Friday, May 18, 2018

What's in a Word - Keeping Your Characters in Charge, or Not Letting Body Parts Wander Off on Their Own

Lately I've been going through a lot of books, some bestsellers, some not, and some extremely enjoyable. But let's face it, everyone has their pets peeves, the thing no one else seems to notice but what yanks you right out of the story.

For me it's autonomous body parts, as anyone I beta for can vouch for. You know, when body parts act on their own while the character sits back and does nothing.

"His hand gripped the phone." No, he gripped the phone.

"Her hand turned the steering wheel." No, her hand has no power on its own. She turned the steering wheel.

When this is really obvious is during sex scenes. Even if it never occurs anywhere else in a book, some authors tend to break people down into parts during intimacy. It distances me from the characters and action, and makes me wonder if it's the author's way of distancing themselves, if they're not entirely comfortable writing sex.

When we're reading, we are supposed to fully immerse in story, become the character, so "His lips kissed..." adds distance, whereas "he kissed" not only keeps the protag in charge of his body parts, it helps us be the character.

Don't get me wrong, my early efforts have examples of this, coaxed out of me (sometimes forcefully) by editors. Which might be why I notice so much.

But when all is said and done, "he" is a lot easier to write than "his hand" and keeps the person in control of his body.

The one that gives me bad visuals is "my eyes flew to the window." Ouch.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Preorder for GRL 2018

Those of you who are attending GRL and wish to pre-order books, you can do so now at the following link, cleverly labeled:

Preorder Form

Friday, May 11, 2018

What I'm Reading -- The Consumption of Magic by TJ Klune

Witty dialogue meets perfect narrator and equals one heck of an experience. I've laughed, I've cried, and I've replayed favorite parts of this story again. 

While The Lightning Struck Heart and A Destiny of Dragons were amazing, there is something about the third installment of TJ Klune's Tales From Verania series that just strikes a chord with me. Maybe it's because I've come to love the characters so much, and missed them while waiting for the third book to go audio, maybe it's because I really need to laugh while going through a tough time. Whatever the reason, Sam, Ryan, Justin, Tiggy, Gary, Kevin, and all the rest have landed squarely in my heart. 

I have yet to finish the story, but am enjoying the ride. 

Each character is so well-fleshed out, and some of the dialogue, how the friends speak to each other, had caused coffee spews on my way to work. I can't wait for the end of the workday to hear more. 

I'm also caught up in the world-building. What an awesome place Verania is. I've recently realized that I'd gotten away from fantasy books, when in fact, fantasy was my first reading love. Swords, knights, dragons, wizards, and a six inch tall naked man. What's not to love? 

And Sam. Oh, Sam. How entertaining he is, whether he's coming up with the best idea ever (or worst disaster) or sassing off to oldest and most revered wizard ever, he is one heck of a lot of fun. 

I'm sure to suffer major book hangover once the story ends. Although I've only written a few lines here, I'll add more once I finish the book. 

Or I'll start the series all over again. 


Friday, May 4, 2018

What I'm Reading - Outcast Mine by Jamie Craig

II just realized today that I'd never added a "Sci-fi" category to my book tags, even though I adore the genre and always have. However did that happen? I've corrected the neglect for Outcast Mine by Jamie Craig, an extremely talented and new-to-me author.

One of my favorite things in books is being introduced to characters that are less then perfect at first--criminals, in this case--and learning to love them as the author unfolds their lives and motivations. Though vastly different in their sizes, background, ideology, race, and power, our two protags, Aleron and Jasak, were still evenly matched, and made a good team.

After dreaming of escaping the universe's worst prison, when Aleron finally gets exactly what he wants, he turns it down, having changed his mind on what meant the most to him. What tremendous character growth for him.

Jasak endeared me with his strong sense of honor, reflected even in his "crime." I listened to this story on audiobook, so have no idea how the spell the doctor's name, but I found him to be intriguing and a strong secondary character. And even though they might not have had the best of intentions, my heart broke for the other couple who didn't have so happy an ending.

What a believable world Jamie Craig created, pulling us down into the chasms of Tantoret to a brutal world where a life sentence meant just that--and a short life at that. A world where political greed was more important than human, and alien, life.

In the stifling mines where not even sunlight lifted the gloom, a bond formed, for reasons that changed over time, and grew into so much more. I must admit that at times I was doubtful of this story ending on a happy note, but common ground led to a HEA that left me cheering.

Is there a sequel?

Find it now at Amazon. Great price too!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

"Apples" and Oranges

Recently, while beta reading a crit partner's story, I was reminded of a practice I picked up early in my writing career, that lingers today. While I sincerely hope I've grown as a writer, some old habits didn't need changing.

What am I talking about? In a word: apple.

Yes, your read that correctly: apple.

"What do apples have to do with writing?" you ask.

Nothing, and everything. But if I send a manuscript to my betas without at least one occurrence still left in the text, well, it might not be my manuscript.

You see, sometimes while writing I need to go back to a previous chapter, do a find and replace, or otherwise leave my current location. Or, I may not have yet decided a name for Lucky's new coworkers.

Enter apple. It's great as a placeholder, as I can do a search on it, and get right back to where I was, or simply replace with the name once it's decided. One of my crit partners has begun to use that word too, and I don't know if I should be elated or sorry that I've taught her my habit.

I'm not sure quite why I chose "apple" for this purpose, but it's not broke, so I don't intend to fix it.

I just have to be careful that I don't hit "replace all" or someone might order a "David" pie at a local restaurant.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

What I'm Reading: Megan Derr

Although I'm busy writing my own novels, I'm still the same avid reader I always was, only, I get most of my stories via audiobook these days, due to an otherwise mind-numbing commute.

