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.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Whooper Dooper Super-Author Hack to Produce More Books

Picked up the first book in an older Nora Roberts trilogy, Key of Light. I don't read much of Robert's body of work, but I like her paranormals when I know I'm going to be interrupted a lot. Why? Because I always know I'll get a competant read no matter how distracted I get.

This time the light bulb exploded. I understood how she works the cliche to produce the volume she does. She takes a problem, sets up three couples, an oily villain, and gets three books in writing one story by chopping up the verbage. I know lots of other writers use the pattern. They just haven't mastered the character development and discriptive chops. In short, she works the paradigm but adds warm, three dimensional characters.

Didn't care much for this set of people. Oh, the female characters were all interesting, even amusing. But the match in this book was way to "alpha" and felt like a hundred other characters I've read. There was nothing there to make him seem different than the result of cookie cutter characterization. The projected suiters for the other two books also didn't push beyond their cliche.

You can read a sample for yourself and look at the reviews on

Amazon           B&N Nook          kobo/Rakuten


My Writing Rut

Not getting much done. Just toying with scenes that I've already written in Rendezvous with Demons.

I'm also waiting for the contracts returning the rights to republish There Be Demons while I take care of my old man. He's out of the dangerous part of the woods. Now comes the stuggle to keep him in his recliner as long as the doctors want him there.

For the heck of it, here's my latest 5* review:
M.K. Theodoratus has a great ability for description. She really makes the reader understand the ins and outs of Running from Demons by giving such in depth descriptions. 

"I loved the spin that Theodoratus used in her writing. I was shocked with how much I connected to the characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. There is plenty going on and its a very quick yet satisfying read."

You can read a sample at various vendors by clicking this link.

As usual, I've been a slow learner in getting the book up and running. I'm still trying to figure out the print-on-demand bit. Wish me luck.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Hey, sorry to say I'm in the "Twilight Zone".
My husband has been in the hospital and will still need care when he comes home.
At the moment, I'm not reading much.

On the other hand, my new book Running from Demons has been published in e-form. I haven't had time to get the Print-on-Demand set up. Think it has something about me being an old lady and there being only so many hours in the day. For some reason, my body thinks it has to sleep.

But, I have made sales and have reviews, mostly 5 stars. But, I like the one I used in the banner. I thought going through a teen's learning moments might be dull, Other reviews have said the same thing as the one below. So, I'll heave a sigh of relief.

You can see for yourself at this universal link which will direct you to a universal link to a venue you can use. 

Of course, if you happen to buy the book, I would appreciate a short review.

Should also say, I'm doing a GoodReads Giveaway until 13 October 2018.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Goof-ups and Murderous Mayhem Create Reading Magic

Humor plus huge doses of magic, mayhem, and murder create a ripping story in R. S. Belcher's Nightwise The Night Dahlia. Laytham Ballard, the wizard protagonist, is hired by a powerfyl fae lord to find his missing daughter. Unfortunately, Ballard creates chaos wherever he goes, in spite of his good intentions.

In the opening chapters, it soon becomes clear that Ballard is powerful in his own right and may be the perfect man to solve the cold case. At the same time, it becomes clearer that if something can go wrong, it will.

The Night Dahlia has Ballard returning to his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles, CA where he once was a member of the wizardry cops, aka the Nightwise. Ballard's flip commentary as he digs into the porn film scene for clues keeps readers on their toes, and sometimes, holding their breath. Belcher adds depth to the plotline by tieing the current missing person case to a cold seriel murder case the kicked him out of Nightwise.

So much for the mystery part of the book. Belcher's paranormal creatures are both pertinent and creative, even giving an explanation for serial murderer Charles Manson's powers of persuation. More important, Belcher makes clear why Ballard's abandoned friends still accept him.

The book's a stand-alone, even thougn it takes place late in Ballard's life. His banter about his past goof-ups explain necessary backstory and keeps everything in perspective. You can learn more about Nightwise on

Kindle           Nook           kobo/Rakuten


My Writing Rut

I'm still in my rut.....if I consider all the stuff I'm not getting done. On the other hand, Running from Demons is up and staggering. Still no reviews yet, and it's too soon for any sales to show up. That's partly my fault. I used "the pre-order" time to chase the formatting of the book rather than the sales.

The short blurb:
Pillar Beccon can't remember belonging anywhere, especially not in the Freemage commune where she grew up. After she graduates from high school, she jumps at the chance to learn why her mother ran away from her family home far to the East. But danger haunts her journey as a demon seeks to destroy her.

