Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Making the Deplorable Undead Acceptable

Recent Reads:

Still thinking about a day in the life of Anita Blake as Laurell K. Hamilton depicts it in Dead Ice. Actually, it's several days, but who's counting.

This time around, zombies are the center of attention in stead of the problems caused by multiple sex partners. I especially liked the concept of an honorable zombie as a plot twist as she seeks the origins of zombie porn videos. Our favorite corpse raiser's powers are growing stronger which generates some interesting problems.

Well crafted book. Hamilton keeps the pieces of Blake's world in sync. I especially liked the way old series characters were brought to the fore. You can read a sample and more in-depth reviews on:

Kindle      or      Nook

[No I don't get any money if you click.]


Writerly Things

Writers, want to sell more of your books? Silly question, huh. You might take a look at The Savvy Writers blog on the myths about selling books on social media. Lots of good information there.


Wading Through a Dystopian World

Wish the food delivery system didn't upset my moral values. No, I'm not planning on becoming a vegan soon--But...

Read an article in the New York Times [print] food section recently that gave a break down of what the various "humane" labels mean. Seems an 180 pound pig has less than 12 ['3x4'] square feet to not move around in. Don't think my butt or legs would fit in those dimensions.


My Writing Rut

Transferring the edits of On the Run's going well. While there's a lot of red ink on the pages, most of the edits make sense. Also learned some things. Seems the connotations of the word "bitch" have changed over time. Guess it's much more insulting now than when I was a teen. Live and learn.

Did come up with some new insults though. What do you think of "rageholic"? Harpy and old bag just didn't seem to do the trick in describing one character, though I use them too.

Still, haven't quite decided what to do when I get the edits transferred. Will probably do the self-publish thing, but I have a nagging desire to shop the story. I'd like to think it was worth at least a shot at the minor leagues.

Then, there'are my Trapper Tremaine stories. Got a nice start on a maybe novella. I'm thinking I like the idea of going back and writing short stuff.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Survivng Reading Doldrums

Yay! I finished a book I started -- E. J. Cooperman's Spouse on Haunted Hill. As always, the humor kept the mayhem churning even though the body remains off scene. Can't have a murder mystery without the body, even in a cozy.

Allison, the owner of a haunted guesthouse, must rescue her ex-husband's [The Swine] from gang-like collectors who are unhappy with an iffy investment deal. They want their money back or maybe an implied pound of flesh. While Allison would prefer to let The Swine reap his just desserts, the needs of her daughter for her father trumps her druthers. Of course, the resident ghosts help solve the mystery with their many talents. Sounds cut and dried, but Cooperman's a master of characterization and plot twists.

I've read many books in this series and was sort of dismayed when so many loose ends were neatly tied up at the end. Maxie, the truculent ghost, even got married to her ghostly boyfriend. Then, read that there are two more books in the series when I when looking for the links. With Maxie's off on her honeymoon, I'm wondering who'll provide the vinegar to counter the cozy sweetness in the next book.

See more reviews and comments.


Am wondering why why I didn't laugh out loud when reading Berk Breathed's new Bloom County comic on Facebook. Am sure laughing while I read my Christmas present, a compilation of the strips. I snort and snurggle so much my old man keeps asking what's wrong with me.

If you missed the new series and/or miss the gang after a 25 year absence you can try this Facebook link.


Writerly Stuff

Like covers? The Literary Hub just did a blog on the best book covers chosen by professional designers. If you write, you should take a look so see what professionals think. 

Personally, I thought some were "busy" and "hard to read". If I have time, I might go to Amazon and see what the sales figures were.  After all, "they" say: the quality of your cover influences your sales.


Haven't been pushing on my writing. My critique group isn't going to meet until mid-month so Pissing at the Green Onion is sitting. Did get some 2000+ words on another Andor story started ... two disjointed segments in the computer and lots of sticky notes. Not going to worry about them until tomorrow.

