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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Monday, April 7, 2014

Visiting Your Favorite Fantasy and Realistic Worlds

When a writer creates a realistic setting, readers will imagine much more detail than the actual words used. That's one of the wonderful things about books. I'm sure you have your favorite settings/worlds and react to the world the writers created.

 [Any comments about your favorites welcome.]

If you've read this blog, even sporadically, you've gotten an idea of what kinds of worlds I like to lose myself in. I think of them as fantastically wonderful settings for characters to act in, and where I can enjoy arm-chair adventures. You may or not agree with me or the books I like. But, I'll bet you have your own worlds/settings you like to return to. 

Over the last few weeks, I've returned to several worlds worth mentioning, but they didn't really give me any new insights into the writing process. Even so, I'd like to review them.

Flowering Judas by Jane Haddam. Her running mystery series, featuring detective Gregor Demarkian, has run for years with Haddam delivering competent entertaining puzzles in each book. Here, Demarkian, a retired FBI agent and consultant, is brought in to find out why the body of a man missing for years is suddenly found hanging from a bill board in his home town. Yeah. Demarian's up for solving the puzzle as he chases the clues through an unknown town. While Haddam's interesting plots shine, I think her three-dimensional characters sparkle more.

Even though my favorite part of Demarkian's world, the Armenian enclave along Cavanaugh Street, has a small role in Flowering Judas, I give the book Five ***** Stars.

Death of Yesterday by M. C. Beaton. Another long running series, this time set in far northern Scotland, features Sergeant Hamish MacBeth, a genius at solving crimes and avoiding promotion. He also has problems getting married, a strong sub-plot in this book, and his nosy, small town neighbors always make matters more difficult. 

Beaton creates tangled plots that begin with a tiny wiggling thread of a crime, often a murder. The more MacBeth investigates, the more tangled the thread becomes. The ending comes as a surprise because the real criminal behavior is more serioyus than offing a stand-offish artist who gets killed because she sketched the wrong person.

Death of Yesterday only gets Four**** from me because Beaton's writing is trending towards cookie-cutter descriptions, though her characters remain interesting. Even the detectives in the home office, who are jealous of MacBeth's success rate, supply a few surprises.

Last but not least, Hunted by Kevin Hearne. Atticus O'Sullivan is still running from various preternaturals and pantheons, with only a few allies besides his Irish wolfhound and Granuaile, the new druid he just finished training. And that causes problems for the book. The opening was one big long chase ... for about half the book. Even Atticus rising from the "dead" almost failed to save this book from a competent, but Three*** Star rating. Hearne's sense of humor saved his rating in my eyes. If you like an irreverent take on life in general...and gods in particular ... this book is worth the time to read it. I give it Four**** Stars.

You think that's a lot of books to read in two weeks? I still had another one about Henry the VII I didn't review. Guess I could say, I can read a thousand page book a week ... but I don't want to. I prefer variety. 

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Not much new stuff written this week. The big achievement was finishing the content edits for The Ghost in the Closet. Did have to change the name of my main character from Doodie to Dumdie. Seems my editor came from another part of the country. This California girl didn't associate the name "Doodie" [which was explained in the  story as coming from the way Dumdie sang to herself as a child] ... with "doggie do", which term I do understand ... though I tend to use the term sh*t.

Now that the copy edits are done, I can send the story to the formatter. Think I can get it published by before the 11th? If you like me on Facebook you'll know when The Ghost in the Closet comes out for free on Smashwords.

Still I wonder: What reasons have caused you to change a character's name?

Though I managed to get this blog done, it seems tinkering with my website ate my whole week-end.  I still have to change the inevitable typos and glitches yet, but I like the change in appearance so far. You can check it out, if you want.

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