Running from Demons tells the story of Pillar's search to find a place to call her own. The book continues the chronicles of Andor, a land where the mundane world clashes with one of magic and demons. If you love paranormal stories of discovery and mayhem, this is the story for you.

If you review books from Net Galley, you can get an ARC copy      here      for free. If you'd like to read the longer blurb and/or a sample you can click      here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Returning to the Grindstone & Muttering About Tatoos

Since the US Labor Day [end of summer] is over, I guess I should come back from my blogging vacation.

Oh, I didn't take a vacation from reading. Just from doing reviews, which was a good thing. I mostly reread books I wanted to visit again, which was good for you since I already reviewed many of them.

My longest read? Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series which I've been itching to read straight through for years. Now I'm a big fan of Patricia Briggs so I won't bother you yet again about her craftmanship and imagination. Not only do her main characters evolve consistently through the series, but the secondary ones do too. Even the vampire antagonist, Marsilia.

But I did have some bones to pick.

Cover Art is always important. According to many experts it's key to selling books. But when you have a series, covers can become a problem. Take Mercy Thompson's tats, starting with Moon Called. Nice sleeves and the signature coyote one below her navel. Even has hints of a service station shirt.

Won't plague you with seven or eight covers, but the cover for Silence Fallen corroborates my
grumble. Note the tat above her breasts. Of course she could have gotten a new one. But removing the sleeves that reached her shoulders? Not so likely, I think, especially when Night Broken shows different sleeves and a coyote above her breasts.

So much for being picky. I did enjoy revisiting Tamora Pierce's Tortal world from the Becca Cooper trilogy through the Trickster books. Love the historical development of the society and the struggles to return lady knights to the society. Still, find an implied problem with the technology, though. It's rather static over a couple hundred years.

Wandered through some other authors, but mostly eliminated my to-read pile. Surprising how many books didn't last three chapters. Which is why they were festering on the pile.

Did get some new reading done, mainly R. S. Belcher's new book, The Night Dahlia,  which finally arrive from the family lending library. The kid didn't ask for it back, so I think it's getting stuck to my bookshelves.


My Writing Rut

Most important for me, I did get Running from Demons published. It can now be found at a number of different stores/venues as an ebook. I'm having problems getting the print on demand version up so it isn't yet available. I know they say it's easy, but you forget I have two black left-thumbs.

Short Blurb:

Pillar Beccon can't remem-ber belonging anywhere, especially not in the Freemage commune where she grew up. After she graduates from high school, she jumps at the chance to learn why her mother ran away from her family far to the East. But danger haunts her journey as a demon seeks to destroy her.

Running from Demons tells the story of Pillar's search to find a place to call her own. The book continues the chronicles of Andor, a land where the mundane world clashes with one of magic and demons. If you love paranormal stories of discovery and mayhem, this is the story for you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Very Unambitious Man: A True Anti-Hero

For about the first 20 pages, I always wonder why I buy M. C. Beaton's "Death of ???" mysteries. Death of a Ghost was no different. I find her declarative, staccato style annoying, not only because it's the antithesis of most of the advice I read about writing. Yet, the series continues on the "best selling" charts as it approaches the 40th book.

There is no mystery to the success of Beaton's hapless Highland sleuth, Hamish MacBeth. The books are as funny as all get out. A walk down the high street of Lochdubh, as Hamish ponders some murder or other problem, presents a series of chuckles as he meets the residents of the small town. In Death of a Ghost, the reader gets a funny subplot when a minister's wife tries to hook Hamish up with her neice.

Don't look for any indepth characterization here. The characters of the McBeth books walk their ordained path with a minimum of description and deviation. The chuckles are of prime importance. Even McBeth's constabulary opponents play the part of foils.

Oh, there's a mystery to be solved about who murdered whom and why. It even sports some nice twists and turns. All in all Beaton's books are more complicated than it first seems. Still, Hamish keeps to his set patterns of avoiding credit for the crimes he solves.

Care to take a look at a sample and other reviews? You can find print and epub versions of Death of a Ghost at
Amazon      B&N/Nook       kobo/Rakuten

Other Interesting Reading

For once, I found a news feed useful...one about the Queen of Great Britain and Megan Markle doing a royal tour together. Not a royalist. [I'm sort of stuck in a Pantagenant mind-set.] But, this article on body language gave me a tick for one of my characters--Pillar.


