Dead Magic, An Ingenious Mechanical Devices novel


Dead Magic is a superb read. Mostly because it doesn’t stop moving once you start it.

Kara Jorgensen decided with her fourth novel to revisit characters she’s already told one story for. Emmeline and Immanuel were last seen in The Winter Garden, but in Dead Magic, Jorgensen fleshes them out a little more and explores what comes after a life changing event.

Dead Magic is different from the ones that came before, at least for me, because it was more…thrilling. There were parts that had my heart racing because I had to know what happened next. The pacing was faster and drew me in more quickly. Jorgensen’s novels have always had an air of mystery about them, but this one really kept me guessing until the end.

What I like about Jorgensen’s steam punk novels is not only that they mix past, present and future with a little science fiction, but that they deal with timely social issues. Immanuel and Adam’s love story is one that you would think and hope doesn’t resonate today: two people of the same sex hiding their feelings for fear of what society has to say. But it’s still true. There are people today who hide what they feel and who they love because there are those who tell them what they feel and who they love isn’t right. And Jorgensen captures the confusing thoughts and feelings, the stress of having to check everything one says, and the anguish at “being single” even though one is in a committed relationship really well.


She makes it normal – which it is – and that’s something society sorely needs.

Her female characters are also very real. Society tells writers to create female characters that are strong because strong female characters are sorely lacking. But I like the argument that tells authors to make real women. Real women aren’t always strong; sometimes they are weak. Real women aren’t always right; sometimes they make poor judgments and deserve to be told they’re wrong. Real women make mistakes and real women need help. Real women also want to fall in love and have someone fall in love with them. Emmeline is just such a character. She’s real. She’s not perfect. She makes mistakes. You don’t always like her. And for me, reading a female character that is flawed, but still tries, is more important than a strong female character. Because flaws are what make us stronger.

I recommend Jorgensen’s novels for the entertainment, yes, but also because they offer so much more. And that’s what novels should do.

The Earl and The Artificer, An Ingenious Mechanical Devices novel

The Earl and The Artificer by Kara Jorgensen


Where to begin? The Earl and The Artificer is Kara Jorgensen’s third Ingenious Mechanical Devices novel and she successfully brings it once again. Jorgensen weaves together a tale of science fiction, history and mystery, and brings to life characters that are painfully real. Reading these books is a wonderful experience because Jorgensen doesn’t conform to literary conventions. She simply wants to tell a really good story. And with the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series, she’s managing to do just that.

The Earl and The Artificer finds Eilian and Hadley married and on their honeymoon. The scene is set in a time and place that brings to mind BBC’s Downton Abbey, but with more adventure and intrigue (at least in my opinion). Eilian and Hadley are trying to navigate their new stations in society without bothering the other with their troubles. And to add to their already full plate, they find themselves in the middle of a small town scandal and family drama.

The thing about Jorgensen’s writing, apart from the fact that it’s so unique, is that she writes her characters so well. Eilian is fighting the rules that come with his new title (something he really never wanted) and exploring his sexuality – something that most male characters never explore. It is taken for granted that humans feel the same things emotionally. The reality is, we don’t, and minorities are still under represented in every facet of entertainment today. Except in Jorgensen’s novels. She doesn’t seem to mind exploring new territory for her characters. She digs deep and explores the reasons why her characters are the way they are.

Hadley is my favorite character by far. I like that she’s not some Victoria’s Secret model – that she’s kind of plain looking, but beautiful to Eilian because of her courage, strength and head strong attitude. I also like that she’s an engineer; that she’s smart and capable of keeping pace in a man’s world. More and more, we are finding strong female characters in entertainment, but the thing about Jorgensen’s Hadley is that she is also a little unsure and weak, and Jorgensen allows us to see that side of Hadley’s character. Hadley is dealing with the insecurities that every woman faces at least once at some point in her life.

