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I expressed my own sense of rootlessness in a character with similar feelings, only amplified. And that hurricane later showed up in my novel The Living Blood. On one level, your readers are daring you to scare them. A short prologue that introduces your supernatural element or gives them a tastes of the horror to come is a fine hook…but after that, slow down and take your time. Ground your story in the mundane aspects of life we all know and recognize…and then slowly begin to show your supernatural hand.

Also, give your characters—and your readers—time to breathe. One thrill-ride after another will desensitize them for the moments you really want to count. Slow down. Add some levity. A quiet dinner. A love scene.

My Soul to Keep

Then… gotcha! My challenge was to try to re-imagine familiar concepts and make them my own. In her last novel, Fledgling , Octavia E. Butler delved into vampire mythology with her own unique interpretation, drawing on her skills as a science fiction writer. If you want to write horror scripts, READ horror scripts. And Oscar-nominated scripts. And any quality scripts you can get your hands on. Watching the films is cool too, but I learned far more from reading the screenplays before and while viewing the final product.

So far, still on paper. In my imagination. Like most film projects, it fizzled out, awaiting a new home. My newest short story collection, Ghost Summer , is on sale now. The Between , my first novel, took a year. My Soul to Keep took two. I see the scenes unfold. I shed tears when I prick pain hidden in the imaginary world of my story.

At any time, especially before the all-important midway point, a long project seems to threaten to disintegrate into nothing but lost months and a failed project. It can happen. The summer was a brutal rush. Glazed eyes when I talked to my husband and 6-year-old son, since I was nowhere near them. My soundtrack of operatic climax music blasting in the house all day long, and in my headphones until late at night.

Now I miss the novel. And no editing will replicate the feeling of creating the scenes for the first time. The empty feeling always takes me a little bit by surprise. But to writers, our characters are absolutely real. We can touch the worlds we create. I could self-publish if I had to…. As days go on, the ghosts in my head will be replaced by daily living concerns.

All I need is a soundtrack. Heck, sometimes we forget their names!

Hardback Editions

Writing Blood Prophecy is a particular challenge in that regard because it is the fourth book in my African Immortals series that began with My Soul to Keep in The series follows the lives of mortals and immortals who have contact with Living Blood that can heal any ailment almost instantly, examining issues of life, loss and mortality. OK, so it was a long wait. My African Immortals novels always challenge me because of the fantasy aspect, historical research and character quirks related to their incredible longevity.

They were mostly off-stage during the first book, but I actually took my characters to the colony in The Living Blood. What is their history? What are their desires? How can I humanize them? My essays will be very similar to the writing exercises I assign my MFA students and coaching clients. And why not? Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Sign me up! Sign up and never miss an opportunity for a free gift or webinar for writers. Tananarive Due Writes. Skip to content. Home About Tananarive Due. Share this: Twitter Facebook Email Print.

Like this: Like Loading There are usually reasons for his actions, although there are a couple of times where he really has no excuse for being that numb. The immortality factor was very intriguing, although this book only covers a very small part of what the immortals can do. There are glimpses that there is more to some of them than just healing and living forever, and I hope and suspect that more of this is revealed in the next book.

This novel can be very dark and it certainly contains some content that some may find objectionable. I would not recommend it to anyone who has difficulty reading about violence toward pretty much anyone, including animals and children, for this reason. It has a truly shocking and tragic ending, although Due does foreshadow it so readers are somewhat prepared for what is coming and even puts a little bit of a happy spin to a very devastating event.

There was one minor problem I had with the novel other than some moments of character stupidity, and that was the tendency to tell a lot instead of showing. The enjoyment I got from reading it far outweighed any issues I had with it, though, and I mostly ignored them while I was racing through the novel I had to add mostly after remembering I did yell at David once or twice for being a moron. Despite some flaws with character believability and too much telling, My Soul to Keep had me glued to the pages from beginning to end wanting to know what became of Jessica and her immortal husband.

The end promises even more exciting developments and I am very much looking forward to the next book, which I have already ordered. Where I got my reading copy : I bought it. See 1 question about My Soul to Keep…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details.

More filters. Sort order. Nov 08, Victoria rated it it was ok Shelves: urban-fantasy. More of a 2. I want to begin by saying that this is a very well written piece of urban fantasy. It has a broad scope and the story effectively wanders through time from ancient history to modern times well semi-modern like the 90's so there is a bit of a disconnect there.