Because I love fantasy, I recently discovered an author who'd somehow managed to stay off my radar for years: Megan Derr. I've read several works my Megan lately, which I hope to talk about soon.

Devouring books like I do, it's hard to find something totally unique these days, but yet I did, in Dancing With the Devil (Dancing with the Devil #1)


I have a new favorite couple: Chris White and Sable Brennus. It's amazing how these two play off each other, each having a personality you'd likely want to attribute to the other. They are so perfect together.

Demon lord Sable is so calm, easygoing, and spoils Chris rotten, totally smitten from their first meeting, from the first time he called Chris "Beautiful". Despite his rags to riches story line, Chris remains...well...Chris, cynical, snarky, and willing to tell the city's most powerful man to shut up. However, he deeply loves Sable, and I really love how the author was able to keep him in character even as he gave his heart.

The story is oddly told, in a series of cases, as Chris is a private investigator in a paranormal world. Though he tries to come across as hardened and sarcastic, Chris can't help being softhearted toward those in need. Through these cases, we meet an amazing cast of characters, from spoiled rich girl Phil (love the pet pixie!), to Doug, an imp who captured my heart, to sorcerers, witches, ghost dads, goblins, and many more. At first the way the cases were laid out threw me, because one might be in their present day, then the next from years ago, but as I absorbed the story, I was impressed by the creativity, as I am with all Megan Derr stories. The end result is that, now finally having the whole series of events, I'm going to listen to this book again with the full knowledge of how the relationships end up. Yes, sigh. Doug got his happy too. I'd hoped for Phil to find someone, but don't think anyone could adore her as much as the pixie she saves and takes home.

I enjoyed this work as an audio book, and the narrator did a perfect job of capturing the characters, Sable, Chris, and Doug in particular.

It seems the next installment stars different characters, and that's cool, but here's hoping for another glimpse of the Dance With the Devil #1 gang.


I must admit to listening multiple times to chapters two and ten, for the lovely romantic development between the two main love interests. Sable. Sigh. Though he calls Chris "Beloved", I don't recall him saying, "I love you." He doesn't have to. It's abundantly apparent. 



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Welcome Michael Rupured

Today I'm honored to present a guest post from a marvelous author and friend, Michael Rupured, telling us about his newest novel. I've been a fan of his ever since I read Until Thanksgiving and Whippersnapper. 

He's also great company on road trips. So please welcome him to the blog!



The Queens of the Gilded Lily


The Case of the Missing Drag Queen is a lighthearted mystery set in 1982. Much of the action takes place at the Gilded Lily in Lexington, KY where our hero, Luke Tanner, tends bar for drag shows every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Writing a story set in my hometown with a large cast of drag queens was almost as fun as a good drag show.

I’ve seen hundreds of drag shows and watched thousands of drag queens perform since my first trip to a gay bar in 1979. The venues ranged from a cleared dance floor for shows in smaller clubs to the showroom at the Connection in Louisville with a grand stage and theater-style seating for several hundred. Talented performers who really know how to put on a show were the inspiration for the queens of the Gilded Lily.

Ruby Dubonnet, the headliner at the Gilded Lily, is the Pride of the Bluegrass. She’s a seasoned professional with a huge following and a penchant for highly dramatic performances. Nothing is the same after she disappears.

Pixie Wilder, the Trailer Park Fairy, takes Ruby’s place as the headliner. She’s tiny for a guy and a bit of a redneck with a thing for rhinestones, short skirts, and country music. Some of Ruby’s loyal fans think Pixie is behind Ruby’s disappearance.

Simone (the Dirty Duchess of Broadway) and Kitty Galore (Queen of the Cathouse) round out the cast of regular performers at the Gilded Lily. Guests include Cammie Towers (Sophisticated Lady), Mimi Von Sant (Madame on a Mission), and drag king Butch Manley (Man About Town). More stars come out for the big Halloween bash.

Luke Tanner, our reluctant hero, doesn’t want to get involved. Pixie talks him into helping her clear her name. The harder he tries to walk away, the deeper he gets sucked into The Case of the Missing Drag Queen.

Blurb

Broke, saddled with a mountain of debt, and dependent on his Aunt Callie's support, aspiring writer Luke Tanner has returned to Kentucky to put his life back together after a failed five-year relationship.

On his twenty-fifth birthday, Luke meets diminutive Pixie Wilder, a long-time performer at the Gilded Lily. After headliner Ruby Dubonnet doesn’t show up, Pixie takes her place as the star of the show—a motive that makes her a suspect in Ruby’s disappearance.

Luke reluctantly agrees to help his new-found friend clear her name. He and Pixie set out to find the missing drag queen, and in the process, put themselves in danger.

Cover Artist:

Buy Links



DSP Publications

Author Bio
Michael Rupured writes stories true enough for government work about gay life from the 1960s to today. This life-long Southerner was born in Fayetteville NC, grew up in Lexington KY, and after 18 months in Washington DC, moved to Athens GA where he’s lived since 1999. By day, he’s senior faculty in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia. He’s an avid fan of the Georgia Bulldogs, the Kentucky Wildcats, and any team playing the Florida Gators. In his free time, Michael tinkers with his garden, plays with Toodles (his diabetic chihuahua), and keeps up with his many friends around the country. Previous novels include Until Thanksgiving (thriller), No Good Deed (mystery/thriller), Whippersnapper (regional), and Happy Independence Day (historical). Visit his website (http://rupured.com), follow on Twitter @Crotchetyman), like his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichaelRupured/)  or shoot him a message (mrupured@gmail.com)