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Monday, August 4, 2014

Michael Keyton: Master Wordsmith

I've known Mike Keyton for several years. We met on the online critique site, OWW, but I don't remember which one of us critted the other first.

I knew almost from the start that Mike wasn't just another wannabe writer though. The guy had real writing chops, the kind that make you doubt your ability to judge one's betters. But he was equally gracious when he analyzed other people's work.

Even when I was writing bilge water, he found enough redemptive qualities in my work to dissuade me from cutting open my wrists with a fountain pen.

If my writing has improved over the years, I can cite Mike as one of my role models. We have vastly different styles, but he's taught me so much about sneaking up on a story and teasing out those subtle details that put flesh on bone.

It brings me great pleasure to announce Mike's first foray into romance. DARK FIRE is billed as a historical paranormal, but it also borders on magical realism. At least it did to me.

This is a novella that covers a great span of time, so expect it to jump quickly between eras. The main characters inhabit other bodies, even other genders, as they struggle to find each other again through time. 

I would've been content if the story had stayed in one era, but Mike's eloquence kept me invested to the very end. 

Lovers of the metaphysical will devour this story in an afternoon. But writers of any genre should read this too, if only to watch a master wordsmith paint with prose.

Well done, Mike. Now if I could only talk you into writing a strictly historical novel.

Writers: Have you ever had a critique partner inspire or mentor you? Have you ever found yourself in a mentoring position to others?


Sandra Almazan said...

Sounds like an interesting story! I'll have to check it out. It's always good to support a fellow OWWer, even if I'm no longer part of that workshop.

Maria Zannini said...

Sandra: I would read anything of Mike's just to glean all the poetry in his words.

Dark Fire isn't a romance in the traditional sense, but it doesn't skimp on the steam either. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

My critique partner is a literary writer so her prose is awe-inspiring. I keep telling her when I grow up I want to be just like her.

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: As much as I like and need my writing community, it can't replace the one on one rapport I have with individual mentors and friends. They keep me inspired.

Angela Brown said...

Your writing has always been inspirational. You use the right words with the right oomph so there's no need to fall into purple prose. And I do enjoy Mike's blog. Sometimes his posts are so engrossing so it's no surprise his novella would be a written work of art.

Congrats to Mike and thanks for sharing Maria.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Yay! Congrats Mike!

This book sounds like a lot of fun. I like the idea of body jumping to search for your lover

Mike Keyton said...

You make me feel very humble. Thank you, Maria - and everyone else.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: I've always loved Mike's blog posts even when he gets on a soapbox. :) I learn so much and he makes it fun. I'm betting he was everyone's favorite teacher when he was at school.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: It reminded me a little of Suzanne Frank's novel, Shadows on the Aegean, a story I enjoyed very much.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: You know me well enough that I won't dole out praise unless it's well deserved.

I hope you'll publish many more books.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Great post, Maria. Writing friends are incredibly supportive -- we're competitors and yet not!

I never understood the value of a crit partner until I lucked out and met mine over a writers' lunch. We laughed at the same joke -- um, no won't share it in public. CPs can push you where editors seem now to lack the time to focus on you and your style/development. So it's vital to have a CP smarter than you -- shh. Don't tell my CP that! ;)

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: You bring up an excellent point. CPs like Mike can tell me a lot that an editor probably wouldn't broach, and they can do it in such a way that I take it in the spirit it was intended.

Re: smarter CPs
LOL. Yup.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I'm constantly inspired by my crit partners, and I hope I've inspired a few in my time, with whacky hijinks if nothing else.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I have to admit, if we spent any time together, my biggest fear would be who would bail us out of jail. :)