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A Clockwork’s Critique: The Works and World of Lori Alden Holuta, Part One

Dear Reader:

Herein, I shall attempt a series examining the (both existing and upcoming) works of author Lori Alden Holuta.  The series starts with the first published review (I think!) of her short story The Steamkettle Kids Saves The Day.  From there, I will work through the rest of her works in order of publication.  I hope to end the series with an interview with the author about her writings, her influences, and her hopes – not only for her writings but for the world she has created.

Sincerely,

E.P. Isaacs

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The Steamkettle Kids Save The Day

Type: Short Story

Author: Lori Alden Holuta

Available At: The Brassbright Chronicle

Whatsis:

The story concerns the budding world of Industralia.  For the uninitiated, this is a land that first appears in print with this story, however, it will be expanded in the book “The Flight To Brassbright.”  The story concerns two children and their attempts to thwart a group of ne’er-do-wells bent on a scheme that will hurt the working people of their city gravely.

Thoughts:

To me, this tale evokes images, characters, and the general feel of other tales for preteens and teens that I’ve read growing up – such as “Soup” by Robert Peck, “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry, and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain.  Generally speaking, I liked it a great deal.

When Positives and Negatives Collide:

The setting, for the story’s size is well-detailed.  However, I went into the story not knowing that it wasn’t a full book.  I quickly identified with the heroine, a Miss Paisley Pockets.  For the size of the story, the author does a very good job of telling the reader about her – just enough about her – to move the story forward and make the reader want to connect with her.  She seems like “Little Orphan Annie Meets Huck Finn.”

The other characters are good, but Paisley steals the show.  I don’t feel as much of a connection with them.  That could just be me.  It could be that we are only dealing with a short story.  Who knows?  As the universe of Industralia expands, however, I think the residents we find in Miss Holuta’s freshman work will each find their own time to shine.

All in all, this was right up my alley.  I loved it.  It’s fun, and innocent, and good – in style and otherwise.  The only real negative is that I feel cheated.  I want more story, because when the story ended, I wasn’t expecting it.  I guess if I want more, I have to “buy the book.”  Shrewd marketing ploy, Miss Holuta!  For you and your publisher, and I think I just might bite.

At 99 cents, why not buy your own copy of “The Steamkettle Kids Save The Day”, and tell me what you think?

 

 

Of “Stan And Ollie”

The next book in Nika’s adventures touches on vaudeville theater.  Like many small town kids of my generation, I grew up watching two comedy acts on Saturday morning television that got their start in  vaudeville.  These comedy acts were The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy.  It seems that a movie of the latter act will be coming to light – hopefully soon.

There are many reasons to despair any time a movie like this surfaces.  Who is making the picture?  How involved is the subject’s estate?  Who will be writing and directing?  Who are the stars?  How invested are they in making sure that they get the roles they’ve been given ‘right’?  In 2000, a movie chronicling the rise and fall of The Three Stooges was made.  It is the only post-mortem biopic of the comedy trio of which I am aware.  It was watchable, but it didn’t carry the same weight or polish as a movie like 1992’s Chaplin.  Where will Stan and Ollie fall compared to these two?

For now, I am optimistic about the project.  The BBC was responsible for developing it, and stars Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly will play the leads.  The meat of capturing and crafting Coogan and Reilly’s work seems like it has been assigned to capable hands.  I hope so.  Until the movie comes out, I (and you, dear reader) can be content watching and reading about Laurel and Hardy at the official Laurel and Hardy website.

Happy Monday, one and all!

 

On The Horizon: Nanowrimo And Book Two

Dear Friends:

E.P. Isaacs here.  The month of November is almost upon us.  During that month, there is a writer’s event called Nanowrimo.  Yeah, you already know about it?  Most people do.  Especially insane writerly-types.

During November, I hope to lay down the framework of Book Two.  I already have a title.  I’m also sketching out the plot structure and main characters.  The story opens with Patience watching a movie with her mother. It ends with a little girl taking off with a lost little boy in search of her best friend.

There are moments that send me into fits of laughter. There are two moments that almost bring me to my knees. There will be more world-building, and the Witch Queen will begin to rise in her full glory.

We will understand WHY human children are taken by the fey … and readers will meet the little girl that the mother lost at the beginning of Book One. The story will be darker than the first, as the reader begins to see more of this world. It’s not a pretty world – but it is beautiful. And when the light shines through it, it shimmers.

I will do my best to have the book done – in a finished form – by April of 2016.  I am studying illustration, so I hope the drawings and cover for Book Two will be better than what I could offer for Book One.

In the lead-up to Book Two, I am planning to retire the first printing of Book One from production.  I will have an updated, crisper second printing available by January.  I also plan to step up my marketing game – but right now, I have other things to contend with that are grabbing my attention.  Nika is a grand girl, and she has a great story.  Unfortunately, she tags me with typing the story, drawing the pictures, and editing it.  Now, she’s asking me about marketing.

I’ll do my best, dear readers – for you and for Nika.

Sincerely,

E.P. Isaacs