Then, an issue book buyers of all sorts should be interested in: anti-trust law. You know that 20th century idea that no one business should control sales of a particular product, aka no monopolies. The US has a particular problem with the idea. Can anyone say Amazon? -- Anyway, seems there has been some stirrings lately, and The Passive Guy wrote a blog about it.

My Writing Rut

is depressing. Oh, I'm making some progress. Finally got Cahal and Britt together again--in Chapter 12 rather than Chapter 4. Now I have to go back because I forgot to include a bit about Britt's Granny Nan's rings. [I think it's going to be an important part of the last battle at the end of the book so it was necessary.] Ugh.

Am making more little banners for There Be Demons. Won't getting them on Twitter yet. I'm waiting for the publisher to get the book blurb changed. [You can also download the ebook on kobo/Rakuten.]

5***** Review: "a great adventure through a fantasy land that captures your imagination and keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Characters are well developed and the journey we are taken on is fast paced and filled with twists and treachery throughout."

Feisty Britt Kelly's life is a disaster. When her divorces her mother, her family moves into her half-sister's apartment in the projects. Britt must adjust to a new school and a step-mother who hates her and her younger brothers
But poverty and coping with a new school aren't Britt's worst problems. In the long standing Demon Wars, the minions of Prince Vetis build a secret base in Trebridge behind the Kingscourt's battle lines. When she is drafted to fight the demons with three new friends, Britt didn't know demons existed. She's not even sure she wants to fight them.

The race is on. As the demon forces grow, the Gargoyle Guardians of the city must teach the four teens to use enough "Grace" as a weapon to survive. Britt's new problem: learning to control her magical powers...in spite of Gillen, the gargoyle leader, pissing her off with his fussy rules.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Getting The Demons Under Control? The Unending To-Read Pile

A tale of this week's reading. My to-do piles got smaller this week...by four. I forced myself to read the first books on top of two piles. After several attempts to get interested, they got dumped on the trade pile. I'm now reading M. C. Beaton's Death of a Ghost but haven't finished.

Excerpt of 
Running from Demons

Still doing copy edits of Running From Demons. Biggest change so far? I've decided to change the title. Anyway, here's an excerpt from the first chapter where Pillar comes on Grylerrque, a demon hiding from the authorities in human guise. The novel is set some seven/eight years after There Be Demons.
Scanning the area, Pillar tested her developing talent for reading auras. The slow dance of different shimmering colors popping through the light bluish-green glow of their life pulse fascinated her, but she concentrated on possible threats. Everyone in the lobby felt like nulls to Pillar. But her eavesdropping on the mage elders talking to her guardian told her they worried about magical attacks from demon-kind. While no adult talked much about them, Pillar assumed demons could camouflage themselves behind shields, too.
           Otherwise, they wouldn’t be so hard to find. She shuddered, not wanting to think of demons possessing people. Doubt if any demons would dare to hunt here, anyway.
           The thought comforted Pillar, and she relaxed. The waitress arrived and picked a plate off her ladened arm to plunk it on the counter with a sigh.
           Pillar smiled as the waitress scooted around the counter to the tables against the wall. “Thanks. It looks delicious.” The waitress bustled away without looking back, and Pillar shrugged.
Not wanting to dribble cheese on the new tee she’d bought in the museum shop, Pillar leaned forward to take a bite of her toasted ham and cheese sandwich. The gooey cheese oozed out the sides, over her fingers. She licked her fingers and lips. The cost of adding extra cheese was worth it, making a perfect ending to her first solo venture into Taddledon. The ride home would be dull in comparison to the carefree day she had enjoyed. At least her stomach wouldn't be growling.          
The PA system belched news of another arriving bus, adding to the racket bouncing off the station walls. The garbled words made no sense. Pillar ignored the announcement as she licked her fingers clean. The tenor of the air shifted. The hair on her nape rose. Pillar glanced back towards the benches in the lobby.
Taking another bite of her gooey sandwich, Pillar licked her lips as she searched for the disturbance in the station’s energy. The power became so intense even Pillar’s weak talent felt the rising pulse. A chill crawled across her shoulders and down her back. Pillar turned around. Her eyes locked on a tangled-haired girl, clutching a backpack in her hands and using the wall by the platform doors to protect her back. The girl's eyes grew wider as she scanned the station.
Pillar's frizzy hair stood at attention. A strange odor, the like of which she'd never smelled in Osseran, wafted from the outside doors. Her stomach churned, and Pillar dropped her no longer appetizing sandwich.
What's going on? That girl just doesn't feel like a normal, but she shouldn't  make my stomach want to heave.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What Everyone Needs: Someone to Care

Had fun reading Mary Balogh's Someone to Care. No I'm not going to write a review. Actually, I shouldn't even have to say it's good. Her stuff is...mostly because she masterful in setting up her characters to find someone who who will care for them as people not as a means to another goal.

