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Friday, May 30, 2008
I love ranting with you all, so here's a Grammar Rant for this fine, sunny Friday:
I'm not a magazine reader by any stretch, but sometimes I get desperate to read something -- anything. So, being a person who enjoys a good glass of wine, I was recently captured by an article entitled, "Goodbye Burdgundy...and hello pinot noir".
I got to the third sentence and stopped dead in my proverbial tracks:
I've tried, but simply found every single one that I've drank to be wholly underwhelming and devoid of personality.
I'm sorry, there's no excuse for a mistake like that. Especially in a published article. Especially in a piece written by a sommelier for a monthly feature entitled "Exquisite Taste."
I have drunk.
You're thinking, "But Authoress, it might've been a simple typo."
Indeed. But why didn't somebody catch it?
And it gets worse. I can prove it wasn't a typing error, a mere slip of the finger.
Know why? On the second page of the article, it happens again:
I've drank Burgundy with others that swear it will turn me into a convert, but alas it wasn't to be.
This isn't a simple typing slip, folks. It's grammatical illiteracy.
And to really nitpick, it should read "with others who swear," not "with others that swear." "Who" for people, "that" for non-people.
Unless you're writing a story about talking animals.
And, too, there should be commas flanking the word "alas."
Actually, the whole sentence kind of sucks.
And, um, so does the entire article.
It's puzzling, really. Because the author uses words like "affinity," "formulaic," "austere," and "conversely." So either he's got a Thesaurus on his desktop or there's a complete disconnect between his vocabulary and his ability to use it to construct sentences.
Ugh, ugh, and triple ugh.
I can't seem to get away from unedited writing this week -- first Terry Brooks, and now this.
Do you have some grammar pet peeves to share? I might feel a tad less hoity toity if you do.
Just a tad.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
If you take the time to read all the facts, it really does sound like Amazon is doing some dirty dealing. Some POD publishers have already caved in, signing the contract under duress, as it were.
And you may think that traditional publishers won't be affected. But it could be a matter of time, you know?
It bears watching.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Nothing, perhaps, except endless internal dialogue. "He wondered" this; "he wondered" that. He pondered, he paused, he considered, he worried, he thought, he contemplated.
He needs to tell the voices in his head to be quiet and get on with whatever it is he's supposed to be doing!
So I'm a little sensitized to it right now. I'm still reading Ilse Witch by Terry Brooks. And not to pick on Terry Brooks, but...I'm going to pick on Terry Brooks.
I am almost convinced that this book wasn't edited.
What's my beef? Well, aside from the endless internal dialogue and rambling blah-blah-blah of characters, there's this little issue of ridiculous word tags.
Yes. Ridiculous word tags often coupled with -- gasp -- "ly" adverbs.
Are you with me?
And I'm asking myself, what happened to the Invisible Said?
But don't take my word for it. See for yourself:
From page 11: "Once, only," the other advised.
Advised? It jumped out at me as awkward, but to each his own, right? Right, until you get to page 37:
"I know of the expedition," Walker advised quietly, and bid him continue.
Now we have "advised quietly."
And lo and behold, the word "advised" continues to show up regularly, each time bearing itself like a fresh, red zit that you don't really want to look at.
Along with "advised," we have "he inquired," "he whispered," "he greeted pleasantly," "he called back to them," "he roared to everyone who would listen," "he declared loudly," "he snapped," "he agreed finally," "she admitted," "he announced approvingly," "he replied suspiciously," "she pressed," and "he declared."
And that's in the first 75 pages. The book is over 450 pages long.
I don't know how much more of this I can stand.
Here's an "in context" example from page 153:
"How well do you intend to pay?" his sister interjected quickly.
"What would be your normal rate of pay for a long voyage?" Walker queried.
Queried? Is he looking for an agent?
And here's "advised" again on page 163: "This way," Redden Alt Mer advised, starting off down the dock toward the beach.
Here's a good dose of "telling" instead of "showing": "How did you know we were coming?" Bek asked in surprise.
I'll stop now. I think you've gotten the gist of what I'm ranting about.
