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Thursday, 4 April 2013

24 Bones by Michael F. Stewart - Guest Blog and Review

Writing across the ages and genres

Author Nate Kenyon blurbed 24 Bones as “A successful blend of genres,” but is a mix of genres good or bad in a novel? What about for the author?

Genres are a marketing consideration primarily, but there are also stylistic, pacing, heat and gore level conventions, etc. from a writing standpoint.

To be honest, I don't think it's helped my career to have written across genres and age groups. To date I've written a horror, a SciFi, an urban fantasy, a fantasy (that will never see the light of day) four middle grade graphic novels, a new media story, a thriller, a financial thriller (shhh...free ebook to whomever can find it first) and a young adult mystery series. I'm working on a middle grade urban fantasy, a sequel to my thriller, The Terminals (on submission), and the remaining Assured Destruction books. So, yeah, lots of genres, lots of age groups.

How has it hurt? Readers like to follow authors and series. On the author front, this tends to mean genres. Dan Brown writes...Stephen King writes...George R R Martin writes... I bet you could fill in the blanks easily. These authors have branded themselves, and for instance King's attempt to write out of genre hasn't been met with similar success. There are some exceptions like Gaiman or Maberry. But for the most part, successful authors focus.

So why do I do it? I enjoy trying out different voices. I laugh a little when I see someone has picked up both Assured Destruction and 24 Bones because they are so different. And perhaps my apprenticeship is over and it's time to choose a genre.

What do you think? If an author has written across genres, is that a plus or a negative? Do you like to be surprised that your urban fantasy has an epic or maybe a thriller pacing? If you love an author's adult book, do you buy their young adult novels too?

24 Bones
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

Amazon     Smashwords  

Book Description:

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.


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.
 I am a avid reader of comparative religion. I also love a plain old fashioned Good against Evil. So for me I found this to be a very exciting book. The mix of ancient beliefs and a modern world is fascinating and kept me interested the whole time. 
This is a 5 star read for me. 

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.

I received a review copy of this book for the purpose of my honest opinion.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dusty! Thanks so much for the great review. I'm very glad you enjoyed 24 BONES.