The plot is interesting and it is always nice to see these type of stories told authentically about African American people and their lives, worlds, and experiences. The story involves Jessica a young journalist and her husband Dawit who was a successful professor, linguist, and music historian before setting aside his career to take care of their daughter and focus on their family.

This novel has been compared to Interview With the Vampires which may make some people think that it has vampires in it. There are no vampires here, instead the supernatural element of this novel comes from ancient Ethiopian men who found a way to attain immortality. The comparison to Interview With the Vampires I think has to do with the span of history that is covered in telling the story, and witnessing the lives of these ancient men and their deeds. The comparison also comes from experiencing how having such long lives and being able to witness history unfolding may change a person and give them a skewed morality and sense of justice.

My problem with this book is that I cannot find myself remotely interested in the characters, their lives, or their internal situations. The story is interesting but they are not, and since I have to experience the story through them I really had trouble making myself read this book and finish it. Partially this had to do with the fact that both main characters are not very sympathetic to me.

Dawit is selfish and divorced from any type of love for the world beyond his own little circle. Despite this, he is not really strong or convincing enough to be a villain either. His wife Jessica, on the other had, is kind of wishy-washy and flat. She is a young, fresh, and intelligent lady with her whole life ahead of her and lots of great opportunities coming her way in her career. Despite all of this she has a vague sense of dissatisfaction from the beginning but is never really strong enough to commit to a course of action without one of the people in her life pushing her to do something.

As I stated at the beginning of this review, the book is good and the premise and plot are interesting. The characters are what made it difficult for me to like this book much and in the end caused me to give it the low rating I did. I did like the authors writing style so while I know I will never revisit this series again, I may read some of her other works in the future.

May 20, Lou rated it it was amazing. My name is Dah-west. I was born in what is now called Ethiopia nearly five hundred years ago. I am an immortal. There are fifty-eight others like me. Our blood lives forever, and our bodies heal. We do not age. We were not born this way, and our condition is not genetic.

We underwent a Ritual. We do not have extraordinary strength, and it is not our purpose to harm others. We are merely a race of scholars. Most of us choose not to mingle among mortals, but sone of us do. We love, and we have fam My name is Dah-west. We love, and we have families. I have had wives and children before. I have outlived them or been forced to abandon them.

My Soul to Take

We have a Covenant that forbids us to revel our truth. This is a highly recommended read, the story really flows well, immersing and thrilling. Stephen king was right on the cover when je said it is a similar story to interview with the vampire. These are not vampires but I feel more interesting beings of everlasting life I am anticipating with optimism how the story unfolds in the next novel. This writer is good you can really feel the emotions and intrigue in the words she uses. Going to try and track down her second book as it's hard to find.

July update. There is a third book coming out September and this time with Simon and Schuster publications so should be easy to get the third book in the stores. View all 4 comments. The things we do for love, right? Dawit is a five-hundred-year-old immortal who has loved and lost three wives: one in Ethiopia hundreds of years ago, one who was killed in slavery times, and one he was forced to abandon by his brethren in the s. But never had he loved a wife the way Dawit loved Jessica.

My Soul to Keep Summary & Study Guide

One could say he was obsessed with her. Young, brash, and professional, Jessica considered Dawit almost a gift from God, and could never fathom just what this wise older professor saw in her. Jessica's family, however, was concerned by Dawit's monopolization of her time, and especially by his insistence that Jessica quit her job and just stay at home with him. There was something off about Dawit, but they couldn't put a finger on it.

In the way of his "people": the other immortals, it was unwise to become so attached to mere mortals, and absolutely forbidden to reveal the secrets of their brotherhood. But at what cost? Faced with the directive to leave Jessica and their daughter Kira, and to come "home" at once, Dawit faces the emotional dilemma of his extremely long life. Can he leave this woman he loves almost more than life itself?

If not, what's the alternative? And how far will Dawit go to keep the truth about him and his immortal brethren a secret? I rarely do this in a review, but in the interest of Truth and Fairness, I'll have to semi answer one of the above questions. How far will Dawit go???

Too danged far, that's for sure. Dawit committed an act so atrocious to me that I actually put this book down for almost a year. And I was mad at my daughter for telling me this was a Good Book. If I hadn't committed to giving every book I sat aside another chance this one would still be sitting on my end table collecting dust.


