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BRM Discussion

brmfin500Warning: Might include spoilers! You know the drill. Comments go here! I’m very curious about people’s reactions to the sample. There’s still time to edit!

18 comments to BRM Discussion

  • Francesco

    First time post.
    I hope this is not impertinent.
    The very begining of BRM is written so that it could be set any time in Europe in the last thousand years (or in an alternate universe entirly). Only as the scene moves to the US does it become evident that the story is contemporary.
    The flow of information that creates that resoulution is elegent.

    Aside from one word – the painting was described as photo-real. That popped me out of the initial hazy fantasy setting momentaraly as photo realism was a mid twentieth century art movement. I sat there wondering if the word was simply a desciption of the painting or perhaps the setting was the swinging sixties europe or if the setting was today.

    Perhaps I over analyse

    Awaiting the publication

  • Francesco

    Thanks, I was trying very hard not to sound like a troll.

  • AbigailM

    I find it very hard to turn off the “squee!” long enough to make any helpful analytical comments.

    By the end of the sample I still don’t really have a sense of who the vampire really is. Peter’s POV segments have made his personality fairly clear. Sergei/Andrzej(sp?) is still a mystery to me, and I can’t figure out yet if he is going to be a sympathetic character or not. Clearly he is revered by his folk. But is his great power allied to so much arrogance that he tromps all over everyone? Waiting IMPATIENTLY for Halloween.

  • mmberry

    AbrigailM mentions Sergei and arrogance. I suggest watching COUNT DRACULA, the BBC version of DRACULA. Louis Jourdan is master of his domain. I’ll try to come up with a better analysis and comparison with Dracula over the weekend. I find Peter to be a bit Jonathan Harker, viewing the world from Peter/Harker’s view points.

    I am wondering how many people will come out of the woodwork claiming The Sight. I do believe such things exist in our society, but are extremely rare. I like Peter’s lack of training and his instinctive knowledge. True Sight, not just a person who is to a varing degree “sensitive.” More than the brain putting clues together and creating intuitive information.

    At this point, I see Mina and Peter as a poor match, but we’ve only seen a fraction of Mina’s character. Her job potential is not one suited for frequent and prolonged travel.

    In a fast comparison with the average paranormal romance, Sergei and company are winning hands down. A few of the romances do have complex characters, but the ones I’ve read are more romantic comedy.

  • WarriorofWorry

    Okay, here goes.
    I second AbigailM: it IS hard to turn off the squee long enough to comment intelligently.
    You mentioned that you hadn’t read much urban fantasy. I can understand that ( and share many readers’ annoyance at the fact that NY suddenly seems to think it’s the *only* fantasy worth publishing). On the other hand, I *do* like well-written urban fantasy (Patricia Briggs, authors below) and read a lot of it.
    This worthy entry looks like it’s going to rank with the best. Back to the source, literally, with echos of some of the themes found in the works of Octavia Butler, Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, just to name a few: as if you’d been following the fantasy/urban fantasy conversation.
    This sample highlights your talents with world building and interesting characters. But in my very humble opinion, these 101 pages show marked technical improvement in your writing.
    In short, YAY!!! :heart: WANT! :wub: NAO!!!!!!! 😎

  • Hey, all, thanks! You ease my mind tremendously.

    WoW: Patty Briggs’ work I do love, have since I first met her years ago. She’s been one of my strongest supporters for years. The others are great company to be in. Hope the rest of the story holds up.

    I hadn’t thought about it, but right now, the only one you all have met is Andrzej (pronounced Andre). Sergei has barely poked his nose in. They are actually quite different, tho the arrogance is, I think, seriously hardwired by now. The guy is several thousand years old. 😉

    MM: Peter is probably a bit like Jonathan in that he’s an earnest, hard-working young guy, in blind love, with the opportunity of a lifetime dropped into his lap. That’s part of the dynamic to keep him from questioning too much the crazy situation he finds himself in. I don’t really remember anything about Jonathan, but this falls into the category of synergy between plot and character development. It requires certain character traits in order to have certain events take place.

