The past 5 days have been something of a saga. If you read my Stumbling Blox post on Goodreads.com, you might remember that this past weekend was going to mark my migration from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1. I had everything mapped out, everything planned and absolutely nothing went as expected. It all began when I ran a system-wide backup late Fri. afternoon. It went as expected and I was off to a good start – or so I thought.
That evening, I made a few minor changes to my files & on Saturday morning, I decided to do another system-wide backup in order for my back-up to reflect the current state of things. I started the back-up process & went to run a couple of errands. I was back home in less than an hour and the backup was done. Not a good sign since the thing usually takes 3 hours +/-. I restarted the application and this time around it took longer – like all afternoon and into the evening. Since this was well over twice the amount of time that a full back-up takes, I decided to investigate and discovered that absolutely nothing had been backed up. Rather than waste any more time, I decided to manually make copies of the important stuff. I finally went to bed around 1:00 AM.
The following morning, everything was ready to go and I began the migration by inserting the upgrade DVD and powering up. The installation reached the point where it asked for my product key but none of my keys worked. I decided to quit the upgrade, reboot and look in a few other places for the right key. That was the intention, anyway. I quickly discovered that the installation had changed things on my hard drive and now, I couldn’t log in. My Windows 7 installation DVD was MIA so there was nothing for it but to go to Staples & buy a fresh copy of Win 8.
Staples was out of stock so I had to go to BestBuy where I stood in a queue to check out and had the anti-theft alarm go off when I tried to leave the building. On my way home, I stopped at Jimmy John’s and ordered a ham sandwich to go. When I got home, I discovered that I’d been given the wrong order.
After lunch, things got slightly better and I was finally able to install the new operating system and began re-installing the world. 48 hours later, I had things the way I wanted them and set about getting my notes in order so I could resume writing. I’ve been assisting a small business upgrade from Win XP to new laptops, go wireless & move to a new location for the past month so Urban Mermaid has been on hiatus.
Well folks, part of my notes for the novel have vanished completely – not all of them, mind you – just some of the more recent stuff. How much is missing is unknown and I can probably reconstruct a lot of things from other sources. It’s what I don’t know is missing that worries me.
Remember when the music
Came from wooden boxes strung with silver wire
And as we sang the words, it would set our minds on fire,
For we believed in things, and so we’d sing.
Remember when the music
Was a rock that we could cling to so we’d not despair,
And as we sang we knew we’d hear an echo fill the air
We’d be smiling then, we would smile again.
Oh all the times I’ve listened, and all the times I’ve heard
All the melodies I’m missing, and all the magic words,
And all those potent voices, and the choices we had then,
How I’d love to find we had that kind of choice again.
There is a Top-40 phenomena known as the “One-Hit Wonder” – a band or singer who made a meteoric rise to the top of the charts with a song that winds up on everyone’s mind and everyone’s lips. You simply cannot wait to hear their next release … but you never do. If there is a follow-up song, it gets nowhere near cracking the Top-100 and the artist is all but forgotten save for an occasional mention in trivia games.
Up until now, S.K. Munt has been best known for her remarkable Fairytail Saga which includes a recently published Young Adult/New Adult prequel as well as a tetralogy of books concerning merfolk. While Ms. Munt is firmly rooted in the Paranormal Romance genre, the question that has been on many minds is whether she can move beyond the sea and write with equal passion in a different setting. After reading her latest novel, Unchained Melody, the answer to that question is an unequivocal “YES”. Although she stays within the genre of paranormal romances, the story carries Ms. Munt’s sense of desire, passion, and sentimentality into a new and provocative venue.
Mermaids Not Included
Both childhood and adolescence are a perilous passage in many respects and that includes friendship. To understand this, one need only attend a high school reunion. People who were best mates once upon a time will barely acknowledge each other’s existence when the class reassembles ten or twenty years on. Some friendships however, will stand the test of time despite the many missteps along the way. S.K. Munt’s paranormal tale of Sex, Love and Rock n’ Roll is a tale of a three-way friendship that carries on from third grade scrapes thru sock-hops and hormones and into adulthood.
The central characters consist of Hunter Marks, Ryan Weaver and Callie Clay and as the story opens, eight-year-old Callie has left her native Canada and settled in Horizon, Australia with her parents. An incident at the local swimming hole binds her inextricably with Hunter and Ryan who are already best mates. Callie is quite the tomboy and the three will spend the next eight years together, bound by friendship and eventually by the inevitable hormones that come as part of the adolescent package. Once those hormones begin to make themselves known, suddenly, Callie is not just ‘Callie’ anymore.
