Review: The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer

The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nanotechnological mythmaking

Starting out as a “conventional” dystopian cyberpunk novel, the story began to acquire a mythic depth as the key characters of Nell, Miranda and Hackworth entered the stage. I was swept inexorably into the parallel story lines of Nell and Princess Nell, each of which illuminated and impelled the other. This is a fantastic story that repays careful attention. If you buy the Kindle edition, be sure to include the audio book, which is narrated beautifully.

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What’s in a name?

I was making notes regarding the third book in my “Gypsy Dreamwalker” trilogy, and in the process of abbreviating the title realized that I could no longer take it seriously. “Lady of Light” reduces to “LoL.” That’s rather inauspicious for a dramatic novel.

I am therefore changing the name of the book to “The Diamond Angel.” I like that better, anyway, and it places the focus squarely on a certain personage to whom my Gentle Readers are introduced in the second book, “The God of Battles.” Now, “Diamond Angel” reduces to “D.A.”, but since a District Attorney is arguably at least as serious as any other supernatural being, I think I’ll stick with that. At least until something better comes along, anyway.

Meanwhile, work progresses. “The Explorer” is starting to look less like an independent story, however, and more like one thread in the woven fabric that is the third novel. It could be quite a bit longer than the second book! I don’t wish to lay out an enormous tome without careful thought, though. Let’s see how this shapes up. The first two novels were more definite in form, but the third one has proven more, ah, Mercurial. This is to be expected, however, since there are numerous threads, storylines, what-have-you, all of which beg to be explored and brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

No rest for the wicked


An explorer on an archaeological dig

About this time last year I was building toward the release of “The Soul Thief.” However, I was also working on its sequel, the just-published “The God of Battles,” and this year is no different, as I’m hard at work on the next story. It’s actually going to be a series of stories, acting as a “bridge” between Book Two and the final novel in the trilogy, tentatively entitled “The Lady of Light.”

I had started the stories as novellas, as I could not see how each one could fit within a shorter format. However, as work progressed, I realized that I did not want a long break between the Books. These “bridge” stories do not put Angela and her pals front-and center, after all, and they are ultimately the stars of this series. I’ve decided, therefore, to release the next stories as a short-story collection. I have considered publishing the stories in small groups, perhaps purely in e-book form as a serial. Once they’re all done, an omnibus in both e-book and print editions would complete the bridge.

The next story’s working title is “The Explorer.” I might wind up with a more imaginative title, but as the name suggests it is about an explorer. ‘Nuff said!

“The God of Battles” is alive!

The God of Battles cover image“The God of Battles” is available in paperback and Kindle editions worldwide! The second installment in the “Gypsy Dreamwalker” series, this continues the story of Angela and Cassandra begun in the first book, “The Soul Thief,” which garnered rave reviews on and Goodreads.

For those living in northern California, stop by Tammie’s Books in of “The God of Battles”of both novels, as well as “Poems de Terre,” the poetry collection I co-authored with my partner, Rachel Anderson. For everyone else, you can find my Amazon author page here:

Dave Menefee’s author page

From the back cover of “The God of Battles”:

War is Hell. Especially when it’s a War in Heaven.

Dr. Angela Cooper, half-Romani psychiatrist and psychic healer, is opening a mental health clinic in Oakland. Specializing in patients with PTSD, she wishes to use her healing talent to make her part of the world a better place. When she meets Simon Fenway, a traumatized war vet, she learns that the world has other ideas.

“Your power awakens many sleeping things.”

So warns the spirit of her dead Teacher. Soon, old Romani sorcery and reawakened antediluvian spirits embroil her in an Otherworldly War between godlike powers that threatens to spill over onto Earth. Is Angela ready to enter the battlefield of the mind to save her patient?

The God of Battles coming April 14th, 2015

My new novel, “The God of Battles,” will be available on April 14th! It will be available shortly for preorder on the Kindle bookstore at I am planning a signing for the following Saturday, the 18th of April, at Tammie’s Books in Weaverville, and will have another signing at Northern Delights coffee shop soon afterward.

It’s been only a year since I started working on this book, but it feels longer! That’s how it often is with complex projects.

