“Hazardous Duty” by Christy Barritt

A Cautionary Tale for Writers

 Surfing Amazon one day for “Christian mystery” (or some similar keyword) I came across this book about a crime scene cleaner who finds evidence that the police missed – and it was free! I downloaded it, eager to start reading, and went to load it onto my e-reading device.

BLAM!

File is locked with DRM (digital rights management), meaning I couldn’t read it on my Nook (it’s a Kindle/.mobi file), nor on my dad’s Kindle (device registered to him, book registered to me).

Almost a year later, I did finally get to start reading (because AT&T got me a smartphone, long story short)…but needless to say it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Gabby St. Claire is a professional crime scene cleaner, and an interesting enough character. The perky go-getter type, with an interest in chemistry and forensics, she uncovers evidence in one of the houses she’s cleaning that seems to shed light on a murder investigation.

She then immediately jumps to a conclusion, and pursues that conclusion through the rest of the book. Most sleuths pursue a mystery: she pursued her conclusion…and guys. Continue reading

Trust: the Economics of Ebooks

IMG_7670 In this season of buying, selling, celebrating, advertising…I’d like to take a moment to talk about ebooks. The market of ebooks actually reveals some profound facets of our philosophy, and points to the worldview that underlies our actions.

From the prices of ebooks (for which I’ll direct you to Jordan Smith) to DRM (which I’ll explain in detail), how authors and readers interact matters – both to how readers view writers and their works, and to how writers are compensated for the toil and tears they put into creating their book.

Continue reading

“Blott” by Daniel Parsons

Not C. S. Lewis, But He Could Have Been

Now I understand the kickback against independent publishing (sort of). Yet for all this manuscript’s unprofessionalism, the story still swept me along so that I had no choice but finish it.

The story centers around Blott, a boy whose village faces starvation due to a drought and is controlled almost exclusively by the chief member of the council. In an attempt to find relief for his people, Blott discovers things about himself and his world, and is forced to explore the strange abilities that separate him from the rest of the people, even from his parents and brother. He also struggles with a violent enjoyment of destruction that might come from some mysterious external puppet-master, or from a well of darkness in his own soul. Continue reading