And, too, there's the teeny-tiny fact that I'm on page 231 and the characters still have not embarked upon their quest.
Yep! Halfway through the book and they haven't actually begun their journey.
I work so hard to tighten my writing. You all know how hard that is! I'm still in process, you know? So very much in process. That's what's so awesome about crit partners and feedback and such.
So when I read the work of a long-lived, bestseller author, and the writing is about as tight as a 90-year-old's abs, it's just a bit...discouraging.
Not to mention painful to read. Oh, the guy's got a story, to be sure! Rife with epic fantasy cliche that I could certainly do without, but he knows how to weave it.
But where....oh where, oh where, oh where....was his editor?
Does he have an editor?
Maybe he should hire Merc.
So, who's game to pick up the book and read it along with me? Can we work together to discover what's really good about it, and what isn't? Is there somebody here who actually wants to say to me, "Authoress, you're all wet, mama. It's an excellent book without flaw."?
I really am teachable. I really do want to be a better -- and better and better -- writer. I really do read books to hone my own craft, as well as for entertainment.
And right now, I am neither entertained nor learning much. Except, perhaps, what not to do.
Will you join me? Let me know!
And have a wonderful Memorial day weekend.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
From THE DRAGON BOX
The witch chuckled and put the Crystal back into her robe. “Hmmm, I shall have to think. Would you fight me for it?”
James trembled and watched in horror, as Khalana grew taller. There was no way he could fight her. But what could he do? He looked at Mack for support, but the old wizard had found something interesting to look at in the sky. At last, an idea came to him. “I won’t fight you, because I don’t want to hurt you.” He was relieved to see Khalana shrink again. “But if the Crystal is no use to you, perhaps you could think of something you want and I could try to get it for you?”
Mack looked at him now, his eyes twinkling.
Khalana laughed. “You? I doubt you could find a leaf in a forest! But the idea has merit. Very well, I want three things.”
“Three for one, that’s not fair!” James clenched his fists
Khalana’s eyes flashed. “You’re either very brave or very stupid, boy. You’re no match for me. I could turn you into a frog right now! Do you want the Crystal, or not?”
“Okay.” James kept his voice velvet soft, making sure it didn’t shake. He wouldn’t let her grow again. “What do you want?”
“ First of all, I want the feather of a dragon. Bring me that and I’ll tell you the next thing.”
Everyone, but Mack, gasped. Ben lifted one of his wings, looked under it then back at James and shrugged.
“There’s no such thing.” James’s face was burning.
Khalana smiled. “Nevertheless, that’s what I want. If you want the Crystal of Mommek, find me one.”
With another loud crack, she vanished.
“Ha! Stupid giants. Just like turtles, can't reach their backside—hey!”
NOT ALL GIANTS ARE INFLEXIBLE, YOU KNOW
“Um. I gathered that. I mean, just now.”
I'M NOT STUPID
YOU SAID 'STUPID GIANTS', THAT'S A COMMON MISNOMER
“Oh yeah? What color is the outer region of the Fion Nebula?”
GREENISH-BLUE. DO YOU SUBSCRIBE TO THE HALO-THEORY OR THE GASEOUS INCARNATION MODEL?
“Um. Sorry, I don't really know anything about astronomy, it was just something I heard an old wizard talking about.”
“Hey! Humans aren't dumb!”
THEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?
RIGHT. THOUGHT SO. WELL, SINCE YOU DON'T... WHAT'S THE MATTER?
“It's just... You're SO LOUD.”
HERE, YOU CAN SIT ON MY TABLE... BETTER?
RIGHT. WHERE WAS I?
“... Since you don't?”