Monday, December 19, 2016

What Keeps You Reading???

Here a Book, There a Book

Am wondering ... about the books I started pile. Not the to-read pile, which is growing, but the books I started and put down to read again ... whenever. At last count, there're eight of them in various stages of completion. 

The one I finished last? Neil Gaiman's Stardust, the story of a feckless lad who grows up during a quest to bring his lady love a fallen star. I picked it up last weekend and finished it in three days. Written in the classic fairy tale style, I enjoyed the sly humor of the piece as well as Gaiman's inventiveness in using the standard motifs. Well worth reading. But you probably already know that. It's been around for a while as the various covers tell you.

You can take a look on Amazon and Nook.

So, I finished Stardust midweek. Did I pick up one of my already started books? No. I'm reading Darynda Jones' The Curse of the Tenth Grave

Am wondering if you hop, skip, and jump through your reading pile. 


On my writing front,  the content editor has On the Run. Yeah, I finally got all the critique and beta edits collated into the draft. 

Other progress, finished Pissing at the Green Onion, a short story meant to be a freebie sometime or other. Also, got a couple pages into a post-disaster Andor story set during the times the Kingscourt established its rule over the western lands. Yeah, both There Be Demons and On the Run happen on Andor's west coast. After all, I'm a California valley girl -- Central Valley, that is. For sure.

May seem silly to have a cover so early [My critique group isn't going to be looking at it until January.], but some people seem to think it helps with the writing to have a working cover.


Writerly Things

Colorado Writers have a wonderful marketing tool in the Ultimate Pitchfest. If you're a writer having problems with your queries, they offer digital lessons on how to create a perfect pitch. Again, having a pitch while you're editing, can help to keep you focused on your story line even if you don't have a manuscript ready to shop.

On the Run won't be ready in time to shop there. [They do Skype pitches to good agents.] But I'm going to be doing the digital learn to pitch workshop soon.


Oh, Happy Holidays All
Hope you celebrate several during the holiday season.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wandering in My Make-Believe Worlds

I'm Back ... Maybe

Has anybody out there noticed I've been playing hookie?
First, both me and my old man have been having health issues -- more chronic than critical -- but energy sapping. More important, I think, is that I got tired of writing book reports. Never fear. I've been buying and reading books. More important, I've been re-reading favorites. Charlaine Harris' Midnight series.

For the record: I can't wait for the NBC series to appear. At least, I think, it's appearing on commercial TV since I refuse to pay for cable when I only watch the weather and PBS News Hour and, maybe, 60 Minutes, though the new crew is flat compared to the old standards.

 The Writing Front 

 One thing I have been doing is writing -- something I enjoy as much as reading.

"On the Run" has progressed through beta-reading and is almost through the first re-writing. Lots of backstory has been eliminate, like 2000 plus words. Yeah, other things were clarified so it still reads at about 85,000 words. Only about 50 pages to go, if I can get out of my post-election fog.

Hope to have the re-write done by next week. Then, content edits. My slot is already reserved. 


Magical Thinking

Have you woken up from the election nightmare yet
 -- or, are you jumping for joy?

My thought on the election: I mourn for the relevant facts lost. I have the curious habit of accepting facts until they are proved wrong. It's not quite the scientific method, but close since I'll admit to an emotional bias -- the elites are up to "no damn good" -- as defined by: "being most concerned for their own self-interest".

So, my chuckles.

My biggest concern during the election was for the fate of the Supreme Court. Then, I read that 10% of college graduates think Judge Judy is a member of that august institution. Granted, Judge Judy might be a Ruth Bador Ginsburg look-a-like, but ????????
{Does "WTF" fit in here?}

Then, there are all those liberals taking cold comfort from Trump's promise to spend a billion on infrastructure. Granted, things look hopeful since maybe around 75% of city big infra-structure ballot measures passed. I'm waiting to make sure Trump considers crumbling bridges, not golf courses, as infrastructure.