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, April 5, 2013

Looking for the Next New Thing in Genre Fiction: What's Your Flavor of Dead?

What's your favorite "new" thing in genre fiction? For awhile, vampires were the most popular dead things. Zombies soon got their day in the sun. Or is that the moon for both? Then, there are the ghosts that float through fiction genres from mysteries to paranormals and more. 

Stephen Blackmoore uses some different preternaturals in his new book Dead Things, a stand alone novel that adds the supernatural to a down to earth mystery with lots of suspects heating up the action. If you want to learn more about Blackmoore, you can visit his website. You might find some ideas to liven up your website.

Eric Carter is on the run from his past. While he's more than willing to use his powers to fight the bad guys, he's reluctant to return to Los Angeles. He wants to protect those he loves/likes from his powers as a necromancer and his ability to talk to the dead and gods. When he learns his sister is murdered, he must decided whether on not to return home and solve the crime. Blackmoore gives the reader a lovely ride with a twisting mystery with lots of well-drawn, lively characters.

Liked the opening, especially since I'm struggling with three different openings at the moment:
     "When I pull up to the bar, the truck kicking up dust and gravel behind me, I know it's already too late to help anyone. Of the eight or nine cars in the parking lot, two of them are Texas State Troopers', their roof racks still flashing."

Immediately, you know the narrator is a "good guy" and that something bad is coming down. The fight in the first chapter demonstrates Carter's powers against a murdering demon which earns a warning by some voodoo loa in payment. Then he learns of his sister's death. Carter's pulled back to Los Angeles to finish a fight he left undone many years ago.

What I found remarkable in this book was Blackmoore's use of preternatural lore. Human friends and enemies display varying magic skills that fit into a consistent magical system. Plus his well-drawn Voodoo gods, demons, and Santa Muerte, who has a bigger role than you might think, stand out as individuals.

Rating: Five Stars. This is a keeper for me. Also read it in two days in spite of being busy. I think both his website and this book can serve as good examples to study.

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As I said, I'm really interested in openings at the moment. I'm putting Mac and the Hag Stone back in the files, but I want to rewrite the first chapter first. After critique group discussions, it's going to be one book again.

I'm going back to my Far Isle Half-Elven world. After some of the reviews of Troublesome Neighbors, I feel obligated to come up with another story. This time, at my critique group's urging, I starting at the beginning of the saga -- with Teemon's arrival in the Far Isles. I'm opening with a confrontation between Teemon and Seradith on the elf planes. The fact that it's a revision of a novella length draft makes this an attractive project.

I'm also revising a short story, called The Noticing One about emotional vampires, because I feels a need to have something else to submit or self-publish. I don't know which at the moment. Probably both.
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