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.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Giving Secondary Characters a Chance to Star: Exploring the Sidetracks in Your Story Lines

Have you ever been enchanted by a secondary character in a novel? One that lurks in the background until needed for the plot? One that deserved to be a star, at least in your opinion?

The writing team Ilona Andrews does just that in Gunmetal Magic with Andrea, the were-hyena or Bouda friend, and later, partner of Kate Daniels in the Andrews' Magic series.  Andrea's problems get star billing ... as she works through a twisting mystery ... while she clears up some personal issues with authority and reconciliation with her lover. Yeah. Andrea is a busy girl in this book.

Perhaps Andrea shows too much "teenage horror-movie stupidity" -- going where "no one with any sense" would go -- in the book, but it's excusable. Workers employed by Andrea's former lover, Rafael, are killed at a construction/mining site. The mystery rises about what was in an empty vault and where did the killing viper bites come from. The puzzle complicates when the possibility of snake weres arises ... when no snake-weres were known before.

Andrea follows the clues to solve the murder mystery no matter where it takes her. Andrea lucks out each time by coming up with both new information and a new twist in the plot line. The complications requiring Rafael's help annoy her the most. 

Andrea has always been an independent sort of girl. One who rejects being the delicate sort who needs always needs rescuing. She'll wreck her own mayhem, thank you very much. The Andrews set up the dual conflict and Andrea's problems with authority all in the first two fast moving chapters ... with a minimum of back story.  In short, Andrea'd be damned if she'd "bow and scrape" to be admitted to Clan Bouda. -- The book almost earns five stars right there.

The romance is entertaining as well. Not only does Andrea have to face a mother-in-law-from-hell in Auntie B, Rafael's mother and leader of the were-hyena clan, she has to put up with Rafael's protective instincts. How bad is Auntie B? Well, she can make the word "dear" the most threatening word in the dictionary. As for Rafael, he finds some creative ways to annoy her until she gives in and let's him back into her life. Andrea readily admits she loves him, but there's that subservient thing.  -- To say more, would destroy the fun of reading the book.

Rating: Five stars. It took me some time to review the book since my pile of "read" books is about a fourth the size of my "to-read" pile. Not only did Gunmetal Magic keep me ready "just one more chapter" past my bedtime, but it goes on my keeper pile.


I seem to have slowed down for Christmas -- not that I'm not doing things like cards/letters. Did get the edits/revisions done for Bad Luck Emma. Now I'm be sending it out into the cold, cruel world to be rejected by agents.

Did get some good news. Pat, the Pet ... my vowel controlled, pre-primer color-a-comic has made it onto the publisher's list. Here's what Grumpy Dragon had to say:

"Pat the Pet by Kay Theodoratus.

This is a coloring book/comic for English as a Second Language readers as well as emergent readers. The focus is on short vowel sounds, and it features Pat, a lovable, goofy brown monster who would fit in well with the Muppets. This book is going to be a Lightning Source title available through The Grumpy Dragon, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. ... We also have plans for a DVD with institutional licensing as well as a coloring app for phones/tablets..."

Of course, cynical me, isn't holding her breath. As I said somewhere ... maybe around Christmas 2013?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Is Your Manuscript Perfect? Striving for Perfection ...

Personally, I think perfection is overrated ... an unachievable goal. Good-enough is plenty good enough for everyday consumption and me. Of course, if someone is going to invest money in your writing, the manuscript better meet their idea of perfection ... or at least be revisable to some semblance there of.

These thoughts popped into my head when I came across a post of Justine Musk's blog on achieving perfection: how to make mistakes + be imperfect like a badass. Musk is a gal with attitude and confronts the idea of wanting perfection and wanting it now ... like with your current draft.

Think she has something important to say about writing here ... even though the insight percipitated in a yoga class. Given some of the people I've seen doing yoga, I can understand where one might get an inferiority complex watching graceful "benders" do their thing.

My version of yoga looks more like a fish flopping around out of water -- no rhyme or reason -- but I mange to get some static exercise in. A helpful activity if you've got a foot of snow outside.

The one graceful "bender" I know is my daughter, a harpist in New York City. Mia was recently interviewed by Columbia Television News. I shared this on Facebook as a proud mommie. I'll share here too. While Mia works for perfection in the area of music, especially on coming in right on the beat, she is just a quick to say "Art never stops". You can never become proficient in everything. The learning process never ends.

I'd add: If your are pushing the boundaries of your skills, you'll always discover something new you must accomplish.

On a Different Promotional Note:
Discovered perhaps a "perfect" way of helping your friends increase their Amazon rankings on LinkedIn without them spending a dime more than they already have.

Tod A. Fonseca blogged on "What is Tagging". What he discusses is a way of increasing your book rankings using Amazon's rankings without having to beg your friends to buy your book. If you've ever bought something from Amazon, you should be able to like and tag books -- go down to the subject areas the book falls in and click the little boxes showing the keywords.

What I'm pulling out of the things I'm reading on promotion: If you click those likes, tags, and say a review is helpful to you, it all helps your book's ranking on Amazon.

Hint: the Amazon page for Troublesome Neighbors. I would appreciate all the likes, tags, and sales I can garner. Thank you for your help. Of course, there's my author's page and my other "books". Did I mention I wouldn't object if you bought my book?

*smile* Do I sound like a needy writer? 
[I don't consider myself an author yet. I'm not perfect enough yet.]

Thursday, December 6, 2012

NaNoWriMo Thoughts Worth Thinking About

Doubt if I'll ever complete a NaNoWriMo year -- though I always get some writerly tips from the people who survived the challenge ... and from those who didn't. [Don't think I can sit long enough to write 2,000 words a day without injuring myself. But lots of people manage to do it every year.] Here are some thoughts on the results.

But first:
All you guys who earn that badge of hard, dedicated work
have my admiration. 

Margo Berendson discusses which part of writing is hardest. This year she used NaNoWriMo as a tool to finish an in-progress manuscript. Thought it would be relatively easy. Read what happened.

Which do you think is harder? 
The ending or the beginning of your novel?
Explain why your reasoning.

Me? I think they both present headaches which require many "aspirins" [rewrites] to cure.

Sarah Ahiers not only finished her fourth NaNo but also crows about writing her 500th blog.
The woman has endurance. 
[And some people are amazed when I've written only 300 of the things?]