I'm very glad I did. By delving further into My Soul to Keep, Dawit's motivation became more and more clear. He, and to a lesser extent Jessica, are such richly drawn, richly layered characters that you have to read the entire book to understand them fully. At the end I let out a deep breath, and a faintly whispered Wow.

And looked forward to the next installment in this series. View 2 comments. Oct 23, Jonathan Janz rated it it was amazing. I've been hearing the name Tananarive Due for several years, but I hadn't given her stuff a shot until this book. Man, have I been missing out. Here's the thing about Tananarive's writing: From the very first chapter until the very end of the book, you sense this marvelous combination of total authorial control and utter narrative abandon. The former sensation stems from Ms. Due's elegant, evocative prose; the latter arises from the jaw dropping unpredictability of the plot.

The Creepshow - My Soul To Keep (official video)

The writing is so st I've been hearing the name Tananarive Due for several years, but I hadn't given her stuff a shot until this book. The writing is so strong that you settle in, sure that you're in good hands, and while Ms. Due's hands are certainly sure, they're anything but predictable. You remember the first time Harry Potter rode the Knight Bus? That's how I felt reading this book. At times I went scooting along, smiling and enjoying the ride. At others I was careening out of control with no idea how or when events would stabilize. And safety?

Forget about it. This book is anything but safe. One twist near the end left my emotions reeling. That's what great writing can do. So to summarize, if you're in the mood for a beautifully-written, deeply shocking, emotionally affecting novel, this is the one for you.

If you're looking for a nice, safe story, you better look elsewhere. View 1 comment. Jun 27, Charlotte rated it liked it Shelves: women-and-nb-of-speculative-fiction. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If your mass-murdering immortal husband gives you sleeping pills don't take them!!!! I was going to read and finish this for Halloween Bingo , but since this is a DNF, it doesn't count towards the bingo.

I finally just gave up reading this after I realized that I didn't like either main characters, and the book pace was so slow, it was positively glacial. We find a man or is he? The man is sad to see that the woman has grown old by the way this is really stupid when the reveal shows who he is, shocker dude, people get old and th I was going to read and finish this for Halloween Bingo , but since this is a DNF, it doesn't count towards the bingo. The man is sad to see that the woman has grown old by the way this is really stupid when the reveal shows who he is, shocker dude, people get old and then kills her to put her out of her and his misery.

We then switch to a woman named Jessica who is awoken when she finds her husband is in a panic because their dog seems to be in distress. We find out a lot about Jessica pretty early on, she is selfish as the day is long. Instead of really seeming upset about the dog, she is upset that she was the one who put her husband off of calling the vet when he thought something was going on with their dog.

She's upset because her daughter is going to get upset and she doesn't know what she will do about that. And she's upset because she's going to have to get up and go to the work in the morning on very little sleep. Then the book switches to the man in the beginning called Dawit you would have to not be paying attention at all to realize who Dawit is and we get his struggle to be in the world with mere humans.

The book goes back and forth between Jessica and Dawit and you start to see a very sad pattern of both of them being selfish, neither one of them wanting to deal with other people and their problems really. There is a random murder thrown in and it didn't make any sense to me and all it did was make me dislike the character of Dawit a lot more.

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The writing seemed okay, I think the issue for me is that I didn't get a sense of these two characters at all. They were very flat. Even the secondary characters Jessica's mother and sister don't come alive. Though we do get Jessica judging her sister for not having a man in her life so she thinks her sister is just upset that Jessica has a husband and daughter. The flow wasn't great. We jump back and forth between Jessica and Dawit and we find out how Dawit came to become immortal.

Just take Jesus Christ, blood, and stir the plot. I was disappointed because this series has been recommended to me for a long time and I really hope to read this and finish it off since there are three more books. Sadly, I am going to pass on finishing this and starting any of the other books.

Jan 08, Shazzt added it. It took me a long time to get into this book. Partly because not a lot happens in the first two thirds of the story and partly because i found the female protagonist intensely annoying and worse, boring. Perhaps it is partly my fault. Jessica subscribes to the type of Christianity that sees god as a big Santa that will give her everything she asks for including miracles if she is "good" enough or prays hard enough and I find that a huge turn off in anyone. Plus, for an investigative reporter, It took me a long time to get into this book.

Plus, for an investigative reporter, she seems remarkably passive for much of the narrative. What I did like was the whole concept of the Life Brothers, immortals from Ethiopia, one of whom was the male protagonist. I found his story much more compelling and would have loved more detail on his life.