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, January 19, 2015

Chasing Fictional Witchy Versions of Salem -- Can Your Cozy Survive the Sacchrine Test?

It Takes a Witch (Wishcraft Mystery Series #1)   Think my brain got a little soft while doing the Christmas shopping--what little I did of it. I bought a several light cozy mysteries. It Takes a Witch by Heather Blake was one of them. Turned out it was fortuitous. When I was sick, I had something to keep me amused.

[My critical powers were intact because a couple of the books landed on the to-trade pile without a finish because of their saccharinity and general surfeit of cliches.]

  It Takes a Witch survived--in spite of its opening scene having the main character, a wish-granting witch, prancing around as a tulle- and-glitter-wearing tooth fairy. The appearance of a dead body, that of a mortal witch wanna-be, soon cured the cuteness. My reward was a delightful couple hours in The Enchanted Village where Darcy and her sister have moved to help their aunt with her business granting wishes to the people of Salem--mortal and crafters alike.

  So what's to like? First, is a take on witchcraft that limits practitioners to one skill or, maybe, two with one of them being dominant like handedness. When you add a bunch of other writing craft skills--well drawn secondary characters, a reasonable romance [yes, there are such in my opinion], a quick pace even though the scenes are well defined, and if that isn't enough, there's the chuckle-producing narrative. Yeah, this is an above ordinary paranormal with well defined rules for how magic works.

  Recommended if you like cozy mysteries. I may have to go looking for other books in the series even though I thought I satisfied my curiosity on how many takes writers can devise for Salem, MA"s witchy reputation.

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  Some interesting views on book marketing appeared in some of the blogs I've scanned lately. Perhaps the most interesting is Jane Friedman's blog on How E-Books Have Changed the Print Marketplace. There's more info here that writers need to know than just publishing statistics.

  The article left me with a couple thoughts. No wonder The New York Times Book Review has eliminated their rankings of mass paperbacks. [Oh, yeah. This dinosaur still prefers to read them. They don't hurt my thumbs or my eyes.] The other thought is more disturbing. I'm writing in two of the genres that are decreasing the most.

  The Passive Guy has also added his two-cents to the Amazon debate with a blog on Is Amazon's Game Totalitarian? I really liked his balanced comments on Amazon's place in the publishing world. No, I don't think Amazon's the champion of the indie writer. But I do appreciate them for giving me the opportunity to self-publish. If they hadn't broken the market open, Smashwords and other outlets wouldn't exist, I don't think.

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  Am struggling with scheduling writing time ... Oh, I write plenty, but adding worthwhile words to new stories or the revisions I need to do so isn't happening.

  One bright note, finally got a cover for The Ignoble Nobel Prize Winner I really like ... including a title change.  Now the story's Doom Comes for a Sold Soul. I also made a couple minor revisions and will soon raise the price to 99c [to cover all the expense of having covers redesigned]. It'll probably take a couple weeks for me to get all the changes in line.

  A heads up if you haven't downloaded it. It's still free. The story is much the same except for implying Highgrim wet his pants. But the price is going up to 99c so as the new formatting is done and uploaded.  You can go to my author website for the links to Amazon, B&N, etc.

 More editorial changes on my writing. Have a new cover for Night for the Gargoyles too.
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