Lee Bross blogs on finishing NaNoWriMo: "You have everything you need for a successful climb in front of you and there is nothing stopping you from getting to the top. It will take patience and diligence and a little luck, but you can get there." 

In other words, it's time to start revising.

Are You Bored or Burned Out by Your Story? 

Ace Jordyn at the Fictorian Era offers a pep talk for people who don't know what to do with their NaNoWriMO results. Look at the most recent blog on story-telling crutches too. There's always lots of interesting stuff at this blog.


So, what have I been writing at my snail speed?

Not much ... though I did get a Prologue [two-three pages] set up for Troublesome Mac where I start right off with her grandmother calling her MacKenzie. I think of that as a girl's name, but I know it can be a boys name too ... as well as a last name. 

Silly little back story. Troublesome Mac is the result of a writing prompt at a Northern Colorado Writers class. [Yeah, I still take classes. I still gots lots to learn.] Any way, I did a few paragraphs on Mac plotting on how to get noticed by a wizard that just moved into her neighborhood. The people who discussed my effort all thought Mac was a boy. 

Do you think they might be telling me something about the book's eventual saleability?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Is The Person Who Can Write Funny

At least, I hope Kevin Hearne is happy. Since they haven't bought out his contract or stopped publishing his Iron Druid Chronicles, DelRey Books seems happy enough with his sales . 

May Kevin's royalties exceed his day-time salary by more than a buck. 

Yeah this is a book review of Trapped, the 5th book about Atticus, the last druid, and friends defending themselves from the many enemies he has acquired in several pantheons. Just to give the enemies equal time: they feel justified in seeking vengeance on Atticus for actions he's previously inflicted on them. 

In Trapped, Atticus seeks to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth to double the number of druids in the world, but Bacchus and his minions, the Black Elves, the Norse gods keep interrupting him. His allies among the Tuatha De Danaan, his wise-cracking side kick, Oberon an Irish Wolfhound,and the earth's elementals help him on his quest. Oh, Granuaile kicks some ass too.

If you like action, Hearne's the guy for you. His books jump off the blocks by introducing several threads of possible conflict in the first couple of chapters. Trapped is no exception.  

While Atticus seeks a quiet place to bind Granuaile, Perun, a Slavic lighting god, appears when he flees from the destruction of the Slavic godly plane by Loki, a Norse god. That's just the first chapter. By the third chapter, Atticus is summoned to the Fae Court, and  Perun has developed a case of lust for Flidais, the Irish goddess of the hunt. In short, Hearne manages to introduce new complications and interlock them together into the previus storyline in most chapters. While the complications aren't as seamlessly woven as previous books, the book is still a fast, twisting read.

One thing that stands out to me because of my mystery bias, perhaps, is that Hearne doesn't really have villains. His complications fall more into having a different mind set rather than personal greed or urge to harm, per se. Granted there are personality faults in abundance, but his characters lack the focused self-interest of true villains. How fair is application of negative traits? Well, Atticus has quite a few of his own. .... 

But, then that's my own judgement since my value system tends to consider selfish self-interest as a negative trait.

Hearne's strong point? Humor. Few writers are as funny as he is. Whether Atticus and Oberon are discussing the merits of sausage or human mating habits, he is good for a chuckle. More chuckles come from his irreverent view of deities of whichever ilk. Hearne even manages to give an explanation about why you might think clowns evil.

Do have one complaint about an omission in the Atticus stories. While Jesus and Mary have appeared is a previous story, they haven't gotten billing worth their status in the earthly cosmos. Yeah, Il admit to sore grapes. When I think of the wonders Hearne could work with the Christian stereotypes of all ilks, I feel deprived. Guess I'll have to be satisfied with what he does with the Indian pantheon when he finally gets to it.


Am sort of taking a little break for the holiday weeks. Not that I'm less busy, but I'm writing less and baking more. Even have bought stuff other people have made.

[A lot of it "Made in the USA". Remember the union label?]

Still progressing on Bad Luck Emma. Only a few more chapters to go and I can go onto new projects.

One discovery: "Tazan of the Apes" isn't as bad a book as I thought, even though many of the social sentiments are outdated and the writing style has a pompous, superior expository style. Didn't find the "Me Tarzan. You Jane." line. Guess the movie version had contaminated my opinion of Burroughs.

Yeah, I read it in one sitting ... 
which surprised the heck out of me. 
Under all the exposition, there's an adventure novella in there.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Paranormal Plus -- Crossing Genre Boundaries

Lots of fiction genres, like mystery or romance, combine paranormal elements. Or, at least they say they do. You know the love the vampire ... or werewolf ... or demon in a will they live-happily-ever-after plot. Truth be told, I find such HEA paranormal romances rather dull. But, combine them with thriller type action and/or a puzzling mystery, you've hooked me.

Heather Graham's The Uninvited crosses genres with abandon and intelligence. Allison Leigh, a history professor, discovers the body of a fellow tour guide, an apparent suicide, in a stately home which also is reputed to be haunted by a Revolutionary War ghost. [The Who-Done-It + Paranormal] After a team of "ghost hunters" led by Tyler Montague investigates, a second murder occurs. [Complication + Love Interest]   Of course, Leigh is suspicious of Montague, but the board of the museum tells her to cooperate to solve the crime. Add twists and turns while various characters are threatened by the supposed mad ghost.

The question: are the murders a spectral manifestation or something more mundane or a combination of the two?

The villains in this case aren't particularly evil -- maybe more like totally selfish in a venial way even though ready to commit multiple murders. Graham does give them well rounded motivations. 

The most amazing was the way Graham wove a large cast of secondary characters into the plot. Most of the people introduced in the first few chapters had something integral to offer in solving the mystery. Making all of the "sidekicks" interesting, likable people is a skill most authors lack.

Rating: Only four stars. While I strongly recommend it. The book didn't make me abandon other tasks to read "one-more-chapter".


The revision/edits of Bad Luck Emma continue. I'm a little more than half-way through, but I've already queried a couple agents ... to get in under their holiday deadlines. Not that I expect anything wondrous to happen. Getting a request for a full, though, would be a nice Christmas present.

Did research on cat behavior for Troublesome Mac. The articles made cat behavior so dull and predictable that it's a wonder than anyone would keep a cat lying around. -- I think I'm fixated on "troublesome" situations and people.

