Thursday, June 5, 2014

Second on the Right by Elizabeth Los

This week we have a special post for the promotion of Second on the Right by Elizabeth Los. 

Author Bio:
Elizabeth uses writing as therapy, her release from everyday stress. At night, after work and once the children are finally tucked in bed, for the fifth time, she sits at her laptop and lets her imagination flow.
Elizabeth has produced short stories, one of which will be published in an anthology. She’s had fun writing a Sherlock Holmes fan fiction story, A Case of Need, based on the BBC’s Sherlock. By July 2011, her first novel, Second on the Right, had been completed. She spent several years polishing the story in order to provide a high quality product to the public. Second on the Right is her first professional novel.

Author Links:
Twitter: @SantaFlash

Book Links:
ISBN-10: 1492340480
ISBN-13: 978-1492340485
eBook ISBN-13: 978-1310988455
Amazon: Coming May 9th!
Barnes & Noble:

Audio Excerpt:

(In case code doesn’t work) Actual Link:

Giveaway Embed Codes:


Here we stop for a quick lesson in nature.

Saltwater crocodiles can range from seven to nine meters long. The head is quite large, with a heavy set jaw that contains numerous amounts of teeth. A pair of ridges runs from its eyes down the center of its snout. The crocodile is covered in oval shaped scales like bony plates.

In Second on the Right, the crocodile is a particular species of saltwater crocodile considered to be extremely intelligent and sophisticated. Communicable noises consists of barks, ticks, hisses and growls.

A strong swimmer, it is not uncommon to see these crocodiles in open water very far from land. As is their nature, saltwater crocodiles hide in the water, exposing only the eyes and nose and are commonly found on the coasts of Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and India.

The ticks of the crocodile in Second on the Right are especially noticeable. No doubt it  was for this reason that the pirates likened it to the sound of a clock. Some might go so far as to say that the crocodile symbolizes death, lurking in the shadows, waiting as life’s years tick on.

Nah! It’s just a crocodile, a pawn used to satisfy Pan’s insatiable desire to torment Captain Hook.

Care to learn about the largest crocodile ever found? Take a look at this article from the National Geographic. A crocodile, named Lolong, was over twenty feet (over six meters) in length.

Second on the Right
Author: Elizabeth Los
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 506
Release Date: May 9th, 2014
Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review.

Spawned from an ancient promise, treachery and intrigue follow the protagonists through our world and one lost to the waves. Bound by an invisible bond, they are thrust into a fantastical world of pirates and demons.

James Benedict is a just man haunted by evil. Pushed to the edge, everything stripped from him, a new man arises . . . a man whose name strikes fear into the hearts of all who hear it: "Captain Hook".

Eileen Davis was a timid woman. Through a fateful cruise she finds herself in the company of the Captain of the Mistral Thief. With his guidance, and the meddling of the local barista, she eventually finds her inner strength.

Will the two of them unite through time to fulfill the promise of their ancestors or will tempers ignite leading all to failure?

True love's magic is not to avoid changes,
But to navigate them successfully.

It is often difficult to take on a classic story and give it a new twist. Is is especially difficult to tackle a story that has been redone more than once, and done well. Despite the challenges, I feel like Elizabeth Los did well adding something new to the timeless tale of Peter Pan, and this time traveling adventure on the high sea was worth the read in the end.

I'll be honest, Second On the Right had a lot to live up to in my book. I watched Disney's Peter Pan (1 and 2), the live action movie Hook with Robin Williams, as well as Finding Neverland and all the different Pixie Hallow movies with my sister. I've read the original story (although that was quite a while back), and seen so many twists on this story I have become a bit hard to impress when it comes to Peter Pan. Yet, I was won over in the end by this gradual transformation of the character Captain Hook, and the almost Folk Lore-ish take on Pan himself. I like retellings like this, to be honest. You can see where the story 'came from' but it has a fresh new element to it.