While we don’t see Adam and Immanuel in this novel, we are introduced to another well rounded male character – Nadir. I could see Nadir popping up in another novel somewhere along the line mostly because he has so much personality and there are so many corners to his story that Jorgensen left unexplored.

I do wish, and hope, that Eilian’s family drama will be explored a little more later on. I was intrigued by the character Randall Nash, and felt that his personality and actions were unexplained. Jorgensen does leave Eilian in the midst of working out his complicated place in his family, so maybe she plans to delve a little deeper later on. This reader certainly hopes so, if only because she’s curious and a bit nosy.

The Earl and The Artificer is a strong third installment to Jorgensen’s list of titles. She paints an easy-to-follow story, but manages to keep you guessing until the end. Her vocabulary is strong and colorful. Her characters are vibrant and relatable. Her imagination is fascinating. I totally enjoyed this book. It made my commute to work a lot more enjoyable. And I look forward to whatever Jorgensen has planned for the future.

The Earl and The Artificer, Ingenious Mechanical Devices novel will be available on Amazon on January 30, 2016.

Prince Charming is Hiding. He Can Stop That Nonsense.

you can come out now!
i’m done playing!
i’m serious.
game’s over.
you won.
you held out the longest.
i admit defeat.
where are you?
why won’t you come out?
do i seriously have to keep waiting?
keep playing?
not cool, man.
other people have stopped playing,
stopped waiting.
they’ve moved on with their lives.
why must you keep me waiting?
do i really have to keep looking for you?
waiting for you?
i’ll take your silence as a yes.
i hope you know that i hate you.
(not really, but kinda).
(mostly because you’re making me wait).
(and i’m not good at waiting).
tell me again how long Sleeping Beauty had to wait?
wait – i don’t want to know,
it will just make it harder
to wait.
i’m just gonna keep doing my own thing.
hope that’s ok.
can’t stop living, Prince Charming,
just because you
are taking
your sweet ass time
getting your shit together.
i hope you know
that when you finally show up,
i’m gonna kick your ass,
for making me wait.
don’t you know you should never keep a lady waiting?
oh, who am i kidding?
i’m no lady.
i’m the damn queen.
so get it together man.
because i can’t promise
that i’ll still be here.
and bring chocolate.
ain’t nobody got time for damn flowers.

Missed Connection

He’s never before had a “missed connection.” Hell, until that morning, he thought that a “missed connection” was literally missing the connecting plane or train that would get you to your destination.
But as he was explaining his walk to work to his coworker, he learned that like everything else these days, “missed connection” had a double meaning.
“Missed connection,” his buddy explained, “is when you share a moment with another person, but don’t speak to them, or exchange numbers. It’s like…” Here his buddy trails off and gets lost in his thoughts. “You remember that time we were at that bar listening to that band?”
Could his buddy get anymore vague?
“That time when we had those insanely hot chicken wings and I nearly puked on your shoes?”
Oh. THAT time.
“Yeah…” he says slowly because he’s not really sure where this conversation is going anymore.
“Didn’t I tell you about the really hot girl I saw there? She was by the stage and rocking this little black shirt. We just locked eyes when I was at the bar. And we just stared at each other. She smiled and I smiled and it was like I could see my future with her. But then the moment was broken when some dude walked in front of her and we lost sight of each other. I couldn’t find her after that. Missed connection. Get it?”
He stares at his coworker and lets the story sink in.
“Yeah…I get what you’re saying. So this morning…?”
“Yep.” His coworker pops the p, and turns back to his emails. “Missed connection.”
He turns back to his own computer and thinks back to his walk to work.
He doesn’t normally walk the 10 blocks to his building, but he had woken up feeling groggy and in need of fresh air rather than the stuffy air of the subway. So he had bundled up against the cold and set out.