I simply marvel at how Balogh manages to keep her plotlines engaging [not boring], especially since they are romance [one of the most unrealistic forms of fantasy]. I think she and Laurel K. Hamilton [Anita Blake] are the only romance writers I still read from those I was reading religiously five years ago. [Balogh was an outlier since I read mostly paranormal romances.] If anything, Balogh is a leftover from my Georgette Heyer reading of the 1970s.

Writers who want to write romances or include a romantic thread in their books should study how Balogh does it. Readers can just enjoy. Me? I think I'm going to dig into my Georgette Heyers for one of her less well known Regencies instead of the few I still reread regularly.

[Any other Heyer fans out there? What's your favorite book? Frederica immediately comes to my mind, but there are a couple others I can't quite remember the titles of I reread off and on.]

You can check out what other people say about Someone to Care plus read a blurb and reviews. Find both epub and print versions at
Amazon       B&N/Nook       kobo/Rakuten

Other Interesting Reading

Caught a blog by Janet Reid, agent extraordinaire, on white writers writing black characters when someone pushed the politically correct button. No wonder the alt-right calls fuming liberals "snowflakes". In this case, I think they're either fuming about the right thing in the wrong way or just wanted some media time. Whatever, here's the link to Janet Reid's answer to a pertinent question.  --  Granted I'm influenced by the fact I included black kids in classes in There Be Demons. 

My Writing Rut

Wasted almost a full week trying to write a battle scene for the first third of Rendezvous with Demons. Have two chapters of character and world development roughed in, have the wall of the nest broached by explosives, have Britt and Gillen secretly shadowing the Crosssings mages, but... the stupid chapter won't get written.  Result, one more week without any real progress on the novel.

Actually it was for a good reason. Britt and Gillen don't go in and save the day ala the calvary. I'm setting her up to be royally put down... I think. This is written on Wednesday. I'll add something more before I post this. I'm wondering myself what answer I'm going to come up with. Didn't get any more written. Good thing the blog got done on Wednessday when I finished the book. -- Yeah, have been distracted by other things.

Think I feel a little envious of corporate authors who get their publicity done by the company. While trying to write, I've been also juggling promotion. Came up with an ad from my artwork of Vetis. Also think I may have found a new artist to create line drawings of my characters. -- Not that I really expect it to increase my sales. You can check out the ebook of There Be Demons on Amazon, B&N Nook, and kobo/Rakuten.

                                     Artwork                                       ad

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Witches, Crows and Murder Most Cozy

Witches and Salem are almost synomyns in the US.  Carol J. Perry makes good use of the convention in her cozy mystery series starring Lee Barrett, sometime TV personality. It Takes a Coven is an enjoyable example, so enjoyable that I decided to write a book review even though I'm on vacation.

Barrett's Witch City series is bubbly without being fluffy. She doesn't juggle as many characters as say Louis Penny does, but each of her secondary characters have ongoing subplots that progress from book to book. That for me is masterful writing. [Maybe because I have problems with it.] 

The best thing? I think you can read the book as a stand alone. I haven't read all the books [6] in the series, but I followed the mystery action well integrated with the daily stuff...though I thought the wedding sequences missed an opportunity to be sarcatistic about US wedding preps. The "compromise on the cake" was a throw-away when common sense ruled.

Integrating plot elements so there are no loose, dangling bits can be difficult. Barrett takes her crows, modern witches, and historical witches and weaves an interesting tale of cause and effect. Some plot elements from previous books have been "put to bed" in It Takes a Coven--which leaves me wondering what direction the next book will be taking. Guess I'll have to wait a year to find out.

Check it out for yourself on Amazon, B&N Nook, or kobo/lRakuten. For the record, these links include ebooks.

Interesting Reading

Writer R. Mac Wheeler takes wonderful photos. Here recently posted some wonderful close-ups of flowers. You can check them out here. He also writes some fun fantasies.

An older Write Unboxed blog had a short, to the point blog on writing a synopsis. Anyone needing to write a short report can benefit from its tips. Take a look.