AH... SINCE YOU DON'T HAVE ANY IDEA WHY YOU'RE HERE, LET ME ENLIGHTEN YOU. SOME MINSTREL STROLLED THROUGH YOUR TOWN, FLIRTING WITH THE LADIES AND, AS A SORT OF CRUEL FOOTNOTE, HE DROPPED A WONDERFUL TALE ABOUT GIANTS WITH HENS, GOLDEN EGGS, CHESTS OF TREASURE AND THE LIKE... YOU, KNOWING THAT A GIANT LIVED NOT TOO FAR FROM YOUR VILLAGE, THOUGHT YOU MIGHT DROP IN WHILE HE WAS ASLEEP AND LIFT SOMETHING SHINY TO MAKE YOU THE RICHEST MAN IN THE KINGDOM... THAT SUM IT UP?
“Mrrr ffrglbrrt rafma funnnrrbbrbbl...”
“It would have worked if I hadn't dropped that medallion!”
YES, WELL, YOU DID PICK THE LARGEST PIECE OF GOLD IN THE HOUSE.
“It was the only piece of gold in the house!”
“I mean, where's all your stuff?”
WELL. I DO LIVE IN THE MOUNTAINS. ALONE. IN A ROCK COTTAGE. WITH A CRACKED DOOR. CLEARLY I'M NOT BURDENED WITH WEALTH.
“I can see that!”
OR FOOD... NO NO, DON'T RUN AGAIN...
“Aaaah! Giant Dog!”
“Sorry? Sorry! You said you were alone!”
WORGIE'S SO QUIET I HARDLY KNOW WHEN HE'S HOME OR RAIDING VILL... ERR... HUNTING FOR FOOD.
“I could have been eaten!”
AND PROBABLY WILL BE...
“I've never seen a dog that big.”
IT'S A WORG. A WOLF. THEY GET BIG.
“Like the one that keeps raiding Fernville downriver?”
“It is the one raiding Fernville?”
WELL, HE DOES LIKE CATTLE.
“Goodness-sakes-mercy-alive... Hold on...”
“You said, 'PROBABLY WILL BE'...”
YOU'RE LAGGING A BIT BEHIND IN THIS DISCOURSE.
“I said, 'I could have been eaten', and you said, 'AND PROBABLY WILL BE.'”
YEP. IN YOU GO.
“I could bring you food. Lots of food.”
WE'VE ALREADY ESTABLISHED THAT YOU'RE VERY POOR.
“I never said that!”
YOU'RE HERE, STEALING FROM THE POOREST GIANT IN THIS KINGDOM.
“Right. I could gather food for you?”
CAN YOU SLAY A WYVERN? NO? WELL HOW ABOUT A FEW DOZEN BEARS?
RIGHT. WELL THEN YOU'LL HAVE TO DO.
“No! Stop! I have an e... apo... epi...”
“No. At least, I don't think so; sounds painful.”
“Yes. That's it. I have an idea.”
THIS SHOULD BE PRECIOUS.
“Okay. Fernville has this problem... your worg?”
THAT'S A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE; HE HAS TO EAT.
“Right. Point taken. But so do you.”
NEVERMIND. GO ON.
“So... where was I?”
“Right! Fernville! So your worg is a problem—”
ALREADY ASSERTED AS OPINION
“Try to see things from their point of view...”
“Oh, ha ha... very funny. Seriously. It is a real problem for them. I mean, it's eating their cattle, their stuff... them.”
I FAIL TO SEE WHY ANY OF THIS CONCERNS ME.
“Well, Fernville wants the worg to go away. Eventually they'll spring for a wizard or a great hero to come downriver and slay it. You want to keep the worg—Worgie—around as a pet. I want to live.”
ALL VALID POINTS; UNFORTUNATELY WITH ZERO COHESION.
JUST GO ON BEFORE I DECIDE TO TEST YOUR COHESION.
“I think I'd rather not. So, what if you offered them a sort of deal?
“Oh, I've got your attention? Good. You make Worgie hunt somewhere else and they haul a third of their crops into the hills every year for you... maybe a few cattle too.”
AND A VIRGIN.
THE DRAGONS ALWAYS GET VIRGINS. THEY'RE SO SWEET AND SOFT.
RIGHT. ANYWAYS, IT'S NOT A BAD PLAN. DO GO ON.
CONTINUE. PROCEED. PROGRESS.
“Ah. I would, but that's all of it.”
