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.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Finders, Keepers?

The Read:  One of the delicious things about used book stores is finding new authors.  The books are cheap enough for this cheapskate to be willing to take a chance on buying -- even if it ends up on the trade pile before it's read.  The question:  "Will the book be a trader or a keeper?" adds a little excitement to the read.  --  I get the added the added value of a possible discovery.

So, the find: Caitlin Kittredge,  Night Life ... set in an imaginary place called Nocturne City where a war between weres, witches, and humans left a huge "non-functional" hole in the middle of a uber-planned community.  The MC is an isolated were who's a detective on the police force who has problems with her boss and colleagues.   So, what's new?  These are the minor nuisances.  Her real problem is a blood witch who's trying to raise a demon and has a were minion to do the serial killings needed for the offering. 

Kittredge has a nice lean style -- with the back story well contained by the action.  1) By the end of the first third of the book, we know she's "unpacked" were with family problems which don't all come from her being a were and why.  We also know she has problems on the job with both the power structure and colleagues.  2)  The middle third, laces murders with clues of who's doing what and reveals the bad guy as being more powerful, socially and occultly, than first thought.  [Personally, I thought he should be shown in action more than being referred too, but that's a quibble.]  3) The ending starts within the last 20% of the book and not only wraps the loose ends, but leaves lots going for the sequel ... including a developing love interest.

I suspect that this may have been one of those super-long drafts chopped into three novels.  Yeah, I'll probably read the sequel in spite of the YA novels waiting on the table and Beka, Terrier on order.

Web Notes:  Didn't really do much web browsing over the week-end.  Easter dinner was at my house so my back/hip creaked along between rests until I managed to get dinner on the table.  Way too much food, but the F2 units have their vegies all clean and ready to stuff in their lunch bags.  --  Doubt that, but I have my lunch vegies in a container waiting.

A couple New York Times articles did raise an interesting question that all writers need to answer.  Is writing fun?  Especially, liked the article about David Remnick, the editor of the The New Yorker, who wrote a book about Obama in his spare time.  Was he worried that editing a major magazine would get in the way of his book writing?  No.  (Coffee took care of that.)  

The guy worried about whether his curiosity would last long enough for him to get the info out of his head.  I guess he liked it enough to finish.  The article mentioned a book called "The Bridge".  [5 April 2010, the business section]

Progress:  Maren's still twisting in the breeze.  Oh, I've shifted words here and deleted words there and added words every where.  But, to what purpose?  Who knows?  Nothin's jelling yet. 

Got a rejection of a short story I'd written last year when I was tried on the "dictum" [that it helps to have sold short pieces to catch an agent's eye] would lead me.  I know I can't write short fiction -- though I've gotten some nice comments on rejected submissions, even for a couple flash fiction pieces.  Whatever, this rejector thought I had "great potential as a writer and shouldn't give up" but that I hadn't developed my villain's character enough.  Guess what?  She was right.  [At least, I think it was a she from the handwriting.]

One problem with writing Maren: I've been wallowing with my search for a villain to carry the story.  I've got my minor nuisances.  I've got my heros.  I've got my side-kicks.  Now I think I've found my friend-enemy villain sitting in a short story.  At least, I'm going to run with it and see where it takes me.

Trivia:  Easter happened with all sorts of jokes about lamb intestine soup.  [A Greek Easter delicacy.]   The hamburgers were great.  Something nice about getting the grill going in April.  My question: why do grill hamburgers taste so much better than pan burgers?
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