And as soon as he stared fighting the crowds that were already clogging up the city sidewalks, he remembers why he stopped walking to work.
But the cold air is biting and oddly refreshing and he lets himself sink into the thumping music playing through his headphones as he walks along, taking in all the skyscrapers and tourists posing for pictures or stopping to gaze at the Christmas windows already on display.
In fact, he’s so lost in the music and the sights, that he almost mows down a girl who has stopped literally in the middle of the sidewalk. He feels irritation itching under his skin as he skirts around her, but when he turns his head back to throw her a dirty look, he himself slows to a stop to gaze at her.
She’s really not something to look at, he thinks, and yet, she has captured his full attention. He can’t decide what it is that is so striking about her. Is it the warm looking floppy hat pulled low down over her ears that is bright pink and pale orange? Is it the fact that she is wearing a coat that looks like it swallowed her whole and her nose is bright pink from the wind? Or is it the way that her eyes have lit up and her face has split into a smile that seems too happy for a Monday morning? Or is it the way her full attention is on some subway sign and she seems oblivious to the fact that the crowd of commuters has parted like the Red Sea around her?
This tiny girl wearing the pink hat and too big coat with bright eyes and a full smile and laser focus attention has taken his breath away and left him rooted to the spot.
And then he feels something in him soar when she turns her eyes away from the sign and they settle on him and she mouths “Oh my God” and seems to bounce a little on the spot. He doesn’t know what she’s so excited about, but she seems to be wanting to share her excitement with anyone. So he smiles back and for a fraction of a second before she flushes with embarrassment and hurries on her way, they grin at each other like they are sharing some state secret.
And he feels…good.
But then the moment is gone when she walks away from him like nothing had ever happened.
He hasn’t stopped thinking about her.
Has she thought of him?
Will he see her again?
What made her smile like that?
God, he thinks, as he starts answering emails, he hates missed connections.

Run, just run

when i run
i let my mind run away.
i let the worries
and the cares
and the fears
and the disappointments
melt away.
i don’t think
about anything.
like how much it hurts
(that you left me).
like how empty i feel
(since you took away the happiness).
like how confused i am
(since you didn’t really explain why).
like how angry i am
(because you hurt me).
like how tired i am
(of going around in circles).
i know that i need closure.
that i need to move on,
but i seem to be stuck.
so i run.
because at least running
let’s me shut down
for a little while.

Pet a dog. It’s good for your (mental) health

There is something to be said for petting a dog. This is a thought that has literally just occurred to me as I stroked my dog, Shadow’s, back and heard her sigh in contentment.
I read somewhere that petting a dog for 20 minutes a day could lower your blood pressure. I have no idea if this is actually true or not, but I know – or at least I think I know – that I feel calmer after I pet my dogs. I breathe a little easier, I can feel the tension wash out of my shoulders and jaw, and I feel myself find my center. So whether this fact of petting a dog and lowering your blood pressure it true or not, I’m going to keep petting my dog and relaxing because God knows petting a dog is cheaper than seeing a massage therapist.
Petting a dog is just so…satisfying. Maybe it’s because they don’t really ask to be petted. They just lay their head in your lap and look at you like they want to help but don’t know how. And we just pet them. And then they close their eyes and let out this tiny sigh like: yes. My Human loves me. My Human is home. All is right in the world. And maybe it’s because we know how much they are enjoying our petting, that we relax because we know that we are giving them comfort and love and that makes us feel better.
Have you ever hugged a dog? It’s not easy. They squirm and stretch out their paws like they’re pushing you away, and if you are my little dog, Shelby, you let out this kind of growly woof that means: put me down Human or I will wake you up at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow for this.
But hugging a dog isn’t like hugging another person where body parts get in the way and awkwardness ensues if one of you starts to cling just a little too long. Hugging a dog comes with no strings attached (although they will take that extra biscuit, if you don’t mind). Dogs may fight you on the hugging front, but they also seem to understand that you trying to suffocate them is a bizarre form of affection.
There is really nothing like a dog. After writing this, I think I’ll go snuggle with my 45 pound, skittish black lab/chow mix and hope she doesn’t think I’m trying to smother her. Because really, I’m just a little cold and needing some Shadow kisses right about now.