Will repeat my offer of a free PDF or epub file of Troublesome Neighbors to any reader who asks for one in December. Send your email to mkkaytheod [at] yahoo [dot] com. Yeah, it'll go in my email files ... I may even get around to sending out a newsletter if something interesting ever happens with my writing. In the meantime, tidbits appear at the Half-Elven Facebook page  or my author page

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Capturing a Reader's Attention: Hook, Story Line, and Characters

Can a book trap a reader? One assumes when a reader picks up a book, they want to read a good story. I know I do ... even if I sometimes have two or three books in process. Then, along comes a book that captures my attention with a complicated story line.  L. E. Modisett Jr.'s Lady-Protector is just such a book.

Lady-Protector is a b-a-a-a-d book. It pulled me away from two perfectly nice books I was enjoying -- one fantasy and one thriller. Yeah ... Lady-Protector sunk its claws into me and kept me up w-a-a-y past my bedtime for two nights, forcing the other books to languish on my side table among the Christmas catalogs. So what kind of hook did Modesett bait for his readers -- and he has a lot of readers and a huge body of work?

Mykella has survived a bloody coup using the Talents she inherited from long distant ancestors but finds herself facing a looted treasury, a restive merchant elite, a severe lack of funds, a crumbling infrastructure, and invading enemies -- both human and other-dimensional.  Sounds complicated ... but Modesett builds three-dimensional characters for his world that have you caring for the good guys and wondering why the bad guys seem to get away with their villainies for too long.

The first chapter opens with Mykella's investiture after she has destroyed the conspirators who killed her father and brother and robbed the treasury. Modisett draws the royal family and political situation with such a deft hand, complete with back story from the previous book, that the story line doesn't bog down once. Then, he pulls the hook tight when Mykella learns her aunt, the wife of the would-be usurper, has disappeared ... pregnant with a rival heir.

Lady-Protector is a long book, almost 500 pages, but it never becomes tedious. Maybe there's a bias here for those who like politics ... but Modisett stresses the personal aspects such as the rivalry of the three sisters, a tentative love interest, and Mykella's growing confidence as she solves one crisis after another.

There a eight books in the Corean Chronicles with Lady-Protector and its predecessor forming a self contained duology within the world.

Rating: Five Stars ... what else can I give it when it extended my reading hour each evening by two or three hours until the book was finished. I might go back and get the first book, The Lord-Protector's Daughter, but the blurbs for the other books in the series didn't catch my fancy. [Maybe I have terminal Tamora-Pierce disease.]


Doing the dumb marketing bit. Granted promotion is like housework. It's never done. I can accept that, but I don't have to like it.  Am slowly making changes in my Twitter accounts. My @kaytheod account is turning into an author account while @TakingVengeance is more of a promotional sink hole.

One thing: Through December, I'm offering a free copy of Troublesome Neighbors to my readers in whatever social media. Just send me your email address to mkkaytheod [at] yahoo [dot] com. I'll send a PDF or epub file. [I'm doing it this way because I don't want to get tied up into the Kindle Direct stuff.]

As for writing, don't ask. But I am progressing, slowly if regularly, on my edits of Bad Luck Emma.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Does Your Backstory Clump like Lumpy Gravey

Back story can be a bitch. Inserting information smoothly, aka back story, into my story lines is one of the most difficult craft skills I'm trying to master. My Far Isle Half-Elven stories have over 400 years of history, and I explain too much too often.

I imagine setting up back story in the opening of a novel in a series is especially difficult. The more books in the series, the harder it is not to explain everything that happened before. Got hit over the head by this idea when I read Yasmine Galenorn's Shadow Rising. This eighth book in the DiArtigo sisters' Otherworld series tells its story from the viewpoint of Menolly, the vampire sister. [my favorite]

Demons threaten the Otherworld, but the sisters have their hands full with malicious ghosts erupting in the mortal world. Menolly must solve her personal problems -- her relationship to the Vampire's queen's son and her coming promise ceremony with her lover -- while the minions of the Lord of Ghosts attack on the sisters' mixed household of supernaturals.

That comes close to a log line, but it doesn't give the book full justice.  I love how Galenorn grows not only her major characters but many of the secondary characters within the story line. The plot line is filled with creative, twisting action.  Once it starts rolling, that is. Yeah, I found this volume a slow start with lumps of back story in the first chapters that sometime seemed like info-dumps.

The goal to reach for? A writer needs to scatter it through the chapters of his/her book like a rare spice. Too much back story slows down the read. I tell myself that over and over when I'm editing a story. Maybe that's why I stumbled over the back story because I'm trying to get Bad Luck Emma to read faster.

Rating: Galenorn's a master, but I only gave the book Four Stars at Goodreads because it didn't keep me up pass my bedtime.


What's going on with my own writing. I'm trying to find book reviewers for Troublesome Neighbors at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Transferred the first fourth of my ruler edits of Bad Luck Emma. Beating back Mac who wants her story started ... now, instead of dinking with the opening lines.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Best Seller Success: Finding the Magic Fiction Formula

Looking for a formula for writing successful fiction? I’ve been distilling the info from a lot of the classes and articles so I'll share a bit. One element: how to structure your story lines into a simple formula for fiction success. 
Yeah, it all boiled down into a formula of sorts – you organize in three acts. The first act you introduce your characters. The second act has the main character achieving some form of their goal before everything starts to fall apart. The third acts the nadir where every thing seems lost, but the MC keeps struggling until s/he triumphs. 

So, how does this fiction formula work? Having done a lot of reading and rereading over the few weeks, I think it does. The stories I enjoyed most followed the formula. Each “act” in the books began at approximately the first, second, and third parts of the story – given some wiggle room. 

I tested the idea recently on one of Christine Feehan’s Carpathian novels – Dark Predator. Feehan’s a best selling author of three series. I’ve read many of her Carpathian and Game series … until I got tired of the repetitive character dynamics [the hyper macho man bit]. I've sort of ignored some of her recent novels even though they were on best seller lists. Yet, I still reread some of the first novels in each series.

Dark Predator starts with a wounded Carpathian ready to give up and face the dawn rather than turn vampire by killing one of his meals. He retreats to a family farm where he is saved by the love interest/life mate before he burns up. Result? He tries to surround the love interest in cotton wool. Of course, she’s the spunky sort who doesn’t obey rules and dictates very well. Second act opens with the two reaching an accommodation and recognize they are in lust with one another. The life mate bit happens and the story line shifts gears with many complications piling on top of their relationship until they all don't walk off into the sunset.