WELL, SIMPLE IS GOOD. I SEE ONLY ONE FLAW.
IT DOESN'T INCLUDE YOU.
YOUR PLAN—A GOOD ONE, MIND YOU—DOESN'T REQUIRE YOU TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
“It's my plan! I thought of it!”
YES, BUT NOW YOU'VE TOLD IT TO ME.
OF COURSE... IF YOU COULD WRITE WORDS, THEN YOU COULD PEN THE DEMANDS FOR ME...
“You can't read? I mean... yes! I'll need a quill and ink. And a scroll... maybe a leather scrap.”
YOU CAN PLUCK A QUILL FROM THE GOLDEN-EGG-LAYING GOOSE OUT BACK.
BWAH HA HA. YOU SHOULD SEE YOUR FACE... NEVERMIND. I DO HAVE SOME OLD TRINKETS FROM ALL THE OTHER... VISITORS. CHEST IS IN BACK, YOU'RE WELCOME TO LOOK FOR ANYTHING SUITABLE.
“So you aren't going to eat me?”
NOT UNLESS I GET BORED
“... I'll go look for something to use as quill and ink, then.”
ANOTHER CLEVER THOUGHT. THAT'S YOUR SECOND. HURRY UP, BEFORE I DECIDE A SNACK NOW IS BETTER THAN A FEAST NEXT MONTH.
“That's your first.”
MY FIRST? OH YES, CLEVER THOUGHT. TOUCHÉ!
"Daddy, please come to Grandma's for Christmas
"I'm in Virginia. I have to make money."
"Don't you love me?"
"This has nothing to do with if I love you or not. Its money, baby."
"Aren't I more important than money?"
A resounding silence was her answer. "I love you, Daddy."
"Thank you, shortribs."
"I love you. Say it back, Daddy. I love you."
"I love you too. Give me your Momma."
"Momma." Daddy always chooses the road over me.
Momma told the young girl, "He has to. He wants to be here he just can't."
"No! He doesn't want to be here or he would be here."
Twelve years later
"I need more attention. You want me to stay in this I need more. You say you care, but when I need you, you just aren't there. Not anymore."
"Listen, I'll admit that I don't have the time for you that you deserve. I'm just so damn, busy. I do care about you, baby girl. Do you still love me? I don't blame you if you don't. I wouldn't."
"Yes, I love you. I just need more. My love for you will never die, no matter how much I want it to."
"I think of you always, baby girl," with that she hung up.
"Why, God, why can't I stop loving him? I want to."
He had asked her for patience. "Stay baby. Please be patient. I need you."
"How much patience can a girl give? Hmm… you want to answer that one God? How much more?"
From THE GRASSHOPPER
"Excuse me?" the voice came again.
"Could you desist?"
"You are about to wreck my home. Could you quit pulling the grass?" asked the grasshopper.
"Sure. Whatever." Jared moved.
"So you upset the professor huh?" the squirrel taunted.
"You'd better move," the grasshopper said.
The buffalo said in a voice of a little girl "What are you?"
"I'm Jared. What is this place?"
"This is my home, the prairie. You'd should run. The hunters are coming. They took the fairy princess that guards our home and got past the barrier."
"Well, I'd better catch up to my herd."
"You do that."
"Abi, can you come here please?"
"Can you calm down for a moment so we can converse logically?"
"What would you like to say, my sir?" she replied.
"Stop with this attitude." Without thinking he asked, "What can I do to make you trust me?"
"Jacob, I do trust you."
"No, you don't. Every time we get in an argument you walk away, every time you get angry you refuse to speak, I'm tired of being feared. Have I ever done anything that would lead you to thinking I'm like your father?"
"I'm going to ask one thing from you. Only one. Agreed?"
"We are completely honest and open to one another with our feelings. This relationship is going to fail without communication. We have too much riding on this and too many obstacles in our way. I need this from you."
"I'm angry because I feel as you diminish my want to help others and disapprove of how I act with Annie."
"I think you are a great mother. Is it realistic to believe you can help everyone in need?"
