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, August 12, 2011

An Indie Writer's Pain: Gettting Book Reviews

Kay's Book Reviews:
Indie writers can envy writers, like Kevin Hearne, who are published by the corporate big boys. For example, here he's getting a review of his book Hammered, the third novel in his Iron Druid series, and he didn't ask me for a review. -- We won't talk about the almost a hundred reviewers I queried with little results, and no this isn't sour grapes. Just an observation. 

Actually Hearne dismayed me when I first started reading. The opening didn't sparkle like his previous books ... until I hit his ode to salad spinners. This bit after he'd finished turning Asgard, the plane of the Norse gods, on its ear. More important, he doesn't dwell on his genius bit of humor but jumps right back into the plot of avoiding god-generated disasters and making Thor pay for his centuries of cruelty and entitled attitude.

Yeah, I admit my envy of humorous writers since I'm incapable of writing funny. Oh, I understand the basic structure of juxtaposing two incompatibilities. Like the forgetful rabbi making the "sign of the cross" with the punch line: spectacles, testicles, watch and cigars. I'm condemned to spending my life being an appreciative audience for others. Books that do humor well while keeping the plot moving ... fast, should be cherished.

Yeah, this book isn't as funny as the others, but more important, it's more than competently written. The lives of the main characters and major secondary characters continue to develop and the loose ends are tied just enough to leave some dangling hooks to pull you into the next set of books. Let's hope Atticus  O'Sullivan continues his Brer Rabbit conniving for many books to come. 

Bonus Review:
The NYC son has a fascination for old for old cover art. I benefited by rereading Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen in the 0.25 Ace edition, yellow pages and all. I had forgotten what a great chase it was. 

Just as Tolkein marked fantasy tropes, I think Alan Garner set off a bunch of his own. Of course, he used tropes himself -- wise old wizard and kids landing in an adventure when they are removed from their normal lives.  It's what you do with the trope that matter. I found Garner's mine escapes more exciting than Tolkein's.

Grumbling About My Writing Lessons:
Time.  Where does it go. Of course, I had my critique meeting last week ... and my old man's second eye surgery. Even though I was told, not too gently, I need to add more back story to my new Half-Elven novella, I've been spending enormous amounts of time looking for book reviews.  

Yes, it is a long, involved process.  I blame the book reviewers for being too interesting.  First, I have to go to their websites to see what they do.  Then, most of them suck me into reading a couple reviews, sometimes more. There are some really good books out there ... even those written by indie writers.

Want to try reading some new writers without breaking your wallet? You might visit: The 99-cent-Book Network run by the Indie Book Collective. Contrary to popular opinion, you don't need a reader to download an e-book ... even on Amazon.

Before I go any further, I must share a link on Why Books Don't Sell from MuseInks. Since I'm one of the thousands who have an abysmal Amazon ranking, I thought I'd share this before I proceed.

Getting ready to draft a new novel? I used to do it every fall, and I bet many of you with children do the same as soon as the school bell rings. C. A. Marshall revealed a simplified way to check on your plot development: The Nine Grid Plan. I printed it off since I could even understand it ... unlike the snowflake method so many people swear at. 

Gotta crow ... even if you aren't interested.
Richard Hayes who reviewed Taking Vengeance at What I Wrote said:
Theodoratus' Half-elven "...is a new approach to the Elven legend which is really refreshing." 

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