May 19, 2017

Every Book is a promise


Story time!

A while back, I picked up the latest book from an author who's back catalog had been enjoyable. There were stories I loved and stories that shot for the moon and just barely missed, spiraling off into space where the good and the bad got lost in a mishmash of familiar.

But that latest book...

As an author, every book is a promise. You make that promise with your blurb, your first page... sometimes with your name. In this case, the promise started with genre and name and even though the blurb had me reaching for the book with trepidation, the rest of the series had been SO. DANG. GOOD.

Established authors give an expectation simply by dint of being the one who wrote the book.
This book did not fulfill the promise set out by the author.

Reader, I was disappointed... and then, I was offended.

The content itself was not something that would offend anyone. It was the laziness the book was written with. It felt like a throw away. Like a collection of words smashed together with only the intent of fulfilling a contract.

I know this author can write beautiful books. I have fallen in love with their characters. But this book was sloppy. Characters never became likable. Characters suddenly did things that made no sense for the people they'd been set up as. The reversal felt too shallow and was repetitive of the recurring plot problems in the beginning. The resolution resolved next to nothing.

In short this book lacked believability. There was nothing to grab on to. No door to float on as the ship sank.

By the end of the book, I was so offended--I'd held out that entire time because I just knew this author would manage to pull it off, and then she didn't--that I returned the book.
That's not something I do. If I get five pages past the sample and realize I've made a mistake, sure. But I don't return books I've read all the way through. This one though... I was that offended.

My disappointment festered for a week and I sat down to write the first version of this post, thinking I'd sorted through my thoughts. I was still mad.

More importantly, I no longer trusted that author.

That lack of trust translated to my venturing to Amazon where I cancelled a preorder of a new book. I haven't bought one of her books since. Because I don't trust that the new ones will fulfill the promise.

The book that so offended me was from a series that was delightful otherwise. I don't imagine she would have half-assed the first book in that new series... but maybe.

Maybe she'd become complacent. Under delivering on a 3rd book seems safe enough. A readership from the first two is likely to continue on to the third and a readership after a few series is likely to give an author leeway. In theory, this first book in something new should be crafted in a way to draw in virgin readers... but I don't trust that anymore.

May 1, 2017

April Numbers


84,747-words in 20 days
(AVG: 4237-words/day)
7 projects + Admin

 


Edits always screw up my writing mojo. This month’s edit happened to also screw up my editing mojo. Pretty sure the best thing I can do with this book is to burn the print copy, delete all the digital versions and start fresh.

I’m not going to do that, but there’s every possibility this is evidence I’m in a cycle of literary self-brutalization. Let’s hope not.

Apr 3, 2017

March Numbers

 
88,190-words in 20 days
(AVG: 4409.5-words/day)
9 projects + Admin

Focus was not exactly my friend this month (when is it ever anymore), but I did manage to get a BIG chunk of one WIP done.

I’m going to blame that lack of focus on the two long weekends we took this week, one for my birthday, and one for our anniversary. Fun times, but the sort of thing that lets my brain wander freely to play with ideas that I don’t really need to harvest.

Another thing I decided to pay attention to this month was how much admin I did.  I tried to write enough fiction to keep that admin down below the 15% mark (and managed it this time around—probably because I did next to no blogging or prewriting).

I did manage to surpass all of my recorded word counts for March, so that’s pretty fun.

On to April!

Mar 2, 2017

February Numbers

Writing
71,471-words in 24 days
(AVG: 2,978-words/day)

6 Projects + Admin


Last month was…. Interesting.

I set out to do one thing, started strong, and then had something thrown at me that required ditching that particular goal. I’ll get back to it in a month or so, but for now, I’ve got a 6-week schedule that is possibly going to challenge my need for planning. Structure and I are friends.

Feb 8, 2017

What I'm Excited For In February


IRL
I’ll be finishing up my lower leg sleeve (Yay!) which is always fun. I have to say, the knee-adjacent work in the lining and shading was a lot easier than I expected, pain-wise.

We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day. I don’t know that we have anything specifically against it, we’ve just never seen a need. I find cut flowers depressing and the mark-ups on things are ridiculous (yay consumerism).

Lego Batman
Something tells me this is going to be my second favorite Batman movie (right between Batman Returns and the original)

Trainspotting 2
Who hasn’t been waiting for this? Who isn’t surprised they didn’t use the book’s title?

John Wick: Chapter 2
I have a SEVERE problem with the beginning of the first movie (don’t you dare hurt another dog, Alfie) but otherwise, I enjoy the chaos and shoot-em-up nonsense of it. Possibly my favorite thing Keanu has done since Speed.

A Cure For Wellness
I’ll take things that look like a mind-f*ck for five hundred, Alex.

Tulip Fever
First of all, can we talk about the madness of Zach Gallifianakas in a period piece? Because, bring that on. Otherwise, the trailer kind of reminds me of Perfume. And as disturbing as that movie is, it is beautiful and it gives me hope that this one will be too.

The Stars Are Legion (or Lesbians in Space) by Kameron Hurley ALREADY OUT!
Somewhere on the outer rim of the universe, a mass of decaying world-ships known as the Legion is traveling in the seams between the stars. For generations, a war for control of the Legion has been waged, with no clear resolution.  As worlds continue to die, a desperate plan is put into motion.

Zan wakes with no memory, prisoner of a people who say they are her family. She is told she is their salvation - the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, a world-ship with the power to leave the Legion. But Zan's new family is not the only one desperate to gain control of the prized ship. Zan finds that she must choose sides in a genocidal campaign that will take her from the edges of the Legion's gravity well to the very belly of the world.

Zan will soon learn that she carries the seeds of the Legion's destruction - and its possible salvation. But can she and her ragtag band of followers survive the horrors of the Legion and its people long enough to deliver it?

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab
London's fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie and Charlotte are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families.

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.

So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.   

A Perfect Machine by Brett Savory
Henry Kyllo is a member of a secret society called the Inferne Cutis. A Runner whose goal is to achieve full-body lead content. He is chased through the city every day by Hunters whose goal is to shoot the Runners — with the threat to both sides that if they do not participate, through a mysterious force no one understands, one of their loved ones will simply vanish from the face of the earth.

Rumours abound about what happens when a Runner achieves “ascension”, but it has supposedly never happened before, so no one knows for sure.

Except that it has happened before. And it is happening again. This time, to Henry Kyllo.   

Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson
It is Earth year 2213—but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we prepare for a second trip: a one-hundred-fifty-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home.

Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the very last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed.

Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space, and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a desperate struggle for survival.