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, May 9, 2016

Getting to Know You -- Using Flashbacks to Develop Characters

Did you miss R. S. Belcher's debut novel, The Six-Gun Tarot, when it first came out? 

I know I did. I can't even remember seeing the striking cover in the new books sections of the two bookstores I frequent. Fortunately, the family lending library treated me to the read. Guess New York City stores get to sample more books than the boonies where I live. Not only did the book keep me reading past my bedtime, but it snuck up on me with a lovely, believable steampunk subplot.

The Six-Gun Tarot takes place in Golgotha, Nevada on the other side of the 40 mile Desert from Reno/Virginia City. Belcher gives us one of the most ethnically mixed populations I've encountered in my reading and integrates the various belief systems into a complicated, occult fabric that's one of the most original takes on the western fantasy arcana I've seen. Yeah. The Tarot plays a big part in it.

Belcher develops his characters with extensive flashbacks which almost stand as novellas. Each of the main characters having some occult power or other ... even the supposedly Christian ones ... was just frosting on the read. Through the flashbacks, the reader learns about the acute danger the town faces.

Of course, the wounded hero and his pals must save the sheep like citizens. Sound like the cliches runneth over? Don't believe it. All the characters have odd-ball pains and strengths that will save the people of Golgatha ... if they can only arrive at the pit in time.

So recommended, I've been lending or suggesting the book to all my writer friends, even the ones that don't read fantasy. See excerpt and reviews at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Interesting Links

To Blog or Not to Blog. Rachelle Gardner recently posted some interesting comments about effective social media and writers. It all boils down to what you are passionate about. Makes me wonders why I'm blogging. Is it just a marketing myth? You can read it by clicking here. Care to comment on what you think? 

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My Writing Rut

Guess I'm back. Just ran out of steam over the winter doldrums. Medical issues didn't help. Besides I was/am tired of doing book reviews. Reminded me too much of English classes, I guess.

I'm in the process of revising my whole media presence. keeping Facebook ... because I interact with people I know there as well as having an author page, where it's easy to interact to comments -- when they happen. Yeah, I'm a pipsqueak, but the only media that turned out humanish was Facebook, in spite of all the manipulations.

May continue on Twitter, too, where I have two accounts: a "personal" one and a promotion one. Chances are you're reading this by responding to a tweet.

Oh, yeah. The writing. May have been scarce on social media, but I've been writing. I've finished the draft of On the Run. The 50 page novella turned into a 280 page draft with an entirely different protagonist than the one I started out with. Guess there won't be a sequel to Noticing Jamilla. The short story did give me a better idea of my demons than the outlined world I used in Night for the Gargoyles and There Be Demons, but I guess Cassy Mae will remain a singleton quick read.

Now I'm incorporating all the addenda into the draft so I can get On the Run to my beta readers. Then, I get to go back to edit There Be Demons because the world is more complicated than it was before.


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