"No, but we can help a few."
"Yes, we can do as much as we can to improve the life of those around us. Feel better?"
"See that wasn't so hard. Now was it?"
"About 10.00 p.m. You were sleeping and I didn't have the heart to wake you. I'm surprise you didn't hear the dogs bark. Poor things thought they weren't going to eat. What did you have for supper, anything good?"
"Subway." Owen says still half asleep. "Are we doing anything tonight?"
"Nothing as far as I know. Why, you want to take me out on date? " I say hoping for a miracle.
"No. I'm going to go look at a new truck." Owen's eyes avoid me.
"You didn't tell me, you were getting a new truck."
"I'm telling you now."
"Your truck is only a year old. Why do you need a new truck?"
"Because I don't want my truck to break down when I plow snow this winter."
"Weren't we were going to trade in the car? It's eight years old."
"You'll get a new car later."
"Yeah, it's always later for me. You come first in everything. When are you going to put me first? It would be nice for that to happen. Last year, you said you would get a new car for me after Christmas, and Christmas was nine months ago."
"Stop bitching! You get everything you want." Owen's anger shows in his cold, piercing blue eyes.
"No, I won't stop! Tell me, what it is that I get? We have a broken refrigerator, doors with holes in them, and a washer and dryer I picked up from freecycle. Yeah look at me, a real spoiled brat!"
“What have you got for me?”
“No, right now all I can tell you is that bodies around the city are bursting into random chunks and scattering themselves around the inhabitants domiciles and that it’s been happening, at random, for over ninety years. I have no suspect. No evidence. No connections. Just… bodies.”
“That’s not what I want to hear.”
“Well, it’s not what I want to say. But until some thug stops my in the alley with a clue-by-four there’s nothing I can do. I’ve taken to walking alone at night in the bad end of town in the desperate hope that someone with a fat lip and a lisp will grab me by the collar and tell me, ‘Mister Buttons is very unhappy about you asking questions about his personal business.’”
“Mister Buttons?” Evans looked amused.
“Yeah, Mister Buttons, who’s been hunting down an interstellar ring of zipper smugglers. He goes to their houses and makes it clear he’s very unhappy that they’re smuggling zippers onto his all-buttons turf!”
“That’s a terrible theory, Harlowe.”
“Yeah, well, it’s the best I’ve got.”
“I can’t name a planet where zippers are illegal.”
“This is the reason the case went cold, Evans. There were never any clues. The killer doesn’t play games, doesn’t leave messages on the wall, the bodies just appear.”
“Every serial killer has a motive. They always leave clues. There is always a connection. Keep digging. I’ll have one of the boys bring you some food.”
Aydin stopped chewing mid crunch to stare at me. "What's wrong?"
I was horrified to feel a tear slide down my cheek. I flicked it away. "Not
a thing. Why?"
He resumed chewing before shoving another chip into his mouth. "Oh, I don't
know. From the look on your face, you seem ready to bite my head off. Here."
He offered me the bag of chips. "Bite one of these instead."
I grabbed the bag and dug my hand in for a fistful. I sat on the bed to eat
them. Potato chips had never tasted so good.
He reached for the bag and I yanked it away. "Mine."
"Fine." He tugged a package of pretzels from a shopping bag. "You're craving
the salt, you know."
I licked my fingers. "No, I'm craving food. I'm starving."
"Yeah, but your body also needs salt. The salt counteracts the curse working
through you and it helps get your body back to normal."
How about that. I learned something new every day in my crazy world of
curses and flying monkeys. "You know this from experience?"
"Yup." He snapped the end off a pretzel. "I don't remember the exact date,
but it was sometime during the twelfth century. When the Vyantara first got
their hooks into me."
This contradicted what I'd been told that morning. "But you're a member."
He blew out an exasperated sigh. "Not at first, and definitely not
willingly. You shouldn't believe everything you hear."
You're such an amazing group of writers, I don't even have to remind you to play nice.
Remember, we want to know:
Does the dialogue propel the action forward? If not, why not?
