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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Monday, November 10, 2014

Finding Old Reliables -- Authors You Can Count On to Give a Good Read

  The store bookshelves have been stingy lately. Spent over a half hour flipping covers, but nothing new tempted me. Oh, I have plenty to read, but nothing hooked my interest in my infamou
Widow's Tears (China Bayles Book 21) s to-read piles. During reading droughts like this, I go to an "old reliable" author to see if I can find a book I haven't read. Susan Wittig Albert, the author of the China Bayes series and several others, happened to grab my fickle attention this time with her book, Widow's Tears.

  Thought it a little strange because I not a particular fan of hers. Few cozy mystery writers escape the cutesy bit that annoys me.

  My reward was a mystery with a difference -- the main series sleuth wasn't the center of the story. In fact the mystery, involving a bank robbery, took a second fiddle to the main story line -- Ruby, China's best friend and business partner, accepting her suppressed paranormal talents when she helps a friend control a ghost in a house she inherited.

  Albert again weaves multiple story lines together. Solving a series of bank robberies, Ruby's confrontation with burn-out and putting a ghost to rest, plus a prequel story set during the destruction of Galveston during the hurricane of 1909. In a less skillful author this would create a clunky read, but Albert intertwines them seamlessly.

  For the record, I found the Galveston parts the most intriguing as people did their best to cope with an unexpected storm of gigantic proportions. It wiped out most of the town.

  The book also gives another example on how keep a series going. Give the secondary characters the limelight. You might annoy a few fans, but it'll save a series from sinking into a formula.

  This well-written and enjoyable read gets 4**** from me. While the Texas hill country gives the book a unique cultural flavor, I found myself skimming the modern day stuff ... even once the bank robberies are being investigated. The telling of the Galveston hurricane disaster of 1909 had me flipping through the book to find those chapters first. Then I went back and read the rest of the book.


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  Don't feel like I accomplished much of anything last week ... though I spent my usual amount of time at the computer. Revisions do that to you. Now I have three projects going.
     A new beginning Taking Vengeance.
     Adding depth to a flash fiction piece -- the last of my short stories I had sitting it my computer -- to self-publish as a free story, Hear That Damn Owl.
     Cleaning up The Ghostcrow Awakening, a new Dumdie short story.


  Will be posting a new WIP snippet this week on my author website. Probably from The Ghostcrow Awakening,  the new title -- maybe -- of The Ghostcrow. I'm still taking input on which people think is a more interesting title if you care to comment.

  I'm still debating on maybe posting a piece of "Owl". Guess some would think it strange I already have a cover, but I find it helps me revise. Maybe something about reinforcing the atmosphere? Who knows?

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