Aside from the shared memories of spending a childhood together, their common bond is music. While Callie does not aspire to be a performing musician, music is her life, flowing through her essence like a river. She envisions Hunter as destined for musical greatness and while Ryan has a wonderful voice and is a dab hand with a guitar, Callie views him in a in a different light. At the end of the day, Callie is attracted to both Hunter and Ryan and life has become way more complicated than the usual labyrinth of adolescence. The boys don’t have it any easier as each is torn between their unwritten code that one does not hit on a best mate nor do they snake one either and the certain knowledge that Callie and romance are combination too beguiling to pass up.
Remember when the music
Was a glow on the horizon of every newborn day
And as we sang, the sun came up to chase the dark away,
And life was good, for we knew we could.
Remember when the music
Brought the night across the valley as the day went down
And as we’d hum the melody, we’d be safe inside the sound,
And so we’d sleep, we had dreams to keep.
While it is somewhat unusual for a book to have a sound-track, Unchained Melody draws its inspiration from the rock n’ roll of the 1990’s. Although there are those readers who, having paid attention to music in that decade, will argue that it just isn’t the same now – as does the character, Hunter Marks – one and all should take note that the great golden age is never the present one. Each generation seems to have its own rock anthems and if the reader has trouble relating to some of the music mentioned in Ms. Munt’s story, they are free to substitute music from their own time. For this reviewer, that would be Layla by Derek and the Dominos … with the long version of the piano coda … cranked up until the windows of his dormitory room rattled. There is, however one aspect of music history upon which most readers agree and Unchained Melody gives the most logical and rational explanation for that dark and lamentable time in human history known as The Disco Era.
Those who are familiar with Ms. Munt’s Fairy Tail Saga will readily attest to the author’s amazing skill at writing steamy scenes involving the central characters. These are not the obligatory sex scenes that infest much of today’s romantic fiction for adults. Instead, the steam is an integral part of the plot as she takes you from the opening scene to the close of the story where there may or may not be a happily ever after. In Unchained Melody, S.K. Munt is more than deserving of the title “Queen of Steam” and those who enter the realm of her creation would do well to consider cold showers or long walks as a relief from the pervasive sexual tension. As in her Fairy Tail Saga, there is a romantic triangle comprising the central characters. Whereas in The Marked Ones, the triangle is an antagonistic one between the competitors for the hand of Ivyanne Court, the triangle featured in Unchained Melody seems to be more of a friendly rivalry between two best mates. Both Hunter and Ryan somehow instinctively know that one or the other will be the ultimate victor and each will manage to show up when the other is about to make time with Callie. For her part, Callie is seriously attracted to both of them and apparently for different reasons though her attraction is strong for one as well as the other.
Unchained Melody by S.K. Munt is a story that begs to be read more than once. It encapsulates the awkwardness of learning that one of your best friends is very possibly going to be your lover as well as the shock of learning just who and what you really are. You find that you have a mission to fulfill and it’s going to be tough to walk away once it’s completed. What makes it even harder is the fact that you are going to have to ultimately walk away from everything and both your friends and lovers will be swept downstream in the river of time. In and of itself, Unchained Melody is a hard novel to walk away from.
In the final analysis, readers will be left to ponder which of Ms. Munt’s stories is the best of all. The answer, though, is quite simple: All of them and none of them. The author was already off to a strong start with The Marked Ones and has decidedly hit her literary stride with Unchained Melody. Some of her readers will favour one book over the others but the simple truth is that they are all good – each in their own individual way. Consistency is a tough road for a rock n’ roll band to follow and doubly so for an author. It is the opinion of this reviewer that Ms. Munt’s best story is yet to be written. In a world of formulaic fiction where the plots of paranormal romances seem to be interchangeable and the names of characters are the only variable, her works stand out as something new, something different, something that calls with a siren’s voice.
Those readers who take their romantic fiction with a bumper helping of mythology will want to follow S.K. Munt in her ascendency. Not every novel that she’ll write will be about mermaids or muses but if she continues her present course, this reviewer predicts that each story will be an exciting and quite often, a moving read. All hail the Queen of Steam!
Standing on your mother’s porch,
You told me that you’d wait forever…
Oh, and when you held my hand,
I knew that it was now or never!
Those were the best days of my life…
Follow S.K. Munt on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/skmunt?ref=br_tf or on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7159848.S_K_Munt/blog
Buy Your Own Copy of Urchin
[boxify cols_use =”4″ cols =”14″ position =”none” box_spacing = “auto” padding =”10 15 13 27″ background_color =”aliceblue” background_opacity =”80″ border_width =”2″ border_color =”blue” border_radius =”10″ height = “270”]