Do the tags/beats/internal monologues/short narrations work? If not, why not?
And are you drawn into the story? Do you want to read more? If not, why not?
OK, bear with me while I get these entries posted. And hopefully this time I won't miss any (bowing and groveling profusely in Becca's general direction...)
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Isn't it amazing how a genuine desire to help and to teach garners such an affectionate, thankful, overwhelming response?
Sycophants aside, I mean.
Miss Snark's sharp-yet-not-unkind advice, as my gentle readers already know, forever changed my writing. I'm sure there aren't many agents/editors/authors/anyone-in-the-writing-businesses who are willing to spend the amount of time -- expend the amount of cerebral energy -- that Miss Snark spent on her eager audience.
So yes, I thank you again, Miss Snark.
And in all my anonymous glory, I wish you the very best.
Monday, May 19, 2008
This is what I want you to submit:
Up to one full page (approx. 250 words) of mostly dialogue (internal monologue and beats are fine, but no narration) that PROPELS THE ACTION FORWARD.
Not dialogue that develops character relationship, or solves an immediate problem, or exists for the sole purpose of showing off our dialogue-writing skills.
Give me dynamic dialogue that gets something DONE. Dialogue without which your story would stall.
Have you done it? Can you do it? Let us have a look at it!
Because, truly, who needs "blah blah blah" just for its own sake?
Post your questions in the comment box below. Please email all entries to authoressmail (at) gmail.com by 9:00 AM EDT on Thursday, May 22 (that's 3:00 PM London).
Friday, May 16, 2008
And do you hate clichés as much as I do?
So I've got to mention why I'm off on this tangent, and then maybe I'll feel better.
Some time ago, somebody -- I don't remember who, I don't remember why -- gave me a hardback copy of The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara -- Ilse Witch by Terry Brooks. It sat on my bookshelf until I ran out of other things to read, which happened yesterday.
And by the time I got to page 22, I was annoyed. Because there I found the following sentence:
She slipped through the door of the Healer's home on cat's paws...
How do bestselling authors get away with this stuff?
I'm not dissing Terry Brooks. Tolkien knock-off notwithstanding, Mr. Brooks is fairly adept at head-jumping (otherwise known as point-of-view shift, otherwise known as something we're not "supposed to" do) and storytelling. He' s a prolific writer who has built a strong world and who obviously holds his readers' interest over the long haul.
In all seriousness, the very hackneyedness of the phrase almost caused me to slam the book shut. My stomach dropped (the way stomachs do when something is just that bad) and I wondered if the 432 pages were worth the potential pain.
Fortunately, I got over myself and continued reading. I'll let you know how everything turns out.
So is it me? Have I been utterly brainwashed to beware anything remotely clichéd no matter the cost? Or is "cat's paws" something that should have been annihilated a long time ago?
(Flash: I was unable to spell "annihilated" without the aid of my spell checker. Does that put me in the same league as "cat's paws"?)
Commiserate with me, if you will -- or else slap me back to my senses. I wouldn't want to come off as a bitter wannabe (I'm not) or an incessantly nitpicky woman (I can be) or too lofty for my own good (no comment).
And when all is said and done, have a great weekend.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
There's something satisfying about watching the creativity of others come to life. Yanno? It's mentally invigorating.
So let's do another little brain stretch that doesn't have to do with tiny story writing, but rather with words that are easily and often mixed up. Do you know the difference between the following pairs of words? Can you come up with some others to add to the list?
Am I being really anal?
compliment and complement
dual and duel
farther and further
throws and throes
between and among
ensure and insure
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Post your 10-word story in the comment box.
Give it a title, and then make sure the story is exactly ten words long.
Let's see how creative we can be on a Monday morning.
I'll go first:
Out of condoms.
Just this once.
It's a boy.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thank you to everyone for another successful Are You Hooked. We'll do the blurb thing again at some point, and those of you who received feedback encouraging you to tighten or re-write will be welcome to submit your new, improved blurbs to see if they work better.
