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.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Discovering a New Author

The Read ...
(A fantasy book review)
Discovering a new author's fun ... from seeing an interesting cover ... to discovering an interesting blurb that promises a new twist on a familiar theme ... to reading the author bio which informs you the writer has won several awards that you've heard of before.  All in a novel that's "First in a new series!".  I sat back, eager to explore the new world of "Golgotham", a hitherto unknown section of Manhattan left over from the 18th century with operational cell phones -- Nancy A. Collins' Right Hand Magic.

What I ended up with was a nicely pedestrian read ... which wasn't quite a shrug off but is definitely heading for the trade pile.  The main characters were attractive, engaging people ... but they were upstaged by Scratch, the witchy love interest's  familiar.  The main character is a mundane human artist (female).  Problem self-centered rich parents who stomp on toes rather than caused anguish.  The punches pulled from the points of danger.  Maybe worse, boy's mommy came to the rescue ... even if her appearance was reasonably explained.

I don't know what I was expecting ... maybe a little more excitement than just a well crafted book that had checked off all the "good writing" points ... without generating much excitement.  I was left in the hallway when the MC moved to her new digs, a house with true creep potential ... only the chills never happened.

Stuff ...
I don't think I've mention any writer's trade pubs in a long time.  Have just mentioned publishing professionals' blogs or given writer's links.  So, I'll list some reasons I benefited from the January 2011 issue of The Writer.  [I also subscribe to Writer's Digest, but I couldn't find a copy in my pile.  Yeah, I  pile magazines, newspapers, and newsletters on the table at my elbow.]  

The big front page article with the big front cover promo headlined -- interviews on  "What's Hot Now", didn't wow me or even give much in the way of insights.  The blurb indicated "strong, distinctive voices", "confident, convincing writing",  "clearly defined audiences, and "works that defy categorization" were some of the interviewed editors favorite things.  While some writer's may have found a market in the interviews, I got lost in the details.  Maybe it's just sour gripes because none of the editors were particularly interested in weird fantasy.

The article I marked up all over the place and ripped out to save was:  "Writing the First-Person Mystery [Step by Step]".  You say you don't write mysteries?  You only write in omniscient viewpoint?  Sorry, you still can benefit from Brendan Dubois' article.  The sound advice pertains to all genres, ie:  if you don't do it, you won't have a publishable novel.  --  The only problem I found with the article is that the information seemed generic enough to appear in more than one writing how-to.  Don't ask me why I saved it.  Maybe because it was good summary of the basics.

What else does the issue offer?  A couple pep talks, tax info, master's degrees, how to generate sales, and a bunch of other stuff that meets the magazine's goal of offering "advice and inspiration for today's writer". 

Progress ...
I'm caught up ... except for all the things left undone ... at the moment.

Trivia ...
I don't care which ends are dangling.  I'm going to take a vacation.  The baking's done, and tomorrow, I wrap the mail-away presents.  The next day, I'll send cards and letters.  Then, I'm going to watch the second season of "Castle" [I got the DVD set for Xmas.], and I'm going to finish two more Odd Thomas books without having to think about book reviews.  

Oh, I'm going to write.  Something.  I don't know what, but I do know it'll be something old ... or maybe, something new ... but it'll be something to please myself.

So, enjoy a very, merry holiday season ... the whole twelve days!
[More power to you if you can celebrate both
the Latin and the Orthodox versions.]    

I'll see you back in the coming year
hopefully, will be better than the last one. 


Maria Zannini said...

Merry Christmas, Kay. Good for you on your vacation. Enjoy.

E.J. Wesley said...

I don't tell you often enough; I love the way you describe your reading experiences. It terrifies me as a writer to know that people scrutinize things the way that you do (which is to say intelligently), but it makes me aware of reading sensibilities in a very good way.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Kay Theodoratus said...

Hey ... I'm just trying to get published myself. Who better to analyze than people I read?

Enjoy the season ... and take time to just veg.

Anonymous said...

The second season of Castle was fun; better than the first, I thought.

Kay Theodoratus said...

An unusual series ... because I think the third season is better than the second ... even if Castle never kisses Beckett.

Margo Berendsen said...

This post just kept me smiling the whole way through: "a nicely pedestrian read" "I was left in the hallway" "Sour gripes" "I'm caught up ... except for all the things left undone" (might have to make a little sign with this and hang it on my office door). So which Christmas do you celebrate? Latin or Orthodox? I suppose I'm of the Latin variety (though I'm not Roman Catholic) but curious about the Orthodox version. I'm assuming "Theodoratus" is Greek and therefore some Greek Orthodox roots in your family?

Patricia Stoltey said...

Once we start writing it's pretty hard to read a book without analyzing everything from plot to typos. I managed last week when I took the time to read four novels in six days. I tried to read for sheer fun, and I think I did pretty well.

Kay Theodoratus said...

Margo ... Our celebration of Christmas is totally secular but not so materialistic. We just enjoy ourselves by indulging in little treats during the whole "holiday season" ... which cheers the deep of winter up a little.

Oh, I'm a half-Mexican married to a half-Greek ... so I have Los Reyos to extend the Christmas season. The Greek/Latin thing works mostly at Easter when the Greeks insist that Easter can't happen before Passover. Has something to do with the Last Thursday meal.

Pat: There are still some authors that snare me into their world completely though I can't remember any at the moment. They're the ones where I look at the clock -- see it's elven -- decide to read another chapter -- look at the clock again to learn its one-thirty.