    And shall we say, the Peter, like the Sergei, you’ve met is only the beginning. This is only the first quarter of the book.

    Mina and Peter…Hmmm…well, easy to give too much away. Shall we say if Peter didn’t have her in his life he wouldn’t be half the man he is by the end of the book. :whistle: But shall we say the match is a type I’ve seen all too often throughout the years, and the female doesn’t have to be rich in order for the dynamic to be there.

    It’s not really a romance, tho left to his own devices Sergei would probably turn it into, er, well…did I mention he’s OLD? But his hormones are now quite young. :devil:

  • Hanneke

    Read the sample today, and liked it. You always write real people with interesting characters, and interesting predicaments as well.
    Cat is a very strange and wonderful, unusual extra, I don’t think I’ve ever met a ‘personage’ like him before.

    I can’t say anything sensible about the story itself as I don’t know the genre. I’ve not read any vampire stories before, except Robin McKinley’s ‘Sunshine’, and recently (after recommendations here / on CJ’s blog) the books by Patricia Briggs, which do contain some vampires as well as werewolves: I have to say her wizard-vampire freaks me out rather. Despite never having felt attracted to reading about vampires or werewolves, I found out that I liked her books: after starting with ‘The Hob’s bargain’ I ended up reading almost all of them in the last months.

    Andrzej/Sergei seems a more approachable vampire in some ways, despite being a very strange kind of being: not in either the silly sexy or weird alien scary-horror cardboard cut-out kind of way, but you just know that he will have reasons for what he does, and those will be part of his complicated character, very different because he is not an ordinary mortal human but still comprehensible within his own context. The way he’s tried to protect his people sounds like he might be a good guy (or he might just be a good livestock keeper, which is not so positive), in any case not inherently and automatically evil (which I don’t like sympathising with as a reader), though that arrogance of his … but then that arrogance/confidence seems to be necessary for his continued existence, and the alternative might be a lot worse … I’ll like to read more of your story. When is the full book going to be available?

    Also, considering your research and the background of information about Dracula and vampires which the other readers here all seem to know, would you recommend that I try to read the original Dracula story to get more of the background?
    Somehow, it’s never appealed to me, but maybe after reading ‘Blood red moon’ but before rereading it I’ll be able to read and finish Dracula, as sort of background research project, if you think that might give added meaning and enjoyment to the reread.

    If your Sergei is (as I rather expect) a very different kind of creature from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it might not be very useful, as I found from reading Eileen Wilks after Patricia Briggs I get confused when the ‘same kind of creature’ (in this case werewolves) has very different rules in different writer’s universes: horses behave like horses in all the different fantasy worlds, except when they aren’t really horses at all, just horse-shaped (like the nighthorses). Strangely enough, I do easily accept that dragons are different depending on who wrote them: ‘Tea with the black dragon’ is not at all like Smaug, and both feel equally valid.
    Maybe that’s because I’ve (fictionally) encountered so many different kinds of dragon over the years, or maybe because almost from the beginning it’s been clear that there are at least two distinct types of dragon, the fire-breathing gold-hoarding mostly solitary and more-or-less ‘dumb brute’ western dragons, and the wise, book- and water-loving eastern kind who have daughters and can change into people.
    Hmm – maybe I should read more in these genres to get rid of the mental stereotypes of these magic creatures, but they just don’t appeal to me enough to make the investment seem worthwhile. I’ve decided to stop trying to find out if I might like some more werewolf-stories after all. I rather expect that the general run of vampire-stories will appeal to me even less, always excepting your addition to the genre.
    Unless you’ve got recommendations?

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed Patty’s work! She’s a wonderful fantasy writer who just happened to find a home in the urban fantasy genre. The first one I read was Hobb’s Bargain as well and it remains a real favorite.

