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.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Bad to the Bone, So Bad, a Devil Wants Him

Clive Barker's Harry D'Amour is the classic bad guy with a heart of gold, so bad his actions, though logical, isolate him from most of his associates.

Yeah, not all heros are played up as good guys. Clive Barker came to the top of the gotta read list when I searched for something different to read, and I ended up grabbing The Scarlett Gospels. Wanted to get out of my comfort zone since it felt like I was reading the same authors over and over again. Well, The Scarlet Gospels was different, but not that much since R. S. Belcher has join my "'panwriterdom" of writers I buy without even looking at the book blurb

Lots of good stuff going on in The Scarlet Gospels, something you'd expect from a writer this prominent with so many books in his portfolio. Thought the characterization a little weak, but there was just enough sympathy/curiousity to keep me at least skimming through the pages. Norma, the character who sees ghosts, kept pulling me through the more cliched parts, a bad thing for a thriller, when you start getting the feeling been there, seen that. Harry D'Amour, indeed, is seedy beyond the max, but he never quite jelled for me like Jack Reacher does.

Found the trip into Hell interesting in light of my own demons, but thought the description rather bland. Liked the political turmoil of the plot line a lot though.

Worse point. I skimmed way too much of the book. Even was beginning to wonder if I was getting too sleepy to early, feeling older than I felt before I started reading the book.

Take a look at a sample and other reviews for yourself on
Amazon       Nook        kobo


Other Interesting Reading

The "By the Book" of the New York Times Book Review section gave me a memory-chuckle again this week. Anthony Boudain, a food writer, made a comment about cooking snobbery--one of his favorite food writers was never a snob about food, even though he wrote about French cuisine. Don't know about you, but I've always equated French cuisine with snobbery.

My mind skipped to the snobbery of literary writing circles towards genre writing circles. Like, wondering how often to you get put down because you read genre fiction? I know I drew all sorts of comments the one month I tried to work on my college's literary journal, even heard the words "genre hacks" more than a few times. Did think it was ironic that I was the only one in the group that had been published...as a freshman. 

That's definitely not important now. But I did chuckle again when I saw the ad for Anne Rice's new book Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra. No, I'm not going to say that Anne Rice is an literary writer. But I did get a chuckle from the copy saying it was a blend of "historical fiction, fantasy, and romance."


Going back to the point of The Scarlett Gospels putting me to sleep. Got Laurell K. Hamilton's new book. Stayed up until 1AM reading, even though her editors didn't do a good job of using the cutting room floor. Which makes me wonder why Hamilton's books haven't been turned into "film". Plenty of streaming services on there distorting books ala Crossroads, Texas.


My Writing Rut

Have decided marketing books is an addtiction. I look at the promo stats even though I'm not doing any promotions. [Yeah, sales stopped.] Which means I'm wasting lots of time not writing. Not that I'm worried. It's the cookie baking time a year around our house. I do Greek 
cookies and 
baklava for Christmas presents. No one in my family needs any more stuff and buy what they need when they need it.

Would be negligent, though, if I didn't plug my short stories, you can check them out by clicking here. Showdown at Crossings is a prequel to There Be Demons. It tells the tale of Granny Nan's death. Britt Kelly, the protagonist of There Be Demons, worrys Granny Nan's advice like a sore tooth as her world crashes around her ears.

You can also access my 99c and Free short ebook versions on kobo.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Magical Murder Most Fluffy--A Cozy Mystery Shines

Murders needing to be solved isn't the only reason to read cozy mysteries. It's all the people surrounding the mystery solver. Yeah, I love the way Bailey Cates builds her characters. Potions and Patries gives several members of Katie Lightfoot's coven and friends moments in the sun with life changing information. Even the mystery solving protagonist gets life changing moment when she figures out what her foretold "sacrifice" is to be.

All satisfying, well, and good. But, how does Cates put her mystery together?

The book starts out with the promise of a "sacrifice" Lightfoot must make, the Traveler fortune teller dies before she can elaborate on her message. With character growth Cates' strong suit, Katie spends the book solving the mystery while wondering what sacrifice she's going to have to make as she and her fiance look look for a larger house than her beloved carriage house. Other characters are face other life changes, which is good for series readers. It reduces the chances they'll get bored.

The book may be feel-good and fluffy, but proving the fortune teller's "suicide" is really murder is the point of the book. All the clues are subtly there as Lightfoot pursues her witchy intuition that murder was committed. Danger follows with several attempts on Lightfoot's life when the perp tries to stop her.  All good clean fun for a mystery reader.

Read a sample and look at other reviews of Potions and Pastries on
Amazon       Nook        kobo    


Other Interesting Stuff

New York Times Book Review section gave me pause again: a review of Jessica Buder's Nomadland: Surviving in America in the Twenty First Century by Arlee Russell Hochschild. 