In the meantime, talk to me about book trailers. Are they selling books? Will you be using them for your own books? Have you seen any good ones that have actually encouraged you to purchase the book they touted?
Personally, I think the concept is great, but I've seen some really poor ones out there. Really poor. As in, did someone offer to do this for free so they could learn how to use the software?
Yeah, really poor.
So tell me what your experiences have been.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Half angel and half human, Chalice knows that inheriting powers from your parents has its drawbacks. It's the reason she's abducted by a sorcerer, then taken to Chicago, where she's forced to use her supernatural senses to steal cursed objects for her kidnapper. Twelve years later, a note from her dead mother reveals a secret that will change Chalice's life forever.
As much as Chalice would like to tell her magical master to go to hell, it won't do her any good. She's branded with a gargoyle's curse and it takes a lick from the creature's tongue every three days to keep her from changing into the bat-winged devil of her nightmares. The only way to break the curse is to kill the gargoyle. Problem is, gargoyles are supposed to be immortal. Her fallen angel father gives her the secret for killing the beast, but freedom won't come without cost. Everything has its price, and for Chalice, the currency is death.
Din is not a brave man. His battle ground is fictional heroes. His weapon of choice is Storytelling. His greatest fear? The giant man with the ax and temper.
He's quick to point out that song and joke aren't likely to kill anyone, no matter how poorly delivered. But when Din meets Kara, their mysterious guide, he is determined to uncover her story, or maybe just hypnotized by her blue-green eyes. Either way, he agrees to the mission. Of course, nobody mentions until afterwards that there won't be any coffee...
Struggling to find an identity John is caught up in the kind of adventure he thought he'd never see outside Hollywood. There's a beautiful blond who wants to console him over his Grandmothers death, a smiling man who wants his soul, and a motley group of intergalactic rejects who want his help. John now has to choose between curing cancer, ending war, and prolonging lives and giving everyone else the chance to make that choice for themselves. And he needs to do that before his calculus test on Thursday.
As a boy, Edmund Morcant fell into the pit at the center of the world and vanished for thirty years. No one noticed.
Now he's returned to Blencock, the Gray City of Steam, alive and rich, accompanied by two mystic bodyguards, and with unwholesome plans for his birthplace. Although he claims he wishes to restore the dilapidated city, the sudden spike in crime raises suspicions and unease.
Morcant isn't the only new arrival in Blencock. A mysterious criminal mastermind known as the Gentleman has staked out the city for his own and has started a turf war with the oldest demon in the city--the Minister. Both have the same ambition: to detach Blencock from the world, and reality, and use the city as the new capital in Hell.
Morcant has connections with both the Gentleman and the Minister, and his aid may tip the balance between the two and give one victory. Or he could singlehandedly destroy the city, an outcome he favors more and more.
Troy "Heckler" Sinclair is used to days from hell. It comes with working for demons most of his life. But when Baal shows up to collect debts Heckler owes, Hell would be a vacation compared to the week ahead.
Father Time's three split personalities are waging a private war and screwing with the space-time continuum. The conflict threatens to make Duluth the next Brigadoon, so Mr. Past wants Heckler to assassinate Present and Future. If he doesn't, Mr. Past has nasty plans that don't stop with killing him. Baal wants Heckler to take out the Hell Team, and if he doesn't, Baal has even nastier plans. And then there's the entire Summer Fey court after Heckler for past insults.
When Heckler slips up and starts to care about his team mates--never a good plan when you're supposed to murder them--it gets downright messy.
Yeah, hell doesn't begin to describe it.
Merlin’s Bookshelf: Mason and the Pirates
Shiver me timbers!
Minutes after entering the new bookstore, Merlin’s Bookshelf, nine-year-old Mason finds himself marooned on a deserted island with no way home. Could things get any worse? That question is answered all too soon when he uncovers a coded message buried in the sand—a message belonging to Captain Silverfang and his pirate crew.
Caught red-handed with coordinates to a treasure hoard, Mason is forced to join Silverfang’s crew and search for their stolen booty. Codes, puzzles and deadly traps await, but even if Mason can recover Silverfang’s loot, how will he ever unravel the biggest mystery of all—finding the way back to Merlin’s Bookshelf?
