Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Bamboo Mirror and other stories

      I was doing some research for one of my favorite authors yesterday who wanted to use the words of two songs in her newest book which requires getting a copyright release. Please take note out there, you can't publish even a fraction of the lyrics except for critical or teaching purposes without infringing on the copyright of the author. I know many of you are authors so I know how much you want to protect your work. We need to support and protect those rights. Songs written after 1902 rarely fall into public domain if they are popular, since the copyright laws have been changed several times in the last four decades to extend the life of the copyright. But occasionally people sell their copyrights without knowing how important they are. For instance, The Beatles' manager had them sell off the copy rights of their early songs. Maybe you remember when some of those copyrights went up for auction. Michael Jackson outbid Paul McCartney for those rights and now Paul can't sing one of his most widespread hits, Yesterday, without paying someone else for the right to do so!
     What I really learned doing this research is how prolific some of these lyricists were. You should see the list of songs under Gershwin or under McCartney. Well, it put me to shame, since I haven't posted for almost a week! It's not that I don't have some books to share and an interview or two as well. It's just that I let election work and convention stuff get in the way. Not to fear. I am back with a collection for you.

The Bamboo Mirror
By Faith Mortimer
Published by Topsails Charter
Length 164 pages

From Amazon: AN ANTHOLOGY OF SHORT MYSTERIES ~ suspense/ghost/romance
   Mystery-suspense-thriller writer, Faith Mortimer warmly welcomes you to her short story collection, “The Bamboo Mirror” (previously published as “Echoes of Life and Love”). In three of the stories the reader is introduced to sleuth, Diana Rivers who features in Faith’s mystery thriller series. In “The Bamboo Mirror” each story has a unique setting, always with a twist in the ending.

My Take:
     First, I want you to know that this is a collection of short stories and only 60% of the book is short stories. The last 40% is a collection of first chapters of Mortimer's longer works. Before you think you don't get your money's worth, let me remind you that we all pay well over two dollars for a magazine that might have one or two articles we want to read in it. In this small book you get six short stories. It also gives you a taste of what the author is like in terms of style and story.
    Second, the stories are well written but the tie up fell short for me. Awwww, but the writing is captivating! And, having read many short stories in magazines like Woman's World and First, I find the tie up must meet with the expectations of most people. Several of these are just like the short mystery and romance stories found in these magazines. And did I say the writing was good? What I mean is, while I didn't think so much of the resolution in the first story, which was a 'mystery' without real mystery, I couldn't stop myself from reading the second story which was by far the best of this book. And then I moved on to the third, fourth, and fifth and before I knew it, I was done. 
      Far and away, the second story, The Bamboo Mirror, is the best. It is about a young Diana Rivers' first day at boarding school where she mets two young friends who, not only get her in trouble, but are not all they seem to be. This story, while predictable, had strong writing and a solid finish. The images from the book will stay with me for a long while as the descriptions painted scenes in complete detail without going in each minute piece in agonizing detail. It takes a talented writer to be able to complete a vidid scene in less than 100 words where others would take 500 or more.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves good writing.