Simple, huh? Don’t you believe it. The fiction formula is just the framework. Ya gotta fill in the picture's details without falling into the cliche pit like Feehan. So there. Have i given you a key to becoming a best-selling author? It all depends on how you develop your other craft skills.


I’ve been on an enforced break from blogging when Blogger locked me out of my blogs. Just as mysteriously, they are now letting me in. Here I am again. Be sure to read an excerpt of Troublesome Neighbors at my author page on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or iBookstore

I wouldn't mind if you bought the fantasy novella and gave me a review either.

Friday, November 16, 2012

What Happened?????

Well, I'll be darned.
Somehow, I got back into my blog.
I won't ask questions.
Now I must decided whether I will post my blog at my author website [in process].

How did I return? I think it has something to do with scrounging around for book reviews for Troublesome Neighbors, a story of how a young Renna, now a veteran of the Half-Elven Rebellion, turns the tables on Lord Gorsfeld for his annoying harassments of her people. You can read an except at the Far Isles Half-Elven Website. Anyway, some form wanted me to check in and my old login info worked.

Oh. Troublesome Neighbors even has a four-star review which you can read here.

If my login info works again tomorrow,
I'll post my review of Dark Predator which has been languishing in a Word doc.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mining Faery Lore for Plot Lines: "Bones of Faerie"

Writers and story-tellers mine Faery Lore for stories, probably since the idea of the magical little people was invented. The first written faery story that I know of is Apuleius's Metamorphoses or The Golden Ass, aka Beauty and the Beast by any other name. I've been known to steal ideas myself in a draft lost somewhere in  my computer.

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner is a dark, lyrical telling of the aftermath of a war between humans and Fey. As in all true apocalyptic novels, the atmosphere is foreboding with the MC struggling for survival in a hostile world. Fun note: after a truce of sorts, the St Louis arch marks the border between the two planes. Ya gotta love it when an author knows her stuff [or his] well enough to throw factoids like that ... and make them real.

The well-drawn characters did disappoint a bit. Though three-dimensional, they seldom drifted from their pre-ordained role in the plot line. One notable element, I thought: the use of MC's newborn sister's infanticide since the babe becomes an on-going character who is important to the denouement. -- Hey it's fantasy, and not all dead characters are zombies.

Simner makes the settings real with economy which allows her to tells us a complex tale within a 250-word YA book. After the Apocalypse humans struggle in a world were the vegetation is mobile, maybe not as fast as animals ... but faster than the regular wheat field. The trees are so menacing that it's almost impossible to raise enough food to survive the winters. 

Physical survival isn't the only problem the MC faces. Her village has prospered because her father has systematically killed anyone who shows signs of magic, even newborns.  

The opening of Chapter 3: "Words froze in my throat as I stared at my father. Had he seen the light in the sink, the paleness in my hair? Cast out the magic born among you. Yet I was no babe to set out in the night. Father had told me often enough how he'd have dealt with Cam had the boy lived: "With a single stroke across the throat, swift and deep."

This is the first book in a trilogy.
[Janni Lee Simner. Bones of Faerie. New York: Random House Children's Books, 2009]
This is a new author to me, who entered my home with a bunch of books my kids sent me, but she's a acclaimed writer if you want to visit her website. I'm still debating whether to keep it, but I'm afraid the hardback pile will topple if I add another book.


Plot isn't all. You need people to live in your world ... aka characters. Have been thinking a lot about characters the past week. Got an editor request for a rewrite ... one of the points was the "main" character wasn't fleshed out enough ... in a flash piece. I'm working on it, but can't see where I have much wiggle room.

Margo Berendson has also been thinking about characters. You might take a look at her blog on making and breaking character "rules". You might learn something ... if only a new take on dragons. 

Margo much more disciplined than I am and worth reading regularly. Maybe because she writes at a higher altitude than I do.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Golden Oldies: Books that Do and Don't Stand the Test of Time: Review of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" & More

Nothing like showing up late for the party. I always feel like that when I pick up a Lois Duncan book at a used book store. Yeah, reading one of her books is usually one, full of dread party. Recently read I Know What You Did Last Summer, a chilling, suspenseful book without any gore. -- Guess the 1997 "blockbuster" movie wasn't a slasher movie ... even though I didn't see it.

The plot centers around four clueless teens who think they can bury a bad decision if they don't talk about it. Unfortunately, such decisions rise like zombies and develop a life of their own. -- No, Last Summer isn't a zombie story. In this case, someone has figured out their secret and stalks them, as he seeks retribution for a hit and run death.

Duncan has a lean style, but manages to tie up all the loose ends in a relatively short book. What didn't work for me: The characters didn't seem to grow. They remained much the same at the end of the book as at the beginning ... though they did give up their pact to remain silent  and face the music.  

What really worked for me was the way Duncan mixed flash backs to show the difference a year can make in someone's life. The opening scenes of panic hook the reader and attach them to the story ... as Jill, probably the most important character, must confront actions she'd rather bury in the deep recesses of her mind as well as a love she can't give up.

Duncan winds up the tension in the book by using different viewpoints to create a feeling of dread. Each chapter gives judicious pieces of information about the secret in flashbacks with the story unfolding in standard mystery fashion. The flashbacks also delineate the character of the teens.  

[Lois Duncan. I Know What You Did Last Summer. 
New York: Laurel Leaf, Random House, 1973.]
Trade ... though I should probably keep and study it

Read an Ellis Peters [Brother Cadfael] mystery set in modern times: The Will and the Deed.  The book was copyrighted in 1960 and had a nice plot/villain twist. But, today it felt unbelievable. Not only did the technology feel off to this Luddite ... but inflation made the amount of money involved silly as a motive for murder.

Trade ... though it'll probably end up with Friends of the Library

Inflation has influenced publishing. I've always wondered if larger/ longer books were a result of the higher prices books now cost. Like, the writer's cost is the least important part of a publisher's expenses.
This comment comes up because I again revisited Tamora Pierce's Tortall. This time: Mastiff, A Tortall Legend, the third book in the Beka Cooper trilogy. The hardback's so heavy it made my thumbs hurt, but still kept reading until after two AM to finish it ... even though I've read it at least three times.

The fact that I own the book in hardback tells you how good I think the book is.

Last but not least, I read Dorothy Gilman's Caravan about getting lost in the Sahara before WWI. The books a fascinating exercise in breaking the "rule" of telling a story. The revenge of the narrator is as downplayed as it's brilliant

I'll probably trade it since I'm trying to clear some room on my bookshelves.  


