adobeDreams

Welcome to the adobeDreams blog of author Robert Burke.

"adobeDreams" is a fictitious bed & breakfast hotel located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as featured in the novels, "adobeDreams: A Novel of Santa Fe," and "adobeDreams II: The End of Karma."

Parental advisory: The "adobeDreams" series contains mature themes and is intended for adult audiences. DISCLAIMER: The characters and events in "adobeDreams" are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

adobeDreams: A Novel of Santa Fe

A young travel journalist searches Santa Fe, New Mexico, for adobeDreams, a bed and breakfast that doesn't appear on any map. Each step leads her deeper into a world of angels, demons, and an attraction she did not expect.

Paperback version available here: www.amazon.com

Amazon Kindle® e-book format: www.amazon.com

Also available in other ebook formats.

adobeDreams II: The End of Karma

The adventures of heroine Abigail Regan continue as her transformational abilities are coveted by a centuries-old succubus in Paris. Rayna, the master warrior, returns with her own deadly agenda, and Abigail is forced to choose sides in a battle that may impact the fate of mankind. Danger and betrayal block the way home to adobeDreams as Abigail must confront her past and master the bestial rage that threatens to destroy everyone around her.

Paperback version available here: www.amazon.com

Amazon Kindle® e-book format: www.amazon.com

Also available in other ebook formats.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Club - Part 1 of 3

In late April I had the great privilege to meet members of a local book club who have read “adobeDreams.” It was something of a genre/demographic mismatch as only one member had previously read fantasy sci-fi, but valuable nonetheless. A ninety-minute discussion ensued with candid feedback from eight avid readers. My sincere thanks to Ann, Elaine, Jane, Kitty, Maureen, Nancy, Susan, and Tris for your time and hospitality! Note: Where more than one member responded to a question or comment, each member’s comment is shown within its own quotation marks.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Author: It’s funny, when you write a book and people know you, they tend to think the book is about you. Friends of my wife, for instance, read the book and then made a point of having lunch with her and asking, “Are you okay?” “What’s going on there?”

Book Club: “Do you beat your wife?” “Where is that scar [referencing the heroine’s scar from domestic abuse]?”

Author: Yes, exactly. And for me, what I think of, is as a kid my favorite author was Edgar Rice Burroughs. He wrote a series about John Carter of Mars. “A Princess of Mars” was the book I liked most. It was about this Civil War veteran who is out west and is pursued by hostile Indians. He runs into a cave to escape but then realizes there are strange vapors that paralyze him. The Indians come to the entrance but are afraid to enter and leave him to his fate. When he wakes he finds himself on Mars and has all these adventures. You know the author because he also wrote the “Tarzan” series. The odd thing about Edgar Rice Burroughs is that he never went to Africa. So he wrote all those “Tarzan” books without any direct experience. Presumably he never went to Mars, either. So you can write a lot of things, I think, without it being about you.

Book Club: “Just using a good imagination.” “’Cause you’ve never been a lesbian, right?” [Much laughter]

Author: No, not in this life. Maybe in another one, I don’t know. I kind of wondered, after reading the book, how many of you assumed the author was gay? Did you think that at all?

Book Club: “No.” “I was surprised it was a male who did the book.” “It’s like ‘Little Bee’ [one of the club’s previous books] had a male author.”

Author: One of the things some of our friends liked about ‘adobeDreams’ is the absence of superfluous details. So many books have so much background detail in them that you almost get tired of reading all of it. For example, I read Stieg Larsson’s “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”—certainly a great book—but I got to, like, page 350 and I realized the story was just beginning.

Book Club: “Yes, there is a lot of detail in ‘Dragon Tattoo.’” “That’s right.” “The movie is very streamlined [compared to the book].” “I loved the movie.” “I’m not sure I would have understood the screenplay if I hadn’t read the book because the movie was so streamlined.”

Author: But for me, give me 350 pages and we’re going to go to the moon and come back. And I think part of that is that in my previous incarnation as an Information Technology manager, I did a lot of technical writing.

Book Club: When you write, you cut to the chase.

Author: Yes, I’m accustomed to communicating things as simply and directly as possible. And hopefully that’s the way I write fiction, too. Another thing people noted is the speed of Abigail’s transition from straight to gay. They thought it happened too fast.

Book Club: “Yeah, it was like, ‘Wait a minute!’” “It was way, way too fast.”

Author: I thought about that as I did rewrites, but I wanted that whole “Earth Paradise” thing—where they go back and experience life as Australopithecus “ape-girls”—to happen at the very beginning in order to get that kind of stuff rolling, and I also wanted that romantic encounter to happen immediately afterwards because they flowed so well together. So I really had to jump into it, and all of a sudden Abigail is smitten.

Book Club: “Yeah, you were very descriptive in your writing. You painted a good picture.” “Yeah, you really got into that scene.” [Laughter]

Author: Actually, I tried—as much as possible—to communicate the feeling rather than the mechanics.

Book Club: So you’re telling me this book is not a dream? I was thinking the whole story was a dream, that she dreamt the entire thing? Because, if not, then that blows my whole theory.

Author: No, it’s happening in “reality.”

Book Club: “Doesn’t the last page say she woke up, or something?” “Yeah, it did say something like that, that confirmed it was all a dream.”

Author: She woke up in Paris with Caroline. After the big battle at adobeDreams, they basically escaped to Paris. [Change of subject:] Was the book too violent for anyone?

Book Club: “I didn’t think so.” “Pulling the snakes out of his heart [scene where Lucifer first manifests] was frightening.”

Author: Yes, that was scary. And, actually, part of that was a true story [see answer to question 6 of the 15 Questions for Author Robert Burke article]. But the scariest part for me was writing the “Heart of Darkness” chapter that takes place in Africa. That scared the crap out of me—my heart was pounding as I wrote the chase sequence. Did it seem frightening to you?

Book Club: “It was a scary situation, with the people hiding out, afraid to be discovered by the troops, and then the troops came back.” “What was the deal with the gun? She was firing the gun and it ran out of ammo?”

Author: No, she tried to fire it and didn’t know how to release the safety. [Change of subject:] Were the romantic encounters too sexual, too explicit?

Book Club: “Yeah! I am not a prude at all but why...why did you go there? I just don’t like anyone talking sexual like that.” “We don’t read anything that graphic.” “What was the point? I don’t need to hear that many details.” [One member to another:] “What did you and your husband do this week?” [Other person’s response:] “Very similar to the book!” [Laughter] “What was the point of that much detail? To me that looks like filler, like when comedians get raunchy, ‘cause to me it looks like you don’t have anything else to say so you do it to fill up pages.”

Author: No, I was challenging myself as a writer to see if I could write decent erotica. Is that a contradiction in terms? [Much laughter from group.]

Book Club: Okay, but put it in a different genre, like Danielle Steele, but don’t put it in those. Don’t mix the two.

Continue to Part Two: Book Club - Part 2

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