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!