Just what I need is an interruption in my writing schedule ... especially since critiques are starting to come in on "Troublesome Neighbors". But ... an editor asked me for a revision. Yeah, I'm going to do it ... even though only a token payment is involved.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Piling on the Dilemmas: A Review of Kristan Callihan's "Moonglow"

If yah love a book that starts out with a bloody, gruesome murder, would you love a book more that starts out with two? Would you love the book more if the female MC "meets" the love interest in the book after she's been buried under the body of one of the corpses? 

Picture this scene. "A small groan broke the spell. Someone shouted in alarm. The dead man moved, rolling a bit, and the crowd jumped back as if one. Ian's pulse kicked before he noticed the soft drape of blue silk beneath the man's twisted legs." All the werewolf gore, crisp characterization, and that discovery ... introduced in the first fifteen pages. What's more, Moonglow by Kristan Callihan doesn't slow down ... until the two lovers marry. -- No that isn't a spoiler because the book's a paranormal romance.

What impressed me most: Moonglow offers the reader more than gore and thrills as threats and murder pursue the protagonists. The book explores the price of love between a mortal and a supernatural without falling into a cliched relationship. Oh the elements of a mysterious dark handsome guy with secrets and a beautiful, feisty girl with new found powers are there, but Ian and Daisy stand out as rounded characters without paragraphs of rumination over "should I or shouldn't I" go to bed with the bloke. This is accomplished with minimalist flashbacks scattered throughout the book.

Let me make this clear. Most books throw problems at their characters and force them to make decisions. Often, the decisions are as cliched as the plot. Callihan manages to raise the stakes of "do or die" to a higher level, especially since Daisy's sisters also face the same kinds of choices. More important, the orchestrating villain doesn't turn out to be the expected one.

Set in Victoria England, the book's atmosphere isn't as ripe as those created by Anne Perry, but the setting feels authentic -- though a historian might pick at some details. 

The surprise? The book lived up to the blurb given by Diane Gabaldon, a New York Times Bestselling Author. "Callihan has a great talent for sexual tension and jaw-dropping plots that weave together brilliantly in the end." I couldn't say it better. Moonglow is the second book in what is probably a trilogy. 

[Kristen Callihan. Moonglow. New York: Hatchette Book Group, 2012.]
Rating: Totally Green with Envy
But, I think I'll trade it. 

In need of a chuckle? Read Kristen Callihan's blog on changing character names during the editing process. No  wonder commercially published authors sometimes pull their hair out.

"Troublesome Neighbors", the prequel to the Pig Wars, continues to progress -- in spite of a slight setback on the cost of a cover. [Not an unexpected problem when you're dealing with a professional artist ... but her stuff is so good, I had to ask.] Anyway, I think I'm looking at getting the manuscript to the editor by September. Maybe it'll be available by Halloween ... or before? 

Guess I should go looking for reviewers ... but not until the edits are done. That means coming up with a tantalizing blurb. Maybe I should give up before I start. I've never been coaxing. I'm more of a take it or leave it kind of gal.

Once the edits are done, I'll put the first section up on the Far Isle Half-Elven webpage.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Some Writerly Advice for Writing Success

A while back the New York Times Book Review ran an article on writing by Colson Whitehead, a MacArthur award winning novelist. The piece gives writers some easy rules on "How to Write". I especially like the eleventh one: "There are no rules. If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it., too?" -- Yeah, I know I write genre and the NYT emphases literary. My position is good writing is good writing.

Does dialog = a cure for writer's block? Came across this quote on Advice to Writers by Jon Winokur, via  Writing News quoting Dave Mamet: Dialog is easier than plotting. Really struck a note with me, because when I hit a blank spot, I sit my characters down and have them talk about their reactions to the situation they're in, then have something disturb their colloquy. Then, I edit, revise, add setting, descriptions, movements and surprises. Seems to work for me in that I get words down on paper. How good the words are is something else.

Of course, there are as many kinds of winter's block as there are writers. Laura Lee Carter has another take on writer's block. She writes about how she no longer suffers from writer's block at her blog: What's Writer's Block and Why I Don't Have It.  If stress has become one of your writer hangups, you might check out Laura Lee's blog on a regular basis.

I actually block more on promoting my writing than actually writing my stories. Maybe that's why I always look for negative comments about book promotion. So, when does promoting your book become spam? Yasimine Galenorm wrote a blog knocking begging writers, in effect.  Her rather pointed comments made me feel somewhat guilty -- even though I try to interact with my few readers. Check out her blog to read a master writer's take on blogging, Twitter, and Facebook.

Then, when you get tired of promoting your books, Angela Scott, a YA author, gives you *Ten Ways to Promote Your Book and Get Sure-Fire Results*. 

How do I promote my books? How about a mention of my Half-Elven Facebook page:
I'd appreciate a few more likes on it. 
[I actually have one.]

While tooting my horn, my website is: 
It comes complete with links to a couple free fantasy estories. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Except the Queen: Using Many Viewpoints to Break Through Plot Conventions, a Book Review

Is there a greater convention than the heartless Queen of Faery? I'm sure Meteora and Serana, sisters of the Greenwood, think so when the Queen banishes them to the mundane world for spying out one of her secrets. The sisters are forced to live in different cities and forbidden to talk to each other.

Jane Yolen, one of the premier American writers, and Midori Snyder explore how a fey might cope in an American big city in Except the Queen. The plot twists and turns and intertwines story lines until an attempt by the Unseelie to take over the Seelie Court and mundane world is defeated. 

For those not in the know, in the Celtic tradition the Seelie Court is the domain of the fair folk, who are inclined to help human folk when their selfishness doesn't get in the way. The Unseelie are those fey with malevolent attitudes towards humans, who would as soon harm a human as look at them. They are responsible for the "elf bolts", sour milk, and changelings of mythology. Granted, the Unseelie were banished back in the dawn of time, but they always seem to create mayhem humans and fey alike.

Except the Queen is a study in using multiple viewpoints to tell a story. At first, the presentation is disjointed even though interesting. Each chapter uses one of several different characters' viewpoints. The beginning narrative is hard to follow, but slowly the characters meet and interact until the Unseelie are defeated and star-crossed lovers are united.

