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, September 21, 2015

Is the "Son of Satan" a Turn-off? Or, a Hook? -- Darynda Jones Review

    Found an interesting author during last week's "reading derby". After dumping a couple books for inane characters, I discovered Darynda Jones. Her Seventh Grave and No Body is as you might guess the seventh in a series featuring a grim reaper, aka  Charley  Davidson.

   The big surprise? The book is a "stand alone". The reader can appreciate and follow the plot without loads of info dumps. Jones manages to introduced new characters and past plot points in a few sentences so the current work flows on.

   What hooked me after the "Son of Satan" bit almost made me dump the book on the trade pile? Would you believe a "bun in the oven"? Yeah, a paranormal, chick-lit, kick-ass hero who's preggers. More important the "bun" is an important plot point. There's a prophecy that the child will end up the Satan slayer, creating the major story arc: Charley's fight to keep the bun and herself alive--especially when Satan sends twelve hell hounds to off them.

   Add some snappy dialog. Seventh Grave and No Body is written in first person. But the character revealed by it is a unique individual of the type I don't remember encountering before.  Charley Davidson is not another, dime-a-dozen kick-ass chick. Snark is almost a synonym for Davidson,. but it's creative snark.

   Warning. If you hate puns with a passion, this isn't the book for you. Example: "the bun". Davidson starts to call it "Black-eyed Pea" which is quickly shortened to "Beep".  Yeah. the hero is struggling to keep herself and Beep alive while maintaining her independence in spite of an over-protective significant other, the son of Satan who has escaped from hell.

   The story line breaks gorpy romantic cliches too. Not only is the love interest a super-alpha male, but he's sweet too. The reader gets it that Charley has become a crucial part of him. Yeah, they pant, but the dialog makes it feel like a real relationship.

   And then, there's the humor which is more than the word play that dances through Davidson's narration. The secondary characters, that add the seasonings to the story line, are creative and unpredictable. Well-rounded doesn't satisfy Jones. She creates unexpected people who are almost interesting enough to support their own books on the information she gives about them.

    Highly recommended. I have smiled so much while reading what is essentially a scary book. I won't say anymore positive things because the above already sounds like a rave.

You can read more reviews and excerpts on Amazon and B&N Nook.

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Then, There's My Writing Rut

   A war-for-time's starting in front of my computer-- among stories set in my world of Andor and a couple set among the half elves of the Far Isles. This has nothing to do with the books I have festering in my computer. Maybe it does. While I don't relish shopping them in this publishing world, I still want to fix my previous creations.

    Oh, I continue to plod away with On the Run. The demons would've caught Pillar long ago if she ran at the pace I write. Still, going back and revising the middle of the book before I proceeded to the ending was a good choice. I know so much more about my characters and the world they live in. Really have to go back and rewrite There Be Demons, which happened before On The Run. The new story features the demons left behind when the portals were closed by the Angeli in TBD. But I'll wait until I get the ending tied onto On The Run  before I play wiih it.

    Renna, who's my favorite character, is beating me over the head with her staff. Once, when I was posting short Half-Elven tales on a separate blog, I completed a couple short story equivalents in addition to The Foiling of Gorsfeld which is free on Smashwords and Nook. Need to rewrite the old blogs and write the draft of a new story. There also the second part of  Black Tail's War which I have to decide whether or not I'll combine or self-publish in two parts. Decisions. Decisions.

    Andor stuff? Trapper Tremaine is languishing because I don't know enough about guns. Problems with creating a world. Everything's interrelated. If a society has cell phones, the technology make guns inevitable even if a significant portion of the people can work magic. Of course, my writing focus is biased--pro-magic.

   Then, there's marketing. Most of the stuff I have up for public consumption lands in the quick read category. Great entertainment on a trip or wait, but like my reviewers to often say, leave the reader wanting more. But, boy will I be glad to drop the marketing squirrel-wheel I got caught on when There Be Demons snagged a contract from a now defunct publisher.

   If you've been following them, I've put up the eighth snippet from On the Run. It's active on my author website now. The previous ones are collected on their own page.
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