Ever wonder about what's actually in the food and care products you use? I found this interesting because so many heath articles blame inflamation for tons of bad health conditions. This one has links to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Click here is you want to know what is lurking in your toothpaste, maybe.

Yeah, some of this weren't posted yesterday. Maybe it's another point we should all take...about how long items last on the web. You never know when a search engine might spit out one of your posts. You can't count on the ads taking up enough space to conceal things. I'm still bouncing around the web seeing what there is to see. Am really disappointed in how low search engine results have sunk in the last three-five years.

My Writing Rut

Have been playing on Fivver, looking for something interesting to promote my books. Found an artist who might be able to create pictures of my characters in my demon books. Here's the one of Vetis, my arch villen, who proclaims in There Be Demons: "The Angeli have lost the war. They just don't know it yet." Now have to figure out how to use the picture.

Next illustration? Britt or maybe a group of demons?

Writing is going slow. Have been working for a week on my first demon fight in Rendezvous. Today I just got to the Freemages blowing a hole in the wall around the demon compound...in Docket's Diggings from Noticing Jamilla. Still, haven't gotten to the big fight.

A *chuckle*. When I "drafted" the book, Britt linking up with Cahal in Pacifica happened in the fourth chapter. I'm working on Chapter 10 on a demon fight I didn't contemplate until Britt got off the bus in the mountains. That fourth chapter was from Pillar's [Running from Demons ?, thinking of title change...] pov. Still have a major fight with a demon biker gang before they even get to Cascadia.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Magical Adventure Sparks Up the Heat on a Summer's Day

It's Summer Time
and the Living is Lazy
At least that's the way I'm feeling. So, I'm not always going to have a book review each week. In stead of taking a vacation, I'm just going to review when I finish a book...that isn't a reread.

Yeah, I'm itching to reread some books again, and there's a good chance I've already reviewed them once. The fact that my eyes prefer print to screen has a fair amount to do with this.

Then, there's Naomi Novik's book Uprooted, which had me staying up late again. Really, liked the stolid, earthy [like soil and growing things] peasantness of the book. The story worked on so many different levels, including the enthralling adventure to defeat a devouing evil presence. Though I really enjoyed the depiction of the fumbling elite the most.

The Grimm-like tale traces hostage story much like Beauty and the Beast, only with Slavic overtones. All sorts of evil dangers lurk and emerge from the Woods. Agnieszka, the protagonist, is unexpectedly chosen as tribute to the wizard keeping the evil at bay from the peasants. The girl, then, becomes a witch in her own right. Together, the two take on the evil at the heart of the forest when a prince of the court stirs up an ant's nest of trouble. I loved out Angeieszka had no use for the pomposity of the court.

No, this isn't a political diatribe. Novik is too masterful a rival for that. Her descriptions are deep and involved. There's enough adventure and magic to satisfy even the most supeficial action reader. 

Best is the depth she gives to her characters. Many of the figures in the book are first presented as stereotypes, but Novik soon gives them a twist that make them three-dimensional. The twists and turns in the action keep the reader reading past the time they should be yawning as Agnieszka is forced to leave her beloved forest home, then to go to the court, and return again for the final showdown.

You can check things out for yourself on Amazon, B&N Nook, and kobo/Rakuten.
Other Interesting Reading

Am I right in thinking there's a bias for reading among the readers of this blog? Whatever, I'm biased towards reading, especially to young children. Science even supports my bias. The Passive Guy posted a blog on what goes on in a kid's brain when they're told a story in different media. You can check it out here. 

Do you have problems getting pertinent answers to your research questions. I've been getting complaints from writer friends that their search results have too many ads. Know this is a big topic to argue about over a cup of coffee. Still, you might want to look at Kristine Pope's blog: Do Your Homework: How to Research Your Writing Topics.

An interesting take on the similarities of storylines. The BBC did a piece of the basic story plotlines. Take a look here. Writers will find some interesting takes on story arcs.

My Writing Rut

The business stuff of writing is sticking in my craw at the moment. Sometimes it seems like I do nothing but support work, but I'm getting in 500 to 750 new words a day on Rendevous, even though some of that is addition/revision. Then, there are the few days when I get over a 1000 written. Think only a slow writer can appreciate the sweat that goes onto that grindstone. Still, it keeps me out of mischief.