Some of the parts I especially liked include:
     -- the use of birds as messagers when the sisters are forbidden to talk to each other;
     -- using tattoos to possess and work evil; and
     -- the use of ash baseball bats to defeat the Unseelie.

Granted the story line distills into the same plot as a thousand or more other stories, but here the execution is everything. Just savor this opening from a chapter from the viewpoint of an unseelie who's trying to break free of his slavery. The rhythm of these lines is just an example of the writing in the book.
"My father left blood spoor at my door in the hind end of the night. It was a child's blood, one not yet weaned. I had to follow; there was never any choice. Gods, how I hate him. And how he feeds on that hate.

     "The trail led me to the park as I knew it must. He does not like the gray buildings. They heap [sic?] him. They leech him. They age him as they age all fey who settle here in the human towns. Green runs in our veins like sap. It keeps us young."

Except the Queen is a YA that can be enjoyed by all ages ... even, I suspect, by those who don't care for fantasy. This book is definitely a keeper for its elegant prose and plot twists.
[Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder. Except the Queen. New York: Roc, New American Library, Penguin Group, 2012.


The Half-Elven Pig Prequel is now "Troublesome Neighbors" and has an ending. I've sent it out to be critiqued. Other parts of the self-publishing process are falling into place: have the formatters, a cover artist, and editor ... not necessarily in that order. Feels good to have accomplished something. Who knew weaving several story lines together could be such a pain in the behind.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Can Your Characters Stand the Series Test?

Picked up a copy of Christine Feehan's Samurai Game, the new Ghost Walker novel, in the grocery store. A couple of books back I stopped looking for her new titles because it seemed to me that she was giving the same character different names and matching him up with a different woman who was a cookie cut-out from the previous heroine. I think this is a minority opinion because they are re-issuring her Carpathian series -- and publishers don't do that unless an author's books are selling.

In the series, the Ghost Walkers defend themselves against Dr. Whitney's attempts -- the man who created them by enhancing their psychic abilities to use as military operatives -- to regain control of the soldiers and their women. At this point in the story line, the pairings of different Ghost Walkers have now produced children. Whitney plots to kidnap the babies for further experimentation. This time around, Feehan complicates the story line with an added element --  a female character is as lethal as the overprotective males.

So, how did Samurai Game stand up to being read? Well, I read it all the way through with very little skimming. ... All the action you expect from a Feehan novel is there, maybe more than some previous volumes in the series. What kind of action? Well, how about three assassinations in the first 20 pages. Firefights, intrigue, more assassinations follow, and plenty of sex in between the fights.

The book's well worth studying for how Feehan paces the plot. Even though this is tenth in a series, very little back-story clogs the action. Even though I hadn't read the last few books, it didn't matter. Dribbles of info here and there gave me enough to know where this book fits in the story line.

I still haven't decided whether this book's a keeper or is going on the trade pile, but I recommend it as a read.

[Christine Feehan. Samurai Game. New York: Jove Books, Penguin Group, 2012.]


Looking for success with the help of an agent? Rachelle Gardner, one of the best for sharing publishing info, recently blogged on what catches an agents eye. So, if you'd like a pointed commentary on what agents look for in a writer, the info is only a click away.

I'd add one other point that's a necessity if you are seeking an agent's quality time. Write consistently and productively. There's a pace in the commercial publishing world that can eat up a writer alive ... especially if you write genre fiction. Read the blogs of professional writers, especially when they write about revisions and copy editing.  Both eat up hours.

At least Gardner nor any other agent need to worry about me clogging their in boxes. Since I can't sit at the computer long enough to be efficient, I've decided not to query agents ... even if I had something to query with.


Which reminds me of the status of my writing. My pig prequel has a new title ... Troublesome Neighbors ... and I'm slogging somewhere in the last third. So much for spending a week on writing a free short story. Worse than being a slow writer is trying to tie together several story lines into a new whole.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mini-Vacations Don't Necessarily Refresh

Just as I resolved to blog more often, umpteen jillian relatives descended on us. ... Okay, ten of them, which is a good share of all those we have. So instead of blogging, I was sitting on my behind yakking and eating too much. I even got infected by knitting again since I was surrounded by knitters. -- Have knitting needles ready at my chair now ... and am hoping they keep me sane while watching TV.

So, did I learn anything while they were here besides keeping my mouth shut? I did snatch some time for reading late at night. ... Actually, I've a pile of books I haven't mentioned in my comments. So, since I've got a trade pile almost ready to dump, I'll share some quick observations about what I read recently.

First grabbed: Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates, a local author. Can't believe I didn't review this when I read it. Cates also writes under the name of Cricket McCrae. Whatever the name, I enjoy her touch with leading her MC from clue to clue. In this case: Katie Lightfoot who not only must prove her uncle innocent of murder but must also confront the fact she's a witch after her mother tried to suppress her talents. There's a lot going on in this opening of a new series. -- Well worth reading.

The Light and the Oracle by Victoria Hanley, another local author whose books I've been reading for years. The YA book has an often used plot: a humble teen thrust into the midst of corrupt officials, in this case teachers, when she's sent to the Temple of the Oracle to learn to control her magic. The obstacles and solutions are both realistic and fantastical. -- I think reading about a MC discovering how to make their way in their world keeps me reading YA. Believe me, Hanley creates a three-dimensional world.

River Marked by Patricia Briggs carries on the adventures of a coyote shifter caught in a world of werewolves. In this sixth Mercy Thompson novel, Mercy finally marries her werewolf to the consternation of many of his pack. Briggs was wise to change the locale of this book, using the couple's honeymoon as an excuse. Of course, they park their trailer in the middle of a series of murders. One nice touch, Briggs uses usually frolicking otters as her villains, but I was a little annoyed she pulled Old Man Coyote out of her hat as Mercy's father.

After all that talk about getting rid of my trade pile, all three of these are keepers ... no matter where I find a space to stuff them. -- Unfortunately, we talked so much we didn't get to organizing the bookshelves.


Did get some writing done ... if slowly. I'm working on a prequel to The Price of a Pig. thought it'd take me a couple weeks. Hah.  Tried writing in first person ... until I got tired of all the "I"s. Changing the text while revising all sorts of stuff took even more time. Guess, I must resigned myself to being a sloooow writer. -- Am starting to get itchy about revising The Price of a Pig since the most of the critiques have finally come in.