      And I’m glad you enjoyed the sample. The whole book is due to come out on Halloween! 😀 I had a last minute idea that I wanted to make sure came through in the book, so I’m scrambling now to blast through it one last time, but I still plan to make that deadline.

      IMO BRM should stand very well on its own. I don’t read in the field either and as you say, my vamps are not at all like Patty’s or Stoker’s…or anyone else’s I’ve run up against. they definitely follow their own rules and much of the story revolves around establishing with and working within those rules.

      I only read Dracula to sort out what motifs came with the “original” and what tropes have come in with, say, Buffy. Stylistically, it’s not my thing, tho he did try to make an unusually useful heroine for the era. It definitely deserves its place as an important book in the evolution of the modern fantasy novel, but as a useful prereq for BRM…no. Not at all.

      I echo the whole “relocation” thing BS had, and Peter’s a fan of the book just to give a tip of the hat to the original, but aside from a plot element the relocation doesn’t have a lot of meaning. Just gets my vamp “hero” and my human hero together, gives Peter some time in an alien environment…throws him off balance…then we get to see Sergei in a new environment, which is kinda fun.

      He’s fascinated by jets.

      And he smokes like a chimney. Bad Sergei!

      Sergei is a lot of fun in general to write. He’s quite amoral, but he LIKES humans and human companionship and recognizes the value of working within human psychological needs. This is one of the big reasons he values Nandru so very much. Nandru tells him when he’s being an ass. 😀

      • Hanneke

        Re your last paragraph about Sergei: that’s the impression I received of his character, but his thoughts after feeding off Peter and Nandru, at the end of the sample, made me doubt a bit. Not giving Nandru any positive feedback (not that Nandru needs it, but still..) just because he doubted Sergei for a moment, seemed either very arrogant (“How dare he doubt me, his much older and wiser master”) or a very cold and rational response (like not rewarding unwanted behaviour in order to train a pet). It suddenly makes his thought processes seem very different/alien/distant, as a response to Nandru’s loyalty/integrity/love&worry toward him – that suddenly puts my (gradually building) estimate of his character and reactions on shaky footing, as naturally I initially plug the clues I receive into my own basically human ‘template’ of character. More information, in reading the rest of the story, will of course help to regain some of the surety, in building a fuller picture of what he’s like, how he thinks and reacts, and how that develops in the new interactions and situations. I love the way you write your complex characters and let them grow and develop.
        Just checked: Halloween is 31 oktober, not 11 november as I keep mistaking the date, so that’s not a long time to wait. The rectangular picture of the red-eyed black cat and the blood-red moon, with the mountain in the background, looks good and (just the right amount)scary, very fitting!

        • Hopefully Sergei’s reasoning is clearer now. Doubt is his greatest enemy. Not that Nandru’s doubts in this case are a danger to him, but that’s the basis of his reaction.

          And it’s also, in his own odd way, for Nandru as well. He doesn’t want Nandru worrying about him.

          It’s also a clue to the fact that we aren’t dealing with a normal human psyche here.

          • Hanneke

            Yes, I loved the rest of the book. Right from the next chapter, the layers and layers of personality and interaction became deeper, and in total it’s a fulfilling read. I’m very glad to hear you’re continuing the story!

            I was going for a second read-through before I comment, and anyway I had resolved not to be such a wordy commenter on your blog for a while, ‘give other people a chance to get a word in edgewise’, you know…
            Maybe I can allow myself just one tangential question?
            Just before BRM came out, dad had lent me Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper. She writes about her blind cat Homer (though I much prefer your writing style). Some of the things you talk about Cat doing, at the end, resonated rather well with what she describes of his actions. Have you known a blind cat too?
            To tell the truth, I was a bit scared of him, with his luminous red eyes, but the chapter in which he played a larger role made him feel very much a CAT, and not demonic or something like that to be really leery of (though always remembering that cats are self-centered predators as well as all the rest they can be).
            Waking up in dark room with two large bright luminous eyes staring at me gives me a sort of atavistic fright response, momentarily, even thought I’m well aware it’s just my nice old friend Pippin; and your cover picture hit that exact same response-spot. Well done!
            Is that a universal reaction? I always thought it was just me, being a silly scaredy-cat; but CJ mentions something like that in her books, about the Atevi’s luminous-in-the-dark eyes triggering a human’s sense of danger. And now Sergei can have eyes like that too…I wonder if his old-time retainers get over getting that first fright feeling when Sergei’s eyes show up like that (in his own or someone else’s face), or how it colours their initial response to him. Layers within layers…
            I’ll stop talking so you can concentrate on your new story. I’m also happy to hear you two are back on the ice. Have fun!

