Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blaggard's Moon - Day 2

Here we are again, discussing once more the April feature on the CSFF Blog Tour: Blaggard's Moon by George Bryan Polivka, the stand-alone prequel to his Trophy Chase Trilogy, a series of fantasy novels -- with pirates! (After a session of reading the novel, I was in such a pirate-y mood the other night that I paused my other work, hit "play" on my much-viewed DVD copy of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, still my favorite of the three films, and watched it while I went back to work.)

Over at TitleTrakk.com, there's an interesting interview of Polivka by C.J. Darlington. I was surprised but encouraged to read that Polivka had written eleven novels over the course of twenty-five years before achieving publication. Though I've had other writing published, none of my novels have hit the presses yet, nor will for a while. I've been writing since I was nine, I'm now thirty-seven, and I identify with his endurance run toward publication.

Those years have not been wasted. Polivka has produced a fine work of fiction in Blaggard's Moon, and it is a joy to read. Below is a darkly humorous excerpt from about the middle of the story, and one of my favorite passages. Be warned! Here there be cheesiness and wordplay:

"Don't they ever reload?" Skeel Barris asked his accordian player. The Captain was seated behind the gunwale, his back to the fray, reloading his own pistol. The musician to whom he spoke lay sprawled on the deck, his head propped up by a bulkhead wall, his forehead shot through by a stray musket ball. It had been a hot iron ball, too, so it had left a bloodless, cauterized gray tunnel as it passed through the man's brain.

"I can see what you're thinkin'," Barris said to the unlucky minstrel. Then he chuckled at his own joke. "You're thinkin' Conch'll have my hide. But Conch'll get the last laugh."

Now an explosion from below rocked the Tranquility.

"Then again, he may not be pleased," he said, less sanguine. "Me losin' a good ship to a bunch a' dandies like these." But he cheered up almost immediately. "Gimme that dance box, will ye?" Skeel pried the accordian from the lifeless hand of its proprietor and began squeezing out a tune. "I know ye can't sing no more," he told the man, "but if the wind kicks up just a tad, ye might find ye can whistle." He laughed again, and kept playing. "No? Well, keep an open mind about it." Then he laughed some more.

Another explosion followed, and he raised his head. Then in quick succession three more, the last one ripping through the decking not twenty feet from him, an enormous fiery fist punching upward into the air. He could hear men screaming below. Skeel dropped the accordian. He looked down at his own chest to find what he figureed to be an eight-inch wooden splinter sticking out about three inches, just below the center line. "'Bout time I danced wi' the devil," he said. "Hope he can take a joke." He slumped over.

There's all manner of buckling and swashing, and much more humorous dialogue, but there's also gravity and eternal themes that run through the tale. Perhaps I'll talk about those tomorrow. Meantime, I'll say that this is a book not only for almost all ages but also either gender, as there are things about the story that everyone can like, and the male and female characters are equally well done.

For other perspectives, visit these other stops on the tour:

Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Keanan Brand
Melissa Carswell
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Alex Field
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespack
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

What an interesting quote. I am planning to showcase his writing in my post today, too, but the passage I've picked out is ... quite different! I think it supports your view that this book is for both genders.

Nice job, Keanan.


Beth Goddard said...

Please make sure to stop by my blog as well--I'm on the tour, too!

Love this author's work!


Phyllis Wheeler said...

Wow! He wrote eleven novels before being published!!??!!

All I can say is, he certainly is well-polished, and it shows!

Phyllis Wheeler
The Christian Fantasy Review

Jason said...

Oh man! I loved that passage too! I had bookmarked it and was wondering how to work it into tomorrow's post. Good thing, because I don't have the room, but I thought that was a pretty clever set-up!

Fred Warren said...

That scene was priceless...thanks for reminding me about it. Also a nice catch explaining 'blaggard', a word we don't use much these days.

Keanan Brand said...

Becky - Thanks! And it's always interesting to learn what grabs different people, even when they're all reading the same book. My pre-readers all have different passages or characters they like more than others, and those favorites aren't always the ones I'd expect.

Beth - I'll head on over!

Phyllis - Yes, it certainly does show, and it gives me hope. Gotta respect that kind of perseverance!

Jason - Sick minds think alike! I laughed out loud when I read this passage. I come from a family well-versed in cheesy punnery, and we love to practice it on one another whenever we can.

Fred - My pleasure. It occurred to me that the title, while intriguing to me, might mean nothing to readers who weren't familiar with the word, thus the geeky foray into word history.