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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Friday, May 13, 2011

Adventures in Reading,
aka:  Learning My Lesson:
While in NYC, I got the itch to look at debut books [after reading Allison Pang's Brush of Darkness].  Since I was in the "flagship" B&N, I had the perfect opportunity to check out solid paper books.  While they didn't have a debut author section, I did find quite a few just by turning the to the backs of the books.  [Yeah, I know I could probably search new authors at the online stores.

I came across Cheryle Ann Smith's The School for Brides where a plain, stern-seeming young Regency lady runs a school for mistresses who want to get married rather than ply their trade.  Nice premise.  Nice secondary characters.  But the main character turned into a beautiful redhead who then turned into a stupid piece of fluff the first time she gets bedded by the vindictive love interest.  I skimmed through it enough to know it was decently written, but the main character turned me off.

Hate to admit it, but Brides had me returning to the romance section where I picked up It Happened One Season which featured stories by Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Jacquie D'Alessandro, and Candice Hern.  The authors were given the same premise:

"A handsome hero returns from war, battle-scarred and world-weary.  But family duty calls and he must find a bride.

"A young lady facing yet another season without a suitor never expects to find herself the object of his affections."  

My favorite story of the lot was by Hern, whom I had never heard of before.   I think the book's going on my keeper pile since the book's a good object lesson on how the same plot metamorphises in the hands of different authors.

Web Promotion and Other Stuff:
Joe Konrath, one of the author gurus of e-publishing has a blog called:  A Newbies Guide to Publishing.  Last week, he wrote a long multi-faceted blog:  What Works: Promo for Ebooks.  It's one of the best summaries I've seen.  If you are promoting some short stories or even a full length book, you might check it out.  I'm sure you'll find some ideas on how to promote your work.  I know I did.

You might like his closing line:  "There's a word for a self-published writer who never gives up... rich."

Of course, you have to have something to promote ... something that doesn't die in the middle.  Justine Musk in her blog, The Tribal Writer, discusses some ways to make sure your book doesn't sink like a soggy cake:  The Secrets and Revelations of a Powerful Middle Act.  She takes the position that your characters need to have secrets which are revealed in the middle of your book.  Oh, I forgot.  You also have to have confrontations.

Progress:
Am a little jittery, got my line edits for Taking Vengeance back to WolfSinger Publications  ... and now I wait for the publication date.  I'd send you there, but they don't have the excerpt up yet. 

How did I celebrate?  I finished off a short story and sent it off to Asimov's.  It's no longer flash fiction, and I like it much better with the bugs crawling around.  My main character got even crankier, a man after my own heart.

Got another short story finished too --  Cavern Between Worlds -- which I'll self-publish so I have two choices up online.  [Yes, mommy, it has been professionally edited.]

Trivia:
  Back to Mother's Day and all the good wishes.  I always think of Mother's Day as the day I changed my mother's life for the worse.  I'm more stubborn than she was.  

How stubborn was she?  She sat in the hospital lobby, refusing to budge, when the nurses said she was too small to be in labor -- until her waters broke five minutes later..  Unfortunately, it was me that popped out ... on Mother's Day ...  rather than "Shirley Temple".

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