Look here for an update when the Amazon Kindle link goes live!

Book Trailer on a YouTube Channel

I finished (or should I say, abandoned) my new book trailer for “The Soul Thief” and have uploaded it to the YouTube channel connected to my G+ account here:

And here’s the video itself!

Job #1: The God of Battles, line edits

This evening I begin the task of applying line edits to the manuscript for “The God of Battles.” My editor, as usual, went above and beyond the call of duty and gave me invaluable feedback regarding several key themes, so although I have relatively fewer line edits, I have some head-scratching and content adjusting to do to make up for it.

Once I send back this round, we go back and forth a bit more, and then it’s off to the proofreader (or more than one, depending on how empty my wallet feels), and then… well, Gentle Reader, I will announce a publication date soon.

In the meantime, other projects will get little or no attention, so the Book Trailer will have to wait, as will my novellas “The Explorer” and “The Artist.” But they will be done. Rest assured.

Book Trailer #1 Coming Soon!

I’m teaching myself how to shoot and edit video. Because I learn by example, I’ve chosen to create a book trailer for “The Soul Thief,” using Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X (as well as Motion for some SFX). In common with most of the book trailers I’ve seen, I’m using minimal footage, relying primarily on effects, titling, and sound. That said, I have some clips I shot with two friends who are playing the parts of Angela and Cassandra; I am very grateful to them for their enthusiastic help!

Today, I spent a bit of time video editing, playing with basic effects, and experimenting. I bounced my sound track (yet to be mastered) and pulled that into the video project to see how it’s going. Right away I realized that I need to do something with the background, so I’m going to incorporate a still from the book cover, minus the shadowy figure (howdy, Mr. Soul Thief), scaling it up slowly as the trailer progresses. Everything should play on top of that; I’ll adjust opacity, brightness, etc to make sure things pop out as needed.

When it’s done, I’m publishing it to YouTube with suitable fanfare!

Time’s running out, though. Next Tuesday I will discuss my line edits for “The God of Battles,” after which I’m going to be heads-down to get that pushed toward completion.

Pitch Perfect Pick!

I’m extremely pleased that “The Soul Thief” has been chosen as a Pitch Perfect Pick by Underground Book Reviews. The UBR, as their “About” page says, “puts a spotlight on the emerging world of independent, e-publishing and self-publishing.” Aside from my personal reasons, I appreciate their mission because they’re providing a crucial element in the ecosystem of New Publishing: thoughtful, critical reviews.

Whether or not “The Soul Thief” is chosen to be reviewed, I am satisfied that the book has received an element of recognition. As part of my preparation for the launch of “The God of Battles,” I’m going to keep pushing ST out there.

Mr. Miscellaneous

I’ve always been a bit frenetic in my interests. I used to regret this lack of focus and would struggle to keep from becoming distracted by the next glittering thing, but inevitably my struggle would end in failure. Now I have come to accept this as a facet of how my creative mind works. It’s all part of the lesson to trust my muse: if I follow her, my inner muse, she rewards me with greater inspiration and joy. She merely expects that I respect her and the work that she inspires me to produce.

The latter therefore implies that, though I’m easily distracted, I must follow through when possible. This has proven to be easier in some ways than I expected, in that if I abandon a project for a time, I will return to it if I simply relax and avoid becoming too emotionally attached to it.

So now I’m working on several projects:

  • “The God of Battles” is at the line editor now; I’m an ecstatic worry-wart
  • My novella has taken a gorgeous turn into darkness; I’m chronicling the disintegration of my character’s mind and, for perhaps many reasons, I am enjoying this
  • the book trailer for “The Soul Thief” is moving right along. In fact, I’m about to go record some voice-overs and creepy sound effects
  • the rules for the game of “Theurgy” are once more getting some TLC
  • my studies in filmmaking are filling me with yet another burst of excitement, particularly regarding the notion of no-budget DSLR-centric moviemaking

I expect the novel, novella and book trailer projects to come to fruition this year. The game rules are somewhat likely to be completed, and if I keep my interest in filmmaking I will start producing shorts for distribution via YouTube here and on Facebook. Let’s see if my muse approves!