24 BONES by Michael F. Stewart
Michael will be giving away two copies of 24 Bones at each tour stop! So don’t forget to leave a comment and follow the tour via this link at Bewitching Book Tours, to better your chances of winning.
Michael F. Stewart
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Supernatural Thriller
Publisher: Non Sequitur Press
Number of pages: 305
Word Count: 85,000
Cover Artist: Martin Stiff of Amazing15
Every five hundred years the phoenix dies.
Samiya, born-into-shadow, is soon to battle her born-into-light brother. Abandoned by their parents, neither wishes to play the preordained role of beast and hero. When their loved ones are taken hostage, they are forced to follow the path laid out in myth, culminating in a battle first fought six thousand years ago in ancient Cairo. A mythic clash where one defeats the other and both become gods.
To break free from their fates, Samiya and her brother must unravel a mystery twisted by cults, greed, and magic. But myth is a powerful force and failure to live up to it may not only destroy their lives but the lives of the ones they love most.
When the phoenix dies, the only certainty is flames.
“Terrific! A successful blend of genres, complex and fascinating characters, and loads of suspense make 24 Bones a must-read.” Nate Kenyon, bestselling author of The Reach, Prime, Bloodstone, and The Bone Factory.
“’24 Bones’ is a winning debut. It’s well-written and well-plotted, studded with drama, action, history and mythology. There’s even a little romance. The conclusion is thrilling with the final outcome of the battle between good and evil held over until the very end…leaving you guessing until that very last page.” SF Crowsnest.
Author Post: In Praise of Editors
I’m not an editor. You are probably not an editor.
And yet, if you write or have friends that write, you’ve probably been asked to play the role of one.
The problem with most writers acting as editors is that they plant their own voice in the writing of the book they’re reviewing. This is not to say beta readers aren’t helpful; they are, and the very act of critiquing is helpful to one’s own writing, but it can cause damage if you’re not careful.
I run a writers’ group out of my local library and always tell the group to take critique’s seriously, but to consider where the comments come from as well. We all have preferences. We all write with certain genre conventions in mind. Reading and writing is notoriously subjective and yet we often take criticism as gospel.
I find that beta readers are best for picking out certain developmental level edits, usually in the negative (and I mean this positively) and continuity issues, ‘this part was confusing’, ‘I got bored here’, ‘I don’t believe this character would do this’, ‘how is this possible when this character died three chapters earlier’, and so on.
Beta readers can often have a sense that something is wrong, but they usually can’t show you how to fix it. They seldom build on things; a good editor invests themselves in the project and pushes the writer to excel. They build. ‘Give me more here’, ‘add a transition there’, ‘good setup, but engage all the senses’, ‘this scene lacks conflict, flat’, ‘expand this into a scene or dialogue’. A good editor takes the writing to another level. They ask tough questions. ‘Do you need to rewrite this in first person?’ ‘Does this character’s motivations match their actions?’ ‘What does this chapter add?’ ‘Can these two characters be combined?’
Editors also educate. A good editor does a great deal of reading; they can provide examples of what you can achieve and offer craft tips on how you can achieve it. The best editors provide a roadmap to your revisions. The editorial process has greatly improved not only my current work, but my future work.
It’s important to understand the distinction between different types and levels of editing. The above is Developmental Editing. It’s the most important part and the part which is most often missed. Line Editing, Copy Editing and Proofing come later, but if the story doesn’t work, then all of this editing is frankly a waste of time. You need an editor who can tell you whether your work is ready to move on.
Where are these mythical creatures? They’re out there. They’re professionals.
Who’s my editor? I hesitate to say it because she’s so amazing: Catherine Adams of Inkslinger Editing. http://inkslingerediting.com/ She’s the cornerstone of my process and a true mentor.
Is there an editor you want to give a shout out to?
“Mafeesh baksheesh,” David said to the man who waited for a tip in the airport washroom. The caretaker stood in overalls and wrung a rag that drooled gray water onto the linoleum floor. David patted his pockets and then shrugged.
“Hey, baksheesh,” the skinny Egyptian called and followed David out of the washroom.
“It’s not like you held it for me,” David replied.
“David,” Zahara, leaning against an image of the Great Sphinx, said between her teeth. “It’s customary to give him a tip for keeping the washroom clean.”
“I know what’s customary,” he said. “I’m ex-pat. Remember, my real name is Dawid, not David, as the customs agents so diligently noted.”
She rolled her dark eyes, herself easily blending into the range of Egyptian ethnicities striding past. “Okay, Dawid.”
David knew he was being ridiculous; it had been a decade since he’d last set foot in the land of his birth and any desire to be a part of Egyptian society had been burned, prayed, or beaten out of him long before. The revolution sure as hell hadn’t made life easier for a former Coptic Christian.
The janitor frowned and then asked hopefully, “Pyramids?” Pursuing David through the airport concourse, the man handed him a worn brochure that depicted the Giza plateau at sunset and another with a laser show. The pamphlet was limp with mildew.
Zahara’s heels clicked against the floor as she trailed behind, no doubt annoyed that the man tracked David and not her.
David paused and stared at the image. In the brochure, the three pyramids were backlit, black prisms that ascended from Menkaure’s smallest prism on the left, Khafre’s in the middle, to Khufu’s, the Great Pyramid, on the right.
He dimly recalled visiting the plateau once with his father. For him it had almost seemed of religious importance. Staring from below the Great Sphinx’s massive paws and beside the Valley Temple attributed to Khafre with its monolithic pillars, his father had shut his eyes and ignored the jostles of the crowd.
Within the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the King’s Chamber had left an impression on David. It carried a special resonance. Five layers of chambers rose above it, which amplified sound. Or chant, or spell. The purpose of the Great Pyramid, as tomb or as alien spaceship, had been a question of scholars and pyramidologists for centuries. The secret of the Great Pyramid’s use was possibly the world’s most ancient mystery.
Even David couldn’t subscribe to the scholarly consensus that it was a tomb. Why did the Great Pyramid’s chambers carry no adornment despite the ancient Egyptian fascination with resurrection and the necessity of the deceased to read from the Book of the Dead to reach rebirth?
When work gave him some time away on this trip, he’d show Zahara the wonders of Egypt, the pyramids being but one. For now, the true wonder lay in the scanned file in his briefcase.
About the Author:
After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.