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.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

M. K. Theodoratus Learns from Her Reading

Book Review:
I should hope I learn from my reading ... about many things.  Why else do I read?  [Okay.  I like to be entertained too.]  Of more concern is what I learn about writing from my reading.  This time I review a book by Karen Marie Moning:  The Dark Highlander.  I grab the mass paperback editions of her two interrelated series --  her Keltar and Faefever worlds -- as soon as I see them.

The re-read of The Dark Highlander didn't disappoint.  The funny parts ... where Chloe finds the discarded condoms under the bed and the make-out scene on the plane still elicited chuckles.  Chloe doing something stupid to precipitate the denouement still raised my hackles.  The parts in between entertained in spite of the cliches. 

A straight romance gets boring.  They meet.  They fight.  They get back together.  [My cynic mutters:  until the next fight and he, maybe, hits her.]  Moning is good at mixing continuous action with her romance which save the book from being a total cliche.  Even her two prologues move fast.

So, what should you notice when you read?  Her mix of the Highlander series back story into the story line.   Her weaving in the motivations of her main and secondary characters into the story so it doesn't bog down.  Her villains as a continuous presence without the MCs, even with their magical abilities, being aware of them. 

Don't understand great huge hulking men going for five-foot-two women though, even if the love interest has nice curves.   As I said, cliches maintain their half-life in her writing.  [An infection from the romance genre?]  Even adding a unique magical resonance creates a cliche a la paranormal romance.  Still, she hooks and pulls the reader through the plot twists fast enough that you don't mind the cliches. --  Hey, I read it to the end -- without getting bored -- even though I knew the specific ending.

Web Stuff...
Free time is a wonderful thing for catching up on other people's blogs ... I thought.  Was glad to see Roni Loren's blog on getting the most bang out of your blog, a discussion of a Kristen Lamb workshop.  Right off I learned I'm supposed to have my name or the name I write under in the title of my blog.   Duh.  I knew that.  But, my name is Theodoratus.  How do I work that into a blog title?

Addition to to-do list:  Change the name on my blog.  I don't think M. K. Theodoratus' Reading Lessons makes it ... but it's better than Lessons from M. K. Theodoratus' Reading.    Maybe, Lessons Found in M. K. Theodoratus' Readings?    M. K. Theodoratus Reads?  This is getting funny ... or annoying.

For the record, I break the other rule of efficient blogging.  I blog about writing.  There's more to the discussion and link that you might find useful too. 

Thinking of going to e-self-publishing before submitting the traditional print route?  Writer Beware linked to Wired.com's John C. Abbell's blog "5 Reasons Why E-books Aren't There Yet".

My position on e-publishing?  I think self-publishing is a last or marketing option.  Take a look my short story, "Cavern Between Worlds", as an example.  It should be up on Smashwords soon after the time you read this -- for free.  Here's the short blurb I wrote for it. 

"All life has disappeared from an ocean rookery far from shore.  Captain Hattenel, a Half-Elven ranger, joins Voron, a disreputable sea captain, to explore the mystery, only to be catapulted into a dangerous world inhabited by dog-headed magic workers."

Must confess this might be considered a romance.  In a novella, the story is the meeting third during an adventure to solve a mystery.  And, just now, as I'm writing this ... I realize I have another novella ... if I ever find the time to finish the other parts, ie think up some complications.

At the moment, I'm deep into writing scripts for a vowel-controlled, comic pre-primer series ... for which I think I have a publisher.  I won't say for sure until I have a signed contract ... though the publisher/editor keeps assuring me I'm her next project.  [Hey, a two-person operation can only works so fast and still produce a good product.]  I'm not even finding time to combine my separate chapters of There Be Demons into one file. 

What's your position on the many options of e-publishing?

A thunderstorm that stripped leaves from trees and destroyed plants interrupted my writing late last night.  Fortunately, it was far enough away that I got my slow-moving computer turned off before the thunder hit close.  --  Got some extra reading in.      


E.J. Wesley said...


I just posted on my blog today (more or less) why I think the distinction between ePublishing and tradition is going away. (Namely, agents are starting to come on board.)

In two years it won't make a difference how your story came to print (ePrint?), so as long as it's worth reading and you know how to let people know it exists.

Just my thoughts ...


Kay Theodoratus said...

I tend to agree with you ... provided you don't make a bunch a pre-mature craft mistakes when you self-publish.

Still, I'm just old enough that I like the idea of a imprimatur from someone besides my friends or critique groups that the piece is worth publishing.

Margo Berendsen said...

oOOOH! - I like how you revised your blurb! Great job. Dog-headed major workers? Disreputable sea captain? I'm hooked!

How about just leaving Lessons from my Reading as your title, and then just put your name underneath in slightly smaller font? I think your name is an advantage. Theodoratus - it's memorable - I've always liked it. Makes me think of Greece (though I think I asked you once before and you said sorry, no Greek background)

Kay Theodoratus said...

After working on it all weekend [Okay, not Sunday] I got all the goof-ups on the submission cleaned up. The one left being the first word which should be italics. And, it's for free.

Margo, our minds must have met on the road. I more or less made the same decision already. My name appears in the blurb under the title. I've also got more comfortable calling my "discussions about books", book reviews.