I like seeing Pan as a villain, honestly. He was always portrayed as this boyish hero ready to rescue children from the trials of adulthood. But this story shapes that into something more sinister, and the brainwashing carelessness is a great change from traditional avenues. I also like Eileen's part in the story. Hook finally has motivation, and someone fighting alongside him. While most stories turn Hook into this singular villain, this story allowed him to be human as well. 

Captain Benedict was interesting, but his place in the story felt a little confusing to me. He seems really important in the beginning, and then it just feels like it's accomplished, and he's gone. I wanted more resolution with him I guess. 

The time traveling aspect did create several questions for me I didn't feel were really answered by the end of the story. Maybe I just missed the wrap up somewhere. I was also confused by the poetry in the book and the way it suddenly appears and then ends again. Overall, just a few critiques, but overall a well-done story. 

Review Questions and Answers

1. Where did the poem segments come from? Did you write them all at once, or as you went along? What made you choose to add them?
The poems were actually just an experiment. I wasn’t sure how it would be accepted by beta readers, but I wanted a way to drop hints about what was going on. I treated them like a summary, separated from the story. I wrote them as I went along.

2. What made you choose Peter Pan? Did you ever feel intimidated tackling such a well known character like Captain Hook? How did you choose a modern 'starting point' for him (what made you pick James, his career, ect?)
I love Captain Hook, always have. When I first discovered the story, I was cheering for him. My love for this character isn’t the same as my fondness for Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is a character that I feel intimidated by and can’t imagine ever writing a story for him. But Hook, for me, is different. I felt he wasn’t justly served, especially with his portrayal in Disny’s Peter Pan.

I made him CEO of a shipping company for a few reasons: 1) He’s highly intelligent. If he can manage the Jolly Roger, surely he could handle a company. 2) I made it a shipping company as a nod to his captaincy of the Jolly Roger. 3) I named the company Just A Second, aka JAS, which was a nickname Barrie gave to Hook in the original story. Of course, in the original story, he also noted that “James Hook” was not his true name, but that no one knew what his true name was. That gave me enough room to work with and thus I named him James Benedict.

3. We see James as a thicker in this story, which seems to set him apart as a villain. The other pirates seem to just be pure ruthless. Is this something you drew from other sources or an idea you came up with as you went along.
I imagined that if he grew up a pirate, that would be all he knew. But if he had started somewhere else and was thrown into the pirate situation, he’d act completely different. Though Robert and James come from the same family like, they are nearly complete opposites in some respects. Was that due to upbringing, environment, time period, personality or genetics? That’s always been an interesting thought to me.
In Barrie’s story, there were some fearsome pirates, such as Cecco and Jukes. Even Starkey had to be a ruthless pirate. After all, he had attempted a mutiny against Hook, both in the original and in Second on the Right. In both instances, it didn’t end well for him.
I’ve seen all sorts of pirate movies and have read all sorts of pirate stories. Pirates range from pure evil or ruthless, or misunderstood (ha!). For the Jolly Roger crew, I wanted a typical pirate represented. But I needed James to stand out among them.

4. Where did the idea for Eileen come from, as well as Hook having a family?
I wanted a really flawed character. From that thought came Eileen. She only truly comes into her own when she is truly needed. Otherwise, she seems to fall back into her old habits.
As for Hook having a family, I had that idea from the very beginning. Why would Hook be so angry with Pan for cutting off his right hand? Yeah, it would be awful, but would he be so blinded by rage from that alone? I didn’t think so. I imagined there had to have been something more to it than just the loss of a limb. Hook must have had a family, at least a wife and perhaps a child, all of which was taken from him.

5. What made you shape Wendy and her brothers into such minor characters in the end?

Don’t shoot the author :)  Honestly, I never cared for Wendy or her brothers. So when I developed Second on the Right, I wanted to make it obvious that they weren’t anything special, that there were many more before and after them. One reader said they were amused by my portrayal of Wendy. Perhaps I was a bit too harsh? In Barrie’s story, when Wendy first takes in the sight of Hook, she isn’t afraid but ”entranced”. Thus, I wrote James as very tolerant of Wendy, but up to a point. There’s only so much a man can stand and even less when you factor in Hook’s temper.

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