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.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Series Failure

The Read ...
What do you do when the subsequent books in a series leave you lukewarm?  

Over the weekend, I read German writer, Kai Meyer's The Water Mirror, the first of his YA Dark Reflections trilogy.  The book was filled with adventures -- starting with an escape from an orphanage to an apprenticeship that turned into a jump into danger to greater danger as the magician pharaoh of Eqypt conquers the city of Venice, using mummies of the dead he exhumed from the other countries he conquered.  

Set in an alternative world, Meyer gives fantasy readers of number of different paranormal elements not usually seen in American ficton.  A mirror of water (that never spills) instead of glass.  Intelligent mermaids.  Living stone lions (symbol of Venice).  A magical Flowing Queen who had used the waters of the canals to save Venice from the pharaoh -- until she was captured by treachery and saved by the two main characters of the book.  The plot moved, the writing was elegant, and the characters well-defined.  

Over all it was an engrossing read so I jumped into the other two books, looking forward to a couple good reads.

Again, there were some delicious elements like the magic of Baba Yaga saving Czarist Russia from the pharaoh and his army of mummies.  [Russian soldiers wear chicken feet around their necks.]  The two heros and the Flowing Queen trying for an alliance with the denizens of Hell to save Venice after the Venetians killed the first Hellish emissary.  The friends of the heroes fighting in the Venetian resistance.  I especially liked the lion motif that expanded into a sphinx motif when the main characters took the battle to Eqypt.

While the books had all the right pieces, I found myself skimming them rather than reading them.  The elegance had disappeared ... and I think that was mostly due to the translation.  Rather sad, I think.  Meyer offers the reader some interesting ideas. 

[So, now I'm wondering what kind of translation my books might get --  if they ever get sold.]

Progress ...
I mention most of the "progress" I made at the Half-Elven blog ... which was mostly learning stuff I should already know.  Still, I think I've made the Half-Elven site more understandable.  Now I have to add some content ... which I'll probably get criticized because I'm intentionally using "telling" mode for my free stories.

Queries.  Am sending two manuscripts out for rejection, [probably not for the execution so much as the content].  There Be Demons and Dark Solstice.  Since I'm putting the Half-Elven site up, I thought I should go back and try to market the main book of the sequence.  [It's also the one that's "done".] 

I've got my fantasy agent list almost compiled, courtesy of Agent Query and a lot of agent blogging.  It's a dishearteningly short list ... but at least the agents sound like they might be interest in the kind of fantasy I write.  Of course, I am complicating things by having an adult, a young adult, and a couple of middle grade manuscripts ready or almost ready.

I'm sending out several queries a week, and I'm already getting the "I'm sorry but this project isn't right for me" letters.

Trivia ...
Just doing our usual boring stuff, like going to farmers' markets even though most of our fruit and vegetables are coming out of our own yard now.  The apricots are all eaten, but the peaches are coming on. 

Did get a little excitement yesterday when a thunder-bunder crashed on top of the house.  The cats jumped and ran every which way.  I jumped, but stayed sat in my living room chair and thanked my crossed toes the computer was turned off.

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