Rose Connolly comes from four generations of famously beautiful women. Her great-great grandmother was the first spokes-model for the most successful cosmetics company in America, and that title has been passed down from mother to daughter for one hundred years. On her sixteenth birthday, it's Rose's turn - except Rose has gained fifty pounds in the past three months. Her mother has hired a personal trainer and put her on a rigid schedule. But, no matter how little she eats or how hard she works, the weight just isn’t coming off. If something doesn’t happen soon, how will she be able to face the entire country on her birthday?
Submissions were rather light this time, but perhaps that will give us more time to respond to each entry.
I do want to point out that, if your submission has been included in this round of Are You Hooked, it would be greatly appreciated if you were to leave your own feedback/critique on the other blurbs posted. It's a mutual back-scratching sort of thing.
Remember, read each entry as though it were on the jacket flap of a book you've just picked off the shelf at a bookstore. Does it draw you in? Do you want to read more? If so, why? If not, why not?
Read the blurbs as though you've got enough money in your pocket for just one book. Will this be the book you buy? Will it go on your "maybe next time" list? Or will it bite the dust?
Give these brave souls your best feedback!
Monday, May 5, 2008
Here's the deal: Pretend your book is already in print -- a beautifully crafted, hard bound book with a high quality dust jacket, prominently displayed at your favorite brick-and-mortar.
A curious reader opens the nearest copy in order to read the jacket flap...
What does it say?
Write your jacket flap and send it to me at authoressmail (at) gmail.com.
Hint: If you've already got a decent query letter (i.e., your query letter actually garners responses from agents), there's a good chance you've got a paragraph or two in there that serves as your "blurb." If you don't already have a decent query letter, perhaps this exercise will help you to whip up an exciting enough book hook to start raking in those requests for partials and fulls.
Questions? Post them here.
All submissions received by 9:00 am EDT on Thursday, May 8, will be included.
Friday, May 2, 2008
In other words, if it's past 3:00 or so in New York, chances are you won't hear a thing until Monday at best.
You're dead in the water for another weekend.
Admittedly, this deflated feeling comes and goes with the ebb and flow of attempting-to-publish-one's-work. Lots of partials and fulls out to agents? Friday double stink. Running a bit dry and not caring a whole lot what happens to your current project? This Friday may not be so painful. Just hit the three-month-mark with your agented submissions to the Top Three editors of your choice? Friday overflows with suckage.
You all know what I mean.
Unless, of course, you are fresh from the typewriter, eager to embark upon this perilous journey for the first time. For you, Friday is simply...Friday.
I wish I were so un-jaded.
For me, this particular Friday isn't so bad. My prospects have fizzled to one outstanding partial, and I'm not too hopeful that this one will go any further. I've nearly spent my list of appropriate agents for this particular project, and I've got to decide what to do next. Do I:
1. Go back through the personal feedback I've received and decide if I should do some re-writing to accomodate?
2. In particular, should I revisit the comments from the editor who didn't like my protag's voice? (Even though nobody else seemed to dislike my main character?)
3. Move on to the new project I've got simmering on the back burner? (What a tired cliche...)
4. Set everything aside and focus on something un-writing-related for a month or two?
5. Throw myself from the nearest bridge?
And what about you? What are you going to do this Friday?
Thursday, May 1, 2008
* Wow, why didn't anyone pick up where Merc left off with our little switch-the-genre thing? Her words were written with a crafty smirk -- couldn't you see it? *wink*
* The Publishing World has its own definition of the verb "to publish;" as in, "One of us thought that your work was good enough to pay money for, so we bought the rights and printed a few copies with our name on it." The dictionary and most self-published authors disagree. I find myself wondering how my readers feel about this.
* We'll be doing another crit posting next week. Be thinking along the lines of: a hot blurb!
* If I see one more misuse of "its" and "it's" I'll retire to bedlam.
* Bonus points: From whence cometh the phrase, "I'll retire to bedlam?"