Clotho’s Loom LIVE on Google Books

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http://books.google.com/books?id=196qvBRVK1oC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_vpt_buy#v=onepage&q&f=false

Unlike the Sample Chapters hosted on this site, Google Books offers 20% of the novel through its entire range, in PDF format.  Obviously, this does not make for good reading continuity, but it should better aid in a purchase decision for the ambivalent–giving a much better flavor, say, for the action of the mid and later chapters. It should also raise the visiblity of the novel, which is never a bad thing.

Speaking of Google, the posts on this blog are often picked up in Google Plus, LinkedIn, Tumblr And StumbleUpon.  We also have a Pinterest account–so take your choice!

Casting Call: Supporting Characters, part 2. Bring on the Bad Guys!

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There comes a time in every nice-guy-actor’s career when he must cast off, like a serpent, his slough of likable personas, and reveal his more dangerous side.  Look at him, whether as Slumdog Millionaire himself, or lifted directly from his recent GQ pictorial, we all want him to win.  For Dev Patel, I think playing youthful Amad in our hypothetical film version of Clotho’s Loom would be the perfect opportunity to resist type.  Amad first meets Professor Will Wyrd as one among many college students, but quickly distinguishes himself: not only is he academically superior, but he operates a guerilla cell, fighting clandestinely and without oversight by his native government, out of the Middle East!  Later in the novel, he returns in a more sinister incarnation, as a homicidal desert sheik.

Barry Corbin has appeared in roles requiring a uniform countless times in his career: sheriffs (old west and new), sergeants, generals.  You name the government agency, he’s headed it.  Here, we need him for the more ambiguous role of ultra-patriotic Marine Colonel Mingo.  For some unknown reason, Mingo, while not having risen quite to the top of officer ranks, has also been left out of the latest war overseas.  He’s been relegated to administration of a large recruitment center back in the States, whose sole interesting task is the impressment of vets, like former Corporal Wyrd, back into service against their wills.  But something tells me that he, like Amad, will find his way back into the thick of the action, by hook, or crook.  The photo says it all.  Barry has aged a bit since this was taken (he currently appears as Ed in Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management).  But I actually prefer the older, balder Corbin for this nefarious villain.Image

Intertwining High Culture and Low Culture

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Nowadays, as we Americans pretend to live in a society without social classes, or elide the boundaries with a mythical construct called the “middle class” (to which most feel they belong,) the general rule is that works of art also should blur lines between so-called “high” and “low,” or “popular,” culture.  Shakespeare himself was an exemplar of the technique, underlaying tales of court intrigues with groundling humor.

I wanted the beginning of Clotho’s Loom to pay homage to Hamlet, a drama I admire very much.  Especially as William Wyrd visits the Veteran’s Cemetery, seeking a resolution to his dilemma of being impressed back into military service–almost paralyzed with indecision.  Unlike Shakespeare’s play, though, no articulated voice rises to direct him.  I felt departing from the Bard’s supernaturalist mode here would set the realist tone of my novel.  Will is not fundamentally unlike most of us: we struggle with difficult decisions amid the legacies of our fathers, often to find the codes they lived by outworn or useless in our modern world. Or, at least, only hard experience teaches how to adapt them.

However, as the novel acclimates itself more and more to a Romantic mode, I freely stole–here “pay homage” and even “borrow” ring hollow to me–from sources readily recognizable to 20th-Century media consumers.  Poems and song lyrics were a major store of inspiration.  Alongside the cribbing of a few phrases from T.S. Eliot, for example, I based a major scene on these lines from the Blue Oyster Cult classic, Astronomy:  “Four doors at the Four Winds Bar / Two doors locked and windows barred / One door’s meant to take you in / The other one just mirrors it.”  As Will wandered through the desert, a vast wide open space, I needed to draw him for awhile into a place of entrapment, where his choices felt so limited that he might never escape–like a roach motel for human beings.

Rather than changing the name of the saloon to avoid any potential lawsuit, I rather hoped that readers would recognize and enjoy the allusion, and that the band itself would feel complimented if it knew.  Or, failing that, the construct was so well conceived by its originators, that it could only strengthen the seams of my patchwork quilt of a narrative–even if the theft were never discovered.

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Author Shawn StJean interview: Clotho’s Loom–Underneath the Weave

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Emily McDaid, author of the new London-based techno-suspense novel The Boiler Plot, and who among her other achievements can claim an intriguing blog for US and UK-based writers, lost her sanity long enough to interview Yours Truly, for her series “9 1/2 Questions with Indie Authors.”  What a great experience for me, working with one of the pioneering young pros out there.  Have a look:

http://www.emilymcdaid.com/blog/2012/9/17/9-12-questions-with-shawn-stjean-author-of-clothos-loom.html

Tag Clotho’s Loom, and help get it out to other readers (higher rankings)!

ImageJust a quick bit today, in the form of a request.  You may have “liked” the book on the product page, but more important to the novel’s ranking would be to “agree” with the 12 or so “tags” below the reviews section.  The tags help other potential readers find the book as it relates to similar ones.  Examples include “literary fiction,” “action adventure,” “women’s fiction,” and so on.  If you feel one is missing, you can even add your own and others will vote!

This will only take a minute of your time–thanks so much!  Be careful not to “uncheck” anything–that means you did it already, and perhaps forgot.  Only one set of votes per customer.  You must be logged in to your Amazon account to do this.

link: http://www.amazon.com/Clothos-Loom-Literary-Romance-ebook/dp/B008QOCHIA/ref=la_B001JS8518_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1347629812&sr=1-3

Casting Call: Supporting Characters

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I have purposely not chosen a specific woman actor for this role, because I think Thalia should be played by someone completely new to audiences, mysterious even to them, never having played a “good” or “bad girl,” but exuding yonic power like a pheromone.  In a narrative populated with characters of mixed and unknown motives, hers are the most inscrutable.

Typically, a personal helper figure is the same gender as the hero/heroine, and I did follow that formula with Nexus and Sage.  However, as William Wyrd is apprenticed to many masters in the course of his journey, it seemed as if a woman could teach him the things he most needed to know: patience, self-discipline, endurance of pain and deprivation–even yoga breathing!  More than these things, however, he needed to be humbled, to strip away his ego constructs–show him that he could accept help, instruction, and not handle every task alone.

I also wanted her, physically, to be an opposite twin of Nexus: dark, young, exotic, and subtle, whereas my woman protagonist is fair, approaching middle age, sometimes naive, and an American farmgirl-turned-lawyer.  For these reasons, Will is attracted to her, even while she trains him in skills that repel him.

Thalia takes on two distinct personas in the course of the novel: first, a woman soldier/assassin, specializing in intelligence and black ops.  Second, as a feral seductress, who may or may not be the spawn of Will’s desert visions.

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