Did get a new cover ordered for an old free short story: Cavern Between Worlds

It's a Far Isles Half-Elven story. The politics is at a minimum here as two Half-Elven warriors investigate why all the animal life is disappearing on an isolated island. Can't wait to see what the artist does with the concept. I'm wondering if I dare call it a romance. Anyone have an opinion? -- Think I have to rewrite the story too but you can check it out at Smashwords and Nook. I'm also working on gifs for my free stories.

Copyedits of On the Run are happenin, sort of.

The fun part? I'm exploring what Fivver artists can do with some illustrations of the characters. Maybe I'll have something to share for my next blog. Vetis for There Be Demons is my first trial.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Conflict Among Allies, When do the Ends Justify the Means

Louise Penny's recent Superintendent Gamache novel, Glass Houses, is a tale ripped from the opiod headlines. More important, Penny gives writers a wonderful example of how to mine the backstory of an enduring series to create depth in her latest book.

Penny has already characterized the small hamlet of Three Pines as an idyllic hideaway from the bustle of the wider world, in this case Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I even think I remembered that bootleggers in the 1920s used Three Pines to smuggle booze into the Prohibition US. Or, maybe I'm just reading info into a previous crime. The deep woods on both sides of the Vermont/Quebec border are the perfect place to hide all sorts of nefarious activities.

In Glass Houses, opiods are the cargo most terrible, and the hidie-hole in the church has been resurected. But illegal drugs aren't the only problem the book contends with. Penny is an adept at spinning several plotlines at once and makes head-hopping among various characters seem the best way to share plot points and feelings. No movie/tv paradigms here. Just a thick juicy mystery novel set inside a courtroom procedural--with a touch of creepiesness.

Penny is a masterful weaver of plot points and emotions. More intriguing for a writer, she works with several communities who touch each other much like a Venn diagram--the Surety, the villagers, and occassional outsiders. Penny creates characters with so many dimensions, readers seem to return to Three Pines to find out what the secondary characters are doing as well as trying to solve the crime before the big reaveal. Am thinking that many readers wonder why more communities aren't as caring as Three Pines.

If you like to read a sample and/or other reviews, you can check
Amazon       B&N/Nook       kobo/Rakuten

Other Interesting Reading

The Passive Guy published an interesting take on why Barnes & Noble and other brick & mortar book stores are losing out to Amazon, the main reason. 

I slowly duck my head. We go to Barnes and Noble for coffee about once a month. They really have some good desserts even if they serve Starbucks coffee....But, we usually spend between $50 and $100 between the two of us. [Yes, it's nice to be truely middle class.]

My Writing Rut

I really admire mystery/suspense writers who manage to write an enthralling book like Glass Houses. I feel envious. I have some short stories that I once hoped would be the start of mystery short story series, sort of like Isaac Asimov's sleuth club where the waiter mostly solved the puzzle: 

      --- Dumdie Swartz [The Ghostcrow and The Ghost in the Closet]

     --- the Highgrim/Allsdipp duo [Doom Comes for a Sold Soul] whose meeting with Britt's [There Be Demons] Granny Nan has grown mold in my computer. 

     --- I could also include Trapper Tremaine who's stuck after getting captured because I couldn't figure out how he could prove his worth and be accepted by the village. Nothing published here yet... or, maybe, ever.

That's not all. I think if I double checked, I'd find starts of Half-Elven stories that lack an executed mystery. Yeah, I think books should not only solve a characters' problems but provide a puzzle too.

Rendezvous continues to progress, though slowly. My outline's first skirmish is turning out to be the turning point battle with Britt feeling terribly alone and isolated, similar feelings but very different. But...I'm sort of a third of the way through [pushing halfway through, depending on how useful my notes are], and the first big battle is coming up, and Cahal hasn't even joined Britt yet...

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What Problems CanYou Solve When You Raise the Dead?

Rin Chupeco's The Bone Witch gave my linear, little mind a workout. Was kind of nice. Just when everything around me seems to be sinking to lowest common denominator, someone like Chepeco comes along. Nothing like flash backs and flash forwards, different cultural perspectives, and multiple viewpoints set in different time periods to keep the reader's brain cells bouncing.

Think I would have put down the book during the first chapter except for the opening statement from the protagonist's point of veiw. Have you ever seen a better hook than: "Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise.” 

Oh oh, the main character can raise the dead. Necromancy usually leads to no good, but the character was depicted positively. Obviously, a puzzle waits for the reader.

At first, the book seems like just another magical apprentice in training after Tea, the protagonist of the book, is discovered by a more experienced bone witch or necromancer. Chupeco quickly forcesTea to make life or death decisions each time she uses her magic. 

