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.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

To-Read Pile Discoveries

The Read ...
Found two gems in my to-read piles ... in two separate piles.  First, award winning Connie Willis' Lincoln's Dreams, which turned out to be Robert E. Lee's dreams instead.  The main character is an author's research assistant who keeps tracing down obscure facts about various participants in the American Civil War.  What I found so intriguing was that Willis took all those facts and built a back drop for the love interest's mental/physical collapse.  I think the book classifies as a psychological thriller.

An example of the way Willis uses facts:  "We spent the rest of the day in the library.  Annie took notes on Lincoln.  I read Lee's letters and tried to find out what Annie [Lee's daughter] had died from.  Nobody seemed to know.  I found the chicken, though.  Its name was Little Hen.  She had walked uninvited into Lee's tent one day, and Lee had kept her for over a year.  She laid an egg under Lee's camp cot every day and sat on Traveller's [Lee's horse] back, which delighted the soldiers."

M. C. Beaton's A Highland Christmas, featuring Hamish Macbeth, was the other book I read -- if you can call 130 pages of large print a book ... even if bound like a mass paperback.  From what I can tell, if you are the author of a popular series, you often get rewarded by being asked to write long short stories or novellas for theme anthologies.  If you are close to the top of your game, your novella [or shorter] may get bound as a single.  Or, at least they did ten years ago.

The series, set in the "very far north of Scotland", easily contains over fifteen cozy mysteries where Macbeth's rogue supervisor presents a greater opponent than the criminals.  All the major secondary characters of the novels appeared in this volume.  I love the way Beaton skates across the Highland character cliches without getting bogged down.  The novelette is well paced and yielded many chuckles and some out loud laughs.  What more do you want for entertainment in the dentist's waiting room.

Web and Other Stuff ...
So, you're in the business to make money writing?  Well, Tim Ferriss who wrote the Four Hour Work Week, gives his opinion on his blog about "how writers really make money"[This via the an AW Water Cooler thread started by V-Man.]   The comments are interesting.

Then, there are the financial problems of Barnes & Noble.  While I don't think the behemoth will go to the bone yard any time soon,  their wrinkles are showing.

A couple days ago, after over a month of visiting other places to buy books, we happened into the local store.  Did my usual browse the display areas, the sci-fi/fantasy section, mysteries, and YA.  Can't remember buying a book.  Today, I browsed the grocery store book section while the old man restocked our light bulbs.  Found four new books.  We're talking Patricia Briggs, Christine Feehan, and similar names here.  Didn't see hide nor hair of them while at B&N.

Saggy, baggy bookstores, anyone?

Progress ...
This blog is so late, I had better have made some progress in my writing.  *smirk*,  *smirk*  I did.  I posted the second Renna's Tale -- As Subborn As a Half-Elven.  Still don't have any artwork, but we'll see what Sunday brings.

And, no.  I didn't query any agents.

Trivia ...
Embarrassment, really.  Chanced to look at a couple comments I left earlier on other blogs a couple days ago.  Oh, the typos.  No one would ever want me to be on their team for a spelling bee.  I don't even want to know how many typos can be found in the Renna stories.


Patti Struble said...

It's funny you mention the B/N vs. grocery store thing. I picked up 4 new books Saturday at Pamida. Not a one was a romance. Psychological thrillers & mysteries. And, I do have 4 coming in this week - 3 romances & Franzen. I don't know how he'll survive the post with all that emotion, but we shall see. I love newbies in my pile of 'to-reads.'

Kay Theodoratus said...

Patti -- I think finding a new author to enjoy is "priceless".

Margo Berendsen said...

I will be fascinated to see what happens to Barnes and Noble and how long it will take to wither away.

While I enjoy browsing at B&N, I only buy when I find a book on sale; otherwise, I take my good finds to Amazon and buy used there. It's evil, I know, but hey, I have four kids (e.g. too poor to buy full priced books)