And this is why I stay inside on excessively windy days. I get enough exposure just sitting here at my computer.

I’m not likely to get blown away by anything Mother Nature can whip up at me.  Why, I hear you asking?  Because:

  1. I stay inside when the wind looks like it wants to uproot my trees and neighbors.
  2. I don’t live in a part of the world where winds are likely to do that on a regular basis.
  3. You could call me “built sturdy,” if you wanted to be accurate and lose me as a friend.
  4. I meditate regularly enough to feel grounded, unless something upsets me, like some random person calling me “sturdy.”

Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute. Did I hear you say I was “sturdy?” I’m a cat and cats are sleek no matter how much we weigh. I just happened to be relaxing and doing my deep belly breathing. If you meditated as purrfectly as I do, then you wouldn’t be so flipping judgmental, Stupid Head!

So, when I said “I’m blown away,” I was speaking figuratively, and remember, I have a very nice figure from which to speak in this manner.  What blew me away, I hear you asking?  Good grief, you are a curious bunch.

Yup. Here it is. This is what blew me away. And not just the cover art…what’s inside is just as awesome.

I just read James Mahoney’s new novella, I Died Once.  You may know James as DarkJade from the blog The DarkGlobe.  Or you may not.  Either way, you should get to know James.  He is one heck of a writer who just blew me away by his novella.

I wasn’t sure what a novella was before I started reading I Died Once.

“Novella.”  It sounds like a character in a Disney Movie–she could be good or evil, depending on her hair color.

The only thing I can say for sure is that Blonde = Good in the Disney Hall of Shame.

“Novella.”  It sounds like a tiny, but innovative, idea–like, making factual statements that actually contain facts.

See? That’s what I’m talking about!

“Novella.”  It’s a shorter version of a novel, which is fiction.  I figured that out all by myself and from the prefatory remarks James provides in his book, which is a mere 57 pages long.  And who said Blondes are dumb?

Do NOT confuse me with her. I never read with my head tilted like that. It’s bad for my neck.

Once I started reading James’ book (right side up), I couldn’t stop…and not because it wasn’t that long.  It hooked me from the very first line: “Mady was a Dark Child…”  That was the first line.  Now that’s a great hooker!  Well, you know what I mean.  I want to know who Mady is and what makes her a “Dark Child.”

The book immediately combines a masterful use of dialogue and first-person narrative from Mady’s perspective to establish all the elements of a great story: a beginning, middle, and end (and great elements like a compelling plot, three-dimensional characters, and other great literary techniques that make readers happy).

I agree, Lorna. It was a great read, containing all the literary elements required of a successful piece of fiction.

James turns Mady from a girl I found annoying into one who I wanted to hug.  He quickly creates some thrilling action, and gives just enough detail to keep the story moving ahead with a strong plot and even stronger characters, each with their unique voice.  I am so impressed at the depth and richness of the story he told in such a short space (my memoir is about 270 pages).  That kind of writing takes enormous talent.

I don’t generally review books on my blog or for a living.  You can see why.  Most of this post wasn’t about I Died Once.  But if I said more, I would have to start telling you about the parts that I thought were stunningly executed, like his engaging details of Africa or his astute definition between a hunter and a killer.  But, like I said, I don’t want to spoil the story for all of you who are now going to have to read this gem of a book because of what I didn’t say in my review, like:

  1. Why was Mady such a Dark Child?
  2. How can a person who died once be narrating her own story?
  3. “Thrilling action?” What do I mean by that? Car chases?  Espionage?
  4. What the heck does Africa have to do with anything?

See?  You have to buy this book and read it.  Otherwise, you’ll be wondering about these questions, losing sleep and cursing me.  But the person you should really blame is James.  He is the mastermind behind this intriguing story, not me.  Just go read the book so we can all get some rest.

Curse you, James! Now I have to skip out of this obviously enjoyable gig as a Pilgrim woman with no rights so I can buy your book and read it. You think they’ll miss a pint or three of grog?

Note: I was in no way paid or propositioned to write this review. I will get no kick-backs or rewards from this post other than the pure joy of knowing that maybe a really talented writer will get noticed by a few more people than he would have without this poor excuse for a book review.