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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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why Indie Writers Should Read Best Sellers

Reviewing another urban fantasy by a best-selling author: Jeaniene Frost's One Grave at a Time. Really loved the villains in this episode of her Cat Crawford vampire fantasies. One's the ultimate manipulating bureaucrat with a hidden agenda and the other is the malevolent ghost, Heinrich Kramer of Malleus Maleficarum infamy, who comes back every Halloween to torture and burn three women. Having two villains really adds tension to the story line.

Of course, Cat is out to save the three women Kramer has picked to sacrifice since in his opinion all women are witches. The way Kramer oozes through the simple attempts to contain him proves he isn't just any wimpy evil spirit. He's out to gather enough power by killing "witches" so he can materialize any time of year.  One of the twists in the book, one of the ghosts helping Cat catch Kramer was a witch killed by Kramer, who then killed Kramer by materializing and spooking his horse. 

The bureaucrat villain performs his role by complicating the attempts to contain Kramer while holding out promises of creating even greater complications in later books. Complications are the keystone in this book. All the secondary characters seem to add both negative and positive contributions to the plot. Not knowing when something will backfire is part of the fun of the read. In short, an evil spirit chaser's job is never done ... as proven by the latest book in the series is hitting the best seller lists. 

Frost's book is pretty straight forward urban fantasy. Okay, what do you expect with two vampires as the VP characters. I still prefer mixed genres, maybe because I tend to mix things up in my own writing.

Do you confine yourself to one genre? I've always thought of my Half-Elven as a basic high fantasy with, maybe, a touch of science in the form of genetic drift in a mixed population, but I recently got told I really don't know what I write. Marsha A. Moore at Fantasy Faction has a blog on fantasy sub-genres. Granted it's a matter of opinion, but what they say makes a lot of sense. Will I change my mind? Don't think so. After all, I'm the person who thinks that most mysteries are fantasies. 

Hey I found a rationale
for picking the books I review:
Don't know if you noticed, but a lot of the books I review end up on the "best seller lists". Part of this is because I pick up a lot of the books I read at the supermarket ... surprisingly from their best seller section. Hate to admit it, but I follow a bunch of writers who have thousands of other fans. But, there's another factor, the independent bookstore I frequent most is making it by selling more and more used books. Such is the nature of the book business at the moment. 

Yeah, I've got stuff loaded in my Kindle ... by I haven't read any of the books yet. *blush* [I least I think I know how to blush even if I don't do it much.]

To the point, The Passive Guy wrote another blog that should have sitting up with their eyes perked:  What You Can Learn from Best Seller Lists.  His parting comment: Write a spectacular book. 

For the Fun of It
In Case You Missed It:
The Passive Guy has been resurrecting Dorothy Parker. Latest quote: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."  

Even Passive's Guy's readers are getting into the act. The link is to a search I did on his site for "Dorothy Parker".
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