Descriptions are often lovely in this book. How many scenes have described magic being worked? Here's Chupeco's take: "With shaking hands, I drew the Heartsruin in the space between us. The red flowed from my finger and followed the path my hand took, staining the breeze with every movement, so that when I was done, the symbol stood before me, written in my own blood. I felt that welcome rush of relief and elation as the magic filled me up, infused itself into the rune."

Simple English sentence structure the above isn't. But it throbs with imagery and emotion.

Descriptions are especially important when world building. Chupeco's magic system is both simple and complicated as it is concentrated in the heartstones all adults in her world seem to wear. Her magic organized and easy to understand in spite of the twists as Tea delves deeper into her powers. Chupeco even makes the strength of Tea's magic one of her weaknesses.

If you want to sample the richly rewarding book, you can go to
Amazon        Barnes & Nobel/Nook        Rakuten/kobo      

Other Interesting Reading

Have you heard of "cockygate"? A romance writer trademarked the word "cocky" and sent letters to other other writers to change their titles and asked Amazon to take down listings that didn't. Yes, there is a brouhaha. Here's a link to the Passive Guy's link and the Writers Beware blog.


Janet Reid, my dream agent if I were a successful traditionally published writer, had an interest discuss of characters and character flaws. She even sounded neutral about Dath Vader. Take a look here.

My Writing Rut

Rendezvous with Demons. Just when I thought my writing might turn productive [a 1000 words a day], I hit another boggle. Not write's block per se, but a mess of dialog that had no anchor. Oh, there was a little bit of setting...but my go to search engines seems to be overrun with ads from sites wanting to sell me stuff related to my search. Though California
was specifically written in the search parameters, I got results from places like New Mexico and South Africa and points in between. Am willing to make a "donation" if I can find the data I want, but think the commercialization of the web is going too far.

Oh. How do I get the best of "writer's block"? I write dialog for a pertinent scene. Before I get 500 words written, I'm going back to insert pertinent facts...description and narration and characters' reactions...as is appropriate for close third person viewpoint. I also use a lot of internal dialog to sum up loads of narative. Sounds good, but I'm still slow as molasses.

Still setting up Britt, as an adult, getting ready to fight the demons at Dockets Diggings with Gillen and Cahal with the Crossings Freemages. So far, after his dripping blood, first appearance, Gillen's been sleeping a lot in shrunken form. Cassy Mae and her grandmother are long gone. [If you are curious about their encounter with demons, you can visit Amazon, B&N/Nook, and Rakuten/kobo. It's free in the US and the equivalent of a buck in other countries. If you live in another country you might try Smashwords and see if you can download it free there.]

On the Run is progressing. I have the copyedits. All I have to do is transfer them. Guess I won't be marketing much.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Shine On, Gibbous Moon Until the Monsters Rise

Took a creepy ride on the paranormal side with Lincoln Child's Full Wolf Moon, If you take one, you'll get a bit of a science fiction explanation for werewolfism.

Never read a Jeremy Logan book that I can remember, though I've read several Pendergasts. Logan, the protagonist in this book, felt flat, not quite unidimensional, but almost. 

Too many other suspense and thriller writers do a much better job of giving their main characters or sleuths more depth for Child to get top marks for this book. Not that Logan is unlikable. But all the descriptions of him feel like rehash. Example: as many times as I have read about Heather Graham's Krewe of Hunter characters, there always some little twist in their backgrounds that is new in most of the books.

What annoyed me the most? Child's secondary characters were often more interesting than Logan. Still am wondering what the heck worries the guy at the core.

At the same time, the book has enough hooks to keep the reader reading even though this book is easy to put down for another task, like going to sleep. There is a true puzzle wrapped in the plot, complete with a couple of red herrings. Problem: I prefer more twists and turns in the plots of the mystery suspense I read.

The descriptions of the Adirondacks' deep woods pleased me most. Never visited them though I've driven through the Catskills. [If they're part of the same mountain system, that last statement needs to be adjusted. I'm not an easterner, so I don't know.] I loved the descriptions of small isolated dwellings surrounded by dark forests. The location adds a scary dimension to the vacation ambiance usually associated with the place. If you enjoy well written atmospheres with adequate craftsmanship, Child's descriptions are worth the price of admission.

In the end, I found this an okay, entertaining read but found it very easy to find a bookmark when it was time to go to bed. If you want to read more reviews and/or a sample the book, you can look on

Other Interesting Reading

Everyone can use tips on improving their writing. Came across one one by Mark Nichol about making lists that had me reading the whole thing. You might want to take a look at:
A Guide to In-Line Lists. This should be especially useful for those who write business or school reports.