            • I thought I’d replied to this! THANK YOU. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

              The beauty of the internet is that there’s no interrupting! Everybody can talk as much as they like and I always appreciate your posts.

              I haven’t seen Homer’s Odyssey, but sounds very interesting. I’ve never known a blind cat, but a lot of the fun of writing is putting yourself into the mindset of the people or in this case crittur you’re writing about. You try to slip on the skin, analyze their assets, and have them respond to the problem accordingly.

              I adore Cat. He’s Sergei’s “bat” form, i.e. a non-human form that can get places and see things his own body can’t, but Cat’s just so much more fun! (Tho we do, you will note in the prologue, pay tribute to his traditional roots when Sergei gets to Seattle! Before Owl, there’s a very put upon Bat) What I tried to do with the vampire “biology” is to come up with different ways to do what the “traditional” vampires do. I do hope people enjoy it half as much as I enjoyed coming up with it.

              Cat s/b creepy/cuddly. He’s not a kitteh you want to PO! :blink:

  • mmberry

    I’ll try to write up a comparison with Dracula this weekend now that I’ve finished reading BRM. I always reccommend reading Stoker’s novel. I can see bits of inspiration, but very few minor items. While this has a inspiration in DRACULA, it is closer in style to INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. The action is more important in Dracula.

    As to my above comment about the crazies coming out of the woodwork, I have known too many people in the past who do not know the dividing line between fantasy and reality. While I admit to a fairly high Walter Mitty quotient, I have a firm grasp on the location of that dividing line.

    Having just finished BRM last night, I want to throw skeins of yarn at Jane! Trust me, I have plenty of ammunition! She left it so open to a sequel I could scream! All I can say is “More please.”

    • D&R.

      But did you like it!?! Of course I left it open to a sequel. Interesting people’s lives go on in interesting ways. 😀

      I’m working on it.

    • Oh, I’ll be very interested to read the comparison! I’d actually never read D before the project became an issue. It really was a rather interesting experience. He did write at a very different time. One of the beauties of writing in the last couple of decades is the ability to take the time and flesh out a complex plot with complex characters. It’s not that plot isn’t important in my books…there’s plenty of plot…it’s just that characters and psychology and motivation are, I freely admit, more important.

  • reading-fox

    I think I preferred both Rings and Netwalkers, but it was still lots of fun! My inital impression upon finishing it is that the plot lies very close to Dracula – but with the interesting twist that Van Helsing is now a vampire himself. I loved the grow a new body idea, that works very well.

    • It’s definitely not meant to be the least bit deep. 😆

      I really really REALLY want to get back to ‘NetWalkers. I’m working on the prequel edit now. Of all the series, it’s my personal favorite and I’ve got so much more I want to do with it.

      This really is an “if Dracula was written in the 21st century” kind of story, with sympathetic (sort of) vamps and a bit more respect for the Roma, but it’s really a setup for what I thought would be a fun series as Peter and Sergei go after a variety of vamps based on vamps from different cultures. The fundamental concept of the Transformed is flexible enough that Andes to China to Japan to Greece, it can adapt to the local blood suckers.

      How much I do remains to be seen. I’m not a fast writer and I’ve got lots still in mind for ‘NetWalkers and Rings. But if we can quit moving and get this whole publishing process established, I’ll hopefully be able to play in all venues.

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