What do you find easiest? First person or third person viewpoint?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thoughts on Things I Read

A question raised by Susan Adrian has popped up in several places I visit: What to do When You're Waiting? You know that time when you sell your book and it's going through the publishing process. [Self- Publishers don't have to worry. Their book's already e-available.  Usually, too soon.]

I saw Adrian's question, and my mind immediately jumped to the words: write something new. Adrian of course doesn't have such a simple answer. She even goes into what you shouldn't do while you are waiting. Take a look at her blog. I've been reading her for years, and Adrian offers lots of sensible advice.

That's the positive. On the negative side, what's with all these people putting "50 Shades ..." in their title. Yeah, I know the books are best sellers. I've even skimmed through some pages and thought it was boooorrrriiiinnnngg. -- Guess its my anthropological bias again. You know, "participant observation"? -- That's a joke people.

Felt good when I found Writer Beware riding one of my favorite hobby horses: learn your craft if you want to be a writer. The Watchdog blog had a guest posting by Marcia Yudkin, a major author with credentials even.  Yudkin takes on those "get rich quick" promoters of self-publishing in "In Praise of Ripening".

Also found myself in sympathy with Marcella Burnard over at Word Whores. She blogged about "Shouting in the Windstorm" on how the media awkward can be seen/heard in the babble. I'm as guilty as the next in creating babble in the social media as I try to promote on Twitter ... not very effectively. Guess, I spit into the windstorm.

 Finally, you might check the New York Times Book Review section for 28 July 2012. They have some good how-to articles on writing well. If I was dedicated, I'd go down and get the section ... but I don't want to make my hip whine more than it is. I still want to start revising my Pig Prequel tonight.

Oh. Cross your toes for me. I'm still waiting on the critique of  For the Price of a Pig -- my Half-Elven novella in progress -- so I can revise it. I hope to self-publish it before Christmas.

Think I'll be using Book Baby rather than chasing around on the web. 1) I have no idea for a cover. 2) I never seem to have enough time to do everything. ... Maybe when the family get together is over. ... Ha.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What's the Flavor of Your Favorite Mystery

Noir or Cozy. Mysteries come in many forms. With my pessimistic nature -- "If something will go wrong or be done stupidly, it will." --, I gravitate towards the noir. Like, I found it very difficult not to go back and read O'Connell's  complete Mallory series from one to ? after reading The Chalk Girl. -- Yeah, I got them all on my overcrowded bookshelves. But, I read a cozy mystery next to cleanse my palate.

My anthropologist ears perk up when a cozy mystery creates a three-dimensional world. It may be medieval or contemporary or even futuristic, but the characters interact on some real plane that's fun to visit. Jenn McKinlay"s Due or Die doesn't disappoint.  In this second book in the series, Lindsay Norris, the new library director, must solve a mystery of the murder of an associate's abusive husband.

Yeah, be careful of your vices in cozy mysteries. They make your demise more likely. Cozy conventions don't usually allow for true, debased evil like paranormals ... but ... they still need a murder victim, red herrings, a dollop of intriguing information from the MC's "hobby", a precipitating event to send the characters into a higher level of action, and a hint of romance. Three dimensional characterization makes the mystery intriguing. Cozy mysteries also allow the reader to pat themselves on the head since they are also usually easy to solve.

If the conventions are so easy to identify, why don't I write cozy mysteries? Because, among other things, I think the genre is a hard write, especially since you need to create something new and interesting to get a major publishing deal. The writer has to juggle more than the average craft balls well.

Yeah, Jenn McKinlay does it well. She continues to expand on a well-rounded fishing community and group of friends she developed in the first novel ... without an info dump. More important she managed to nudge a little secondary character development while the MC was almost killed solving the crime.

Altogether, Due or Die was a pleasant read ... though it didn't lure me beyond my usual 11:30 bedtime.  Maybe ... three-and-a-half-stars?


Haven't mentioned Pat, the Pet, my vowel-controlled pre-primer that's under contract, recently.  Think it's stubbed it's toe against another writer convention: micro-publishers don't have the resources that major publishing houses do.

Pat is a reprint of a self-published project which my artist and I didn't have the knowledge/resources to promote back in the 1970's. We've got the contract ... but the book needs a cover. 

Yeah, covers can be a problem. In this case, what my artist lacked is craft skills she made up in charm and intuition. Unfortunately, craft skills are easier to come by than artistry.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cliches or Conventions: How Does Your Story Unravel?

One convention for a successful story is to start with a prolog where your villain lurks in some hidden place plotting some nefarious deed ... or with the process of the villain performing the first of his nefarious deeds.

Before you wrinkled your nose and say, "Eeewww. A prolog." Prologues are a useful convention -- or a cliche -- where importantl information is given. No. Not an info dump, but a judicious clue as to what your protagonist faces in the book.

That said, I'd like to think out loud about how most mysteries are put together. Why? Because all good story lines have an element of mystery which the reader wants answered. If you don't have one, you decrease your odds the reader will keep reading. 

One of the current novel conventions is grabbed directly from the movies. You start in the middle of some action and give the reader only enough information to guess what might be going on. The reader is in the middle of the story line right from the beginning. 

Then, there's Carol O'Conner. She starts her books with an incident ... part of an ordinary day in the life of a homicide detective. That incident creates the thread that begins to unravel as soon and Mallory and her partner tug on it. Each tug leads to a new incident until, this time, they are chin-deep in a complicated tale of corruption worthy of Wall Street. 

Yeah, O'Connell has created one of the most noir heros going [IMHO] in the New York City detective, Kathy Mallory.

One of the things I like about O'Conner's novels ... are the multiple viewpoints. In The Chalk Girl one of the stars is a eight-year-old who stumbles into the middle of the plot when she's kidnapped by one of the victims. The writer's skill shines as she switches from the damaged child's viewpoint to the various adults involved in unraveling of this mystery. The child is key because she causes Mallory's friend Charles to stand up to the detective. Quite a different role from his usual limp dish-rag one.

If I gave stars, this would be a five.
Why? Because I just swatted the impulse to reread the book away.


Had a little shock when I looked at my stats other day. Discovered this will be the 300th blog I've written -- which make's me wonder. Is there anyone out there that started reading this blog in the Fall of 2009? Don't have any fabulous prize for you, but it would still be interesting to know.