Reminded me that real poverty doesn't appear often in the genre fiction I read. There Be Demons touches on it. But my characters don't really suffer physically from poverty, inconvenience abounds but the true pain of living in sub-existential conditions doesn't. With few counties in the US able to offer a one-bedroom apartment affordable by a single, full-time minimum wage earner, you'd think real poverty -- rather than the wanting-mores -- would get more "press" in fiction.


My Writing Rut

Am trying to get Rondezvous with Demon jump-started. Tried doing NaNoWriMo for the first  time since 2010 when my back gave out. Failed again. My writing style, psychi just doesn't respond to competition. Plodding plodder, that's me. One step at a time gets me where I'm going, provided I have fun along the way. Any one else think fun is important?

Am making progess on all the stickey notes I've accumulated. Think half of them have been attached to chapters as notes. Today, I got a bunch of pages from a small spirel binder transferred. Have 20,000-plus words, and I haven't even started writing.

One of the ways I save ideas is to write tthem down on sticky notes. My computer is stacked with piles of them, in all collors, right and left. Started out with enough sticky notes to cover almost a fourth of my desk over an inch high. I decided gettig my ideas posting an approximate chapter a higher priority than just poundinng out words. Do have over 10,000 words connected to Reondezvous, about half coherent writing and the rest jotttings. Still have a 10x7x2 inches deep pile of pink, yellow, green, and blue bits of paper to place.

Not all the pieces of paper are connected to Rendezvous. Some a political tweets, that soothed my growls plus tweets promoting There Be Demons. Yeah, promoting a book takes lots of time. 

Next project is to work the list of review places I've discovered. So far, only have one 2*...because I included too much mundane stuff in the book. Don't know who she is or where she posted but it's not showing up on Amazon or GoodReads. Other readers appreciate my "magical realism".

A Heads Up
There's a giveaway of There Be Demons on Amazon for US readers. To win a chance for a free copy just follow this link.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Can Gargoyles Have Problems? A Different Shade of Gargoyle

Thanks to the family lending library, Gigi Pandian's Accidental Alchemist landed in my to-read piles. It turned out to be a fun, delightful read with its twisting murder plot, complete with bodies, almost bodies, and perp candidates. Best of all it had a gargoyle. I suspect the kids are waiting for me to say something because of Gillen in There Be Demons. [I haven't.]

Okay, I could develop a thing about intelligent gargoyles. Dorian Robert-Huduin is a Notre Dame gargoyle who was accidentally brought to life by an alchemist when the cathedral was being built. Now Dorian's got a problem. He's reverting back to stone and needs Zoe Faust's alchemy skills to translate an ancient grimorie to find the elexir that will prevent his return to stone. The gargoyle is also an accomplished French chef, a plot ingredient which qualifies this series as a cozy mystery, I guess. At least, the title isn't a pun.

Zoe Faust has just moved to Portland, Oregon, and bought a neighborhood's "haunted house". A survivor of the Salem witch trials, Faust is the most undeveloped detective protagonist I've come across in ages. In fact, characters are Panian's weakness. Seldom do they escape the bondage of cardboard figures. Oh, they're described, have secrets, and give many smiles to the reader...but they all tend to remain flat, except for Dorian. He's worth the price of the book.

All in all, a delightful romp, meaning a light quick read for when you want to be be entertained mystery or just tired. You can take a look for yourself by clicking
Amazon       Nook        kobo


Other Interesting Reading

Ever wonder what the State of Publishing is today? Came across this interesting article reference at GoodReads. Tells you the characteristics that make 100K selling authors successful, both indie and corporate-published.

I not only chuckle at the New York Times Book Review. The real estate ads in the New York Times magazine are also laughable. Condos for $2 million plus home association fees. Real pertinent ads to the American public when the average net worth is under $100,000, I think. 

I know I couldn't afford a $2 million condo, any where. Not that it matters. I wouldn't want to live in New York City. It's dirty and noisy and in ill repair, even though they spend huge amounts of money not getting things to work efficiently. I'll say: subways without elevators for the handicapped and rest my case.

On a writing note. I think I'm going to have to blog every other week. My age is catching up with me. 


My Writing Rut

Reviews are coming in for There Be Demons [not bad], but not that many sales. Am hoping the sales improve after the ebook version is lowered to $2.99. Currently, the ebook is descounted to $1.99 until 12 November. You can take a look at:

Amazon      Nook       kobo       iBooks

Or, if you'd like to take a chance on winning a free Kindle copy, you can click here if you are a US reader.

I tried to do NaNoWriMo this year as a way to jumpstart the third book for a potential trilogy called The Demon Wars. Oh, I'm making some progress, but definitly missing the 2,000 words a day mark.

I've fallen back into my normal writing pace...and fighting not to pull The Pig Wars, a Far Isles Half-Elven story, out of the bowels of my computer. Think I gave up on NaNoWriMo when I couldn't figure out how to post my daily words on the NaNo graph when I was making my quota, like about days 3 and 4. I think I prefer to keep my undisciplined persona.