My Writing Rut

Have been worrying about what my climatic human vs demon fight would be for Rendezvous. How was I ever going to squeeze out enough words for a full length novel. I think the problem will solve itself. My chapter 4 just became five chapters by the time all the action was mapped out. It may be shorter than the first two, but it only has to be over 100 pages and I'm almost there already. 

I find it interesting at how my chapters grow. What I thought would be the middle of my book is now seeming to be the final confrontation. At first, I thought Rendezvous with Demons was going to by equally from Britt and Pillar's point of view. The first scene I thought of for the book was their meeting in Taddledon. Have a good 10 chapters written and/or mapped out before the first major demon fight--still in Pacifica. 

Guess the book's Britt's again. There Be Demons started out a mainly from Gillen's point of view because his problem training of the teen draftees is what motivated me to write the book i the first place.

The 99c special for There Be Demons went well in spite of glitches. I broke well into the top-100 in all three of my sub-categories. My author rank had never been higher either. Now everything is sinking. One odd result: had lots of downloads of the free Andor short stories. 

Got my Noticing Jamilla, a free Andor short story, cover photoshoped to make the cover image more demonic. It's subtle but I'm hoping it makes a difference. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Escaping the Bad Guys With a Spiritual Twist

Read Dorothy Gilman's Incident at Badamya this week, a very nice teen, coming of age suspense novel. Still, I got a big laugh out of it for a serious novel set in Asia just before the Korean War. The Communist Chinese are inciting revolt in Burma just as Gen Ferris' missionary father kills himself and tells her to find her way to America via Rangoon. The laugh came when I pulled the book from my to-read pile, a brand new novel with a price of $4.95 on the cover. I'm not even going to guess how long it was gathering dust on my shelf.

Of course, Dorothy Gillman isn't known for her YA books. I've only seen her marketed as adult fiction...with ladies of a "certain" age as her main characters. The adventures of Mrs. Pollifax is her most famous series. I prefer Madam Karitska, the Clarvoyent Countess mysteries. Incident at Badamya is one of her several stand alone novels. Of course, they are all mostly out of print and not in e-format. I think they're worth a little time in digging up a couple if you're looking for well-crafted mystery/suspense/adventure/light romance novel. Not many other books measure up to Gilman's writing.

After her father kills himself, Gen Ferris must find her way through insurgent lines to return to her aunt in America, but she is captured on her way to the river ferry that'd take her to Rangoon. The river ferry doesn't land in her village as usual, but when she tries to catch it coming back down the river, she's captured by the Red Chinese. She is trapped behind enemy lines with some other European captives. Suspense builds as she and her bickering fellow prisoners figured out how to escape. Of course, nothing goes as planned.

The book gives the reader a sense of traditional Burmese country life, before the place became Myanmar. The Buddist mysticisim, though different from her usual European turn, gives a thought provoking and educational aura to the book. You'll also get a feel for the rhythms of Burmese life from her multi-sense descriptions.

Unfortunately, Gilman can't be found in e-format. You can read more about the book on Amazon. Used paperbacks are still available.

My Writing Rut

Rendezvous surprised me again. Couldn't wait for Britt Kelly and Gillen, the gargoyle, to meet again. Dreamed of this big emotional scene of gore oozing every where. Got it written. Three pages of matter of fact back story, explanation of why Gillen is wounded, and some emotion, but not much. What a let down. But then, Britt's rather stern of purpose, when she isn't mad. 

Today shot down my chance of a big demon fight, but I'm going back to the chapter tomorrow. To see if, the Markham's from Docket's Diggings can fit into the flow. [Noticing JamillaCassy Mae is long gone from the town, and I assume her grandmother is too. Nothing like having life-force sucking demons controlling your town.]

Got another Five Star Review for There Be Demons:
on May 1, 2018

Whats not to like about a rollicking good story involving Teens teaming with Gargoyles to fight invading Demons? It was fun to see her use Gargoyles as the supernatural helpers of mortals in protecting the Mortal Lands from Demon-kind instead of the usual Elves, Fairies and Dwarves. Was a nice change of pace.
The review kind of made me sad. I'm still thinking of revising one of my Far Isles Half-Elven manuscripts--Dark Solstice. Mariah is still my second-favorite character, and she's been sitting in my computer since I published Vengeance.