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, January 15, 2019

Can Writers Convey Interesting, Simple Work-a-Day Worlds?

Every writer creates a fantasy world...even those writing contemporary fiction. It all happens by how the author picks which details to illustrate the protagonist's world. Characters can't move in a vaccum. They need a stage where the action needed to move the plot forwards has to happen.

The problem? In too many books I've tried to read lately, the characters act out in front of a green screen. They aren't anchored. They motivations aren't complex and contradictary. Chute opens; characters gallop towards a resolution without any internal sweat. Or, they dither, not doing much of anything interesting while the author lathers details upon similar details. So what if the "bad guys" or society is out to get the good guys.

Yeah. Interactions take place but there is no realistic setting, no grounding in a physical place. Nothing coming out of left field to upset the assumptions made by the reader. Oh, there are generic sops thrown at the reader, but nothing that anchors the characters in a unique place that is their's and no others'.

The pattern mirrors much of the political discussion in the US where broad slogans are thrown out without any indication on how they interact with the complexities of people's lives. Or, maybe it's just that the media write from data gleaned from simplistic polls that concentrate on two factors when most problems contain fifty.

The result too many writers limit the reader to primary-colored worlds, no shades to create a sense of wonder.

The writers I enjoy most work in four-dimensional worlds. The best are spare with words. One example Lee Child. His iconic character, Reacher, now travels with only his toothbrush and, I assume, a mysterious credit card which never runs out of money as constant companions. Yet, Child evokes the semi-deserted byways of the US like few writers I've read.

Granted this abstract rant describes my own biases. But, I demand a sense of people living in realistic places when I read a book. I want enough details that I can construct a world chugging along with or without the novel's characters.

How do you do that? I don't know. I'm a pantser when I write. Yet many of my reviews mention the amount of detail in my stories, details that most don't think slow down the action.

When you have your reading cap on, what do you want the world in the background to feel like?

My Writing Run

Christmas, eye problems. and a staph infection have been cluttering my life the last few months...and may still be chasing me. Still, I play at writing. I'm still working on Rendezvous with Demons. Added several thousand words to the existing draft. Still, haven't gotten my characters over the hump, north out of Pacifica [aka California]. They confront the new demon invasion in Cascadia [Washington/Oregon].

Big note to myself, at this point in this perhaps first half of the novel: increase Gillen's role. Yeah. He reappears when he flees Beatifica. Talk about adding texture to a novel without getting off track.

None of this make sense? You can check out the first book in the Andor Demon Wars, There Be Demons, on kindle or at other vendors. Yeah. My whole crew reappears in Rendezvous: Britt, Cahal, and Gillen plus Pillar and Nate. The demons are represented by Vetis and Grylerrrque along with their new set of minions. It all setting up to be the demons last stand. I'm still writing notes about how Pillar reacts to Britt.

Gee, that description almost has me wanting to get back to the manuscript.

Rendezvous won't be published in 2019, though. I 've decided to go ahead and polish Dark Solstice Turning Point, a book about shifting political allianaces in a world of humans, hybrid elves, and scattered full elves to intensify the mischief. Yeah. I'm going to play with my Half-Elven for a while.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Ahhh, the unreliable narrator. Paula Hawkins gives you plenty of point of views to puzzle over in her new book Into the Water. Her multiple narrators almost give you too many characters to keep track of. But then, instead of a who-dun-it, this book is a why-dun-it.

While I felt the book got tedious at times, it wasn't for the usual reasons. I thought her character development tended to be shallow. Lots of good stuff was hinted at, but all too often, interesting developments and/or insights were glossed over. This is especially true of the perp who moved from the periphery to front and center in a lackadaisical manner. Oh, the motivation was there, but I didn't feel like the potential conflict was well developed.

The troubled sort-of primary character returns to her childhood home when her sister commits suicide by jumping off a cliff. Like some villages have Saxon churches as their claim to fame, Beckford has deaths by drowning. The book describes a troubled village's attempts to confront two interrelated drownings, the most recent of many deaths haunting the village. While I appreciate the exercise in viewpoint, I think Hawkins spread her writing too thin.

More confusing, the "death pool" is also a teen hang-out. The book is filled with factoids rather than an insights into human nature. Comments are thrown on the table but I thought were never fleshed out. Did enjoy the book, though. You can check it out on


My Writing Rut

Which do you like? 


Email: kkaytheod at yahoo com

Am getting ready to start the new year on a slightly different tack than the old one. I decided
to switch to my Far Isles Half-Elven for my next published book: Dark Stoltice Turning Point. Have my slot reserved with my content editor. Still working on Rendezvous with Demons, mostly adding character complications to the chapters I've drafted.

Soon I will be publishing an updated free short story, Cavern Between Worlds. Haven't decided on a cover yet. Do you have a preference?

There Be Demons was on a 99c special last month. Even sold some though didn't make much money at the discount. The fun promo was the one I did for Recognizing Jamilla, a free Andor story. It reached #1 in its category for a couple days. The story is probably the first, chronologically, in The Demon Wars series. The others are Showdown at Crossings, There Be Demons, and Running from Demons. 

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.