Also, wanted to say that I'm not stopping my blog. I haven't been blogging because the stupid neck & hip decreased my sitting time. Also, I wanted to get the ending on "For the Price of a Pig". [The Half-Elven novella is currently fermenting.]  Also, there's the little deal of organizing the family reunion BBQ. Yeah. Details.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Writing Tips: The Bad, the Good, and the Ugly

Want  to read some fun writing tips. Take a little click over to the Stant Litori's Zombie Blog where he discusses the worst writing advice he's ever gotten.  If you like his comments, he offers some links to colleagues' similar blogs.

Many of my preliminary readers don't think my villains are very likeable. Jack X McCallum at the Dark Red Press blog agree with them. Your villain has to have some likable quirks. McCallum's got some interesting tips about Creating Characters and Why Your Bad Guy Needs to Be Liked. 

Now for the best advice I've read this week, ie. the most useful for me. It comes from Chris Robley at Book Baby [a commercial venture]. He gives some great tips on marketing your books without breaking you budget. -- Some people might fault me for including a commercial company, but the list is still a good one.

Now for the ugly advice ... from grumpy old me. Keep writing ... no matter what it looks like.  You can always go back and revise and edit and revise and edit, etc. If you get an idea either further ahead or behind in the plot, go back in your draft and write a note to yourself in a different colored ink. The important thing is
  1.  to dump your MC &/or friends in a difficult situation in the first act;
  2. make the situation worse for the MC in the second act;
  3.  and the come to a resolution through the MC's actions at the last chapter in the third act.
 My problem? I don't think I follow my own advice. Maybe I should outline.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pssst! Want the Secret to Writing Success?

Now that I have your attention, Chuck Sambuchino does indeed offer the four keys to the kingdom of writing success. There's one caveat, I think. You must have a finished story to work on. I think these tips will help you revise your stories structure. Of course he talks about middle grade fiction. But, a good story is a good story is a good story.

Of course, all this comes with a disclaimer. If you checked the link above, you'll note that he lists a number of craft skills a writer must master. That's why writing is hard, time consuming work ... once you want to be published ... even if you publish yourself. Go back to Mac's guest post and count how many ways/times he edits.

If you need more detailed instructions for getting your story going, Margo Berendsen has an awesome list on getting started and keeping a reader reading. A real nice compilation of 17 tips to check for your revision. Berendsen has some other useful lists in her archives if you want to hone your craft skills.

After you've revised your story into a galloping read, you have to draw a reader's attention to it. That means you need a good cover -- even for ebooks, maybe especially for ebooks. What's a good cover? Here's a link to Yasmine Galenorn's blog where she reveals the new cover of her latest Otherworld novel, Haunted Moon-- I dare you not to pick up this book and not read the blurb, if you're a fantasy reader. Note how easy it is to read the copy on the cover.

Last but not least, if your cover is attention getting, you have to publicize your book -- because chances are you won't have a publicity department with deep pockets behind you. Katie Salidas in her 4 July 2012 blog at Written in Blood, gives writers some criteria to judge blog tour services. You better believe I printed Let's Talk About Blog Tours out for future reference.


So, after I given all that advice, I can just hear you asking how my own writing's going. Slow but sure. I seem to be getting my grove back ... in that my to-do list gets crossed off into oblivion until the next day. The secret to that? 

I'm getting better at writing things before doing social media things.
Where are your priorities?

PS: Maybe some of you clicked an empty blog with a similar title. This blog gives you the content. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Now for Something Different: One Writer's Journey

We all generate affinities as we work our way around the social media. R. Mac Wheeler writes a blog I seldom miss. He's also made indie publishing the "cornerstone" of his career. Mac mirrors the attitude I seem to be developing ... except I do have a small indipendent publisher for at least one work -- provided they can find an artist for the cover. But, that's another writer's headache.

Enjoy Mac's story.

Mac & Pup, Molly

Who am I?
R. Mac Wheeler…an author of character-driven SF/F/paranormals and suspense filled with quirky sorts who lug a lot of baggage, in worlds that aren’t that far out.

My trek to publishing is typical. I've spent twenty years writing when I could. I set aside each novel and wrote another…returned to the earlier novels and edited. Queried. Edited. Wrote. Edited. Repeat.

I wanted to be traditionally published, of course. I studied and practiced my craft. I tried new genres. Grew. Still didn't capture the attention of an agent. I had the opportunity to write full time seven years ago, and jumped in with vim and vigor, and a lot of naiveté.
Nineteen novels backed up on the shelf. Last summer I decided there was no point letting them collect dust. I would self publish. No new writing since. Just edit…edit…edit… 
*he screams maniacally*

I'll soon have my sixteenth novel on Amazon and B&N. I have two novels outlined already. I'm very eager to write.

I've learned a lot. Indie publishing is like every other endeavor. Pages of minutia, each element if done well, improves the quality of the product. But having an asset is only one-third of the effort.

Building a Platform
I'm not going to kill myself creating a brand. There are companies that spend many thousands of hours doing this. I'm not naïve enough to believe I have the stamina, nor the capital to launch an identity.

I've embraced Facebook. I blog, mix my journey to publication with my joy of photography to entice folks to visit me…hopefully peek at the novels I brag about there. I've created a home page (not all that flashy…most you can say is, it's functional…but I like simple…I'm not a flashy person…I don't write flash either…my characters are malcontents…a little like me).

Marketing Myself
Selling at this point isn't my priority (Don't tell my wife…she wants to retire). I trust the industry. Maybe that's foolish…but I figure if I haven't enticed an agent to represent me yet…I haven't learned enough to merit a contract.

But, I snort. Ninety percent of those who get a contract, still can't support themselves with their writing.

I love to write. I'm never going to stop. I unabashedly anticipate living another two-hundred years. Writing isn't something I will EVER retire from. Think of the novels I can create in the next two centuries. It's mind boggling.

If one of my titles catches fire…fine. I might make a bunch of money. I don't think that will change my life. All I will want to do is stay home and write, with my pups laying all around me.

If I blaze no publishing glory, I can continue to earn thirty bucks a quarter from each of my titles, by the time I die I will have created a library that may help my grandkids' kids afford their first homes…or meet the mortgage…maybe.

When I have my current novels out there…and have let a little of my backed up energy escape with some new writing…I'll…eh…maybe consider some marketing.

In the Meantime
I write. Love my wife. Pet my pups. And post photographs every week capturing my marvelous hikes…my Sunday Safaris. Come for a visit. Drop me a, "Nice pix" comment. You'll warm my heart. I promise to send you a, "Well thanks for dropping by."

-R. Mac Wheeler
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