tell you about is Last Blood by Kristen Painter which is the actual final book of the House of Comarre series. I really enjoyed this series at first. I thought that Chrysabelle was quite kick ass for a vampire blood donor and the cursed vampire Malkom reminded me of Angel (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). As the series progressed I lost interest in the characters and almost gave up at book 4. I was doing a little trawl of Amazon and discovered this final instalment on sale so thought I might as well get closure. All I can say is I wish this book had stayed locked in the forgotten part of my memory. I was quite bored and flicking pages towards the end. This series suffered from too many characters who all seemed to fight to be the reader's favourite and none of them least not with me. As a consequence they were rather one dimensional. If they were good they practically had a halo and if they were bad they cackled like a witch. All this did was make me lose interest as the characters were way to predictable which gives me a big case of the snores.

Well that is it for me. I am hoping to read a few of my 'Qwill goodies' next week so please check in and find out what I read and what I thought. Until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 16, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - June 16, 2013

I was back to work this week so back to the big commute with a lot to read. I am most disgruntled as my Kindle decided not to work before I went on holiday and despite my best efforts I failed to revive it. It was less than a year old but as it was a replacement the warranty was only for a measly 9 weeks or something equally ridiculous.  This was my 2nd replacement so needless to say  I am not amused it has broken so quickly.  This is where proprietary systems let us down. I am almost totally locked into having a Kindle now as I have several hundred books bought from Amazon and therefore, not compatible on other e-readers. I have been reading books on my iPad but its quite heavy and if its a crowded tube and I have to stand then reading on it is impossible. So it's the big debate whether I buy another Kindle and be annoyed with myself or by a Nook and convert all my books. Decisions, decisions.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 16, 2013
Anyway I am sure you are bored of reading my big whiny tale so onto what I have read. I finished the last two books of the Eddie LaCrosse series by Alex Bledsoe - Dark Jenny and Wake of the Bloody Angel.  They were both great and I will be reviewing the whole series so keep your eye out for it.

I also finished Queen of the World by Ben Hennessy. I can't say I enjoyed it. I thought it was a tad dull and while the concept of mute heroine was a good one I don't think it worked. Or at least perhaps Hennessy needs to write Sarine a bit differently so that she is a bit more brave and less reliant on her companions.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 16, 2013Two of my sisters recommended a book to me which I immediately downloaded -The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley. It has started out to pretty engaging and hope it have it finished next week.

I have been SUPER naughty and ordered a bunch of books from NetGalley including The Big Reap by Chris.F Holm, God's War by Kameron Hurley, Three by Jay Posey and finally Shifting Selves by Mia Marshall. Now all I need to do is read these and I will be all set!

Melanie's Week in Review - June 16, 2013

This is my last full week in my current job and I am super nervous about leaving after 9 years.  I am looking forward to my TBR to settle my nerves. Well, that's it for me so until next week Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - May 26, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013

This has been a week that I can only describe as 'pants mcpantus'. I have had a week of almost 100% stress at work and looked forward to escaping into some really good books. I was mostly successful on this front.

Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013
For those of you have been checking out my 'week in review' you will know that last week I discovered Alex Bledsoe's Eddie La Crosse series. I enjoyed Blonde Edged Sword and Burn Me Deadly so much that I rushed to buy the third and fourth books of the series. I decided to be magnanimous and let the 'hubinator' read book 3 - Dark Jenny - before me.  I hope to be able to tell you a bit more about what I thought of these books next week.

Applause everyone!! I finished The Scrivener's Tale by Fiona McIntosh. This book has taken me an unusually long time to finish but I am reviewing it soon so keep your eye out what I thought of it.

Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013
OK....I confess.....I started a new series rather than reading one of the many, many books on my TBR. I got lured into buying a free book from my Kindle recommendations (can you buy a free book?) and am now on book 4 of the series.  So what tempted me to the dark side...the side of buying new rather than reading what I already have?  I ran across Lindsay Buroker's The Emperor's Edge series. Book 1  - The Emperor's Edge was for free, free, free, from Amazon and I really liked it so decided to get book 2 - Dark Currents. As my week turned more and more stressful from work I kept going on the series that I was already enjoying rather than risking something I hadn't read yet. So I finished Deadly Games today which was quite grisly and had a tiny bit more romance between our hero and heroine. I just started Conspiracy and its turning out to be another consistently good book from the series. These are self pubs and you won't be wowed by the covers but its what's inside that counts, after all.

I also started Mike Shevdon's The Eighth Court (Courts of the Feyre 4). I have enjoyed this series, especially the first two books. I am not that far into the book as I will be reviewing it and didn't want to read it too closely to The Scrivener's Tale.  

Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013
Lucky me also got J.T. Geissinger's new book Rapture's Edge from NetGalley. I have really enjoyed the Night Prowler series so far and I am certain to like this next installment. The nice people from Kindle also offered Mark T. Barnes's The Garden of Stones for £1.99 so it is now gracing my TBR. Another week of making my TBR grow rather than making it smaller!  At least I have some goodies to read next week.

I would love to know what you are reading so leave a comment or send me a tweet @mellidrama.  Wishing you a great week and Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - 19 May 2012

Melanie's Week in Review  - 19 May 2012

So this was a rather 'middling' week for me on the reading front. I read a few, bought a few. I didn't really feel like I accomplished that much....until of course, I started to write this post. On reflection I didn't do too bad after all.

I actually got back to reading The Scrivener's Tale by Fiona McIntosh. I haven't finished it as I wanted to but I have made good progress. Fingers crossed for next week.

Melanie's Week in Review  - 19 May 2012I did finish The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton. It was Ok. It was 'quaint' and very young YA. I don't regret reading it but don't think I will continue on with the series. It was just a bit too predictable and the heroine a bit too perfect for a poor orphan girl living on the streets of London.

Once I finished this book I went back to those handy Kindle recommendations. I downloaded Double Blood by Connie Suttle. I had read her Blood Destiny series and thought by book 11 that I had read too many. I read the first book of the High Demon series and thought it was too much of a re-hash of the original series. Drawn by the low price and the fact that my Kindle recommendations have been pretty spot on recently I decided to download it. I was very disappointed as this new book was very similar to the others. In fact almost virtually the same plot.

Melanie's Week in Review  - 19 May 2012 Another disappointment in my reading week was Rising Darkness by Thea Harrison. I have read some of her other books and although there was quite a bit of action in this one I still found it a bit dull. I don't think I really gelled with the lead characters. Another series I don't think I will continue.

One book I did really enjoy was The Sword Edge Blond by Alex Bledsoe. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this book, especially as the cover was a bit 1970's looking. Eddie LaCrosse, the hero of this series is a great one....hero that is. Damaged by a tragedy in his teens has shaped his life as a sword for hire. He is gruff and rough and totally heroic. I think Eddie is going to end up on my top ten fictional
Melanie's Week in Review  - 19 May 2012
boyfriend list soon. The added bonus was that it was so quick to read that I finished it by the time I got home from work. I liked it so much that I immediately bought Burn Me Deadly which I am partway through now. Eddie is even better in book two so far. If you like a medieval/fantasy murder mystery than I suggest you start this fantastic series.

I am ashamed to say I haven't had a chance to read any of my new books from the last two weeks and must get them reading them and stop buying new books! My job for next week I suppose. Until then Happy Reading!

Guest Blog by Alex Bledsoe - Language in Sword Sisters - October 24, 2014Review: He Drank, and Saw the Spider by Alex BledsoeMelanie's Week in Review - May 18, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - March 2, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - June 16, 2013Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013Melanie's Week in Review  - 19 May 2012

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