Can Kate prove she didn’t bomb her college campus? Can FBI agent Patrick trust God to reveal the truth as he tries to clear Kate?
For this indie Christian book, I’m going to front-load all my complaints, and then focus on what I liked.
That way, it’s like struggling to remove the sticky wax-paper wrapper on a chocolate toffee, then getting to eat the toffee! (I’m sure lots of people compare my reviews to chocolate toffee…) Continue reading
Some people on the internet refuse to write or publish “negative” book reviews. They claim the writing world is a community, that every book took a lot of effort and tears from its author, and to “support” each other, we shouldn’t air our concerns or disappointments with another’s work.
The problem with that is that this community is about more than patting each other on the back, or smiling politely at something we think is sub-par. And we’re more than just writers – the readers who consume our work have a right to receive the best possible product we as writers can supply!
How do “bad book reviews” serve that purpose? Let’s break it down by who is benefitted by critical reviews: the reader, and the author. Continue reading
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.
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
The Book I Loved, the Series I Stopped
I haz rifle – and a pet spider. Ergo, I’s awesome.
Rangers Apprentice, by John A. Flanagan, is a series highly recommended to me by a good friend of mine. It follows the adventures of a group of characters in a quasi-mystical land where “Rangers” (Rogues, Hunters, Hide-in-shadows-shooting-with-deadly-accuracy-awesome, whatever the name is) train and serve the king of Araluen.
Sadly, it is also the series I think back on when I think of the wrong way to do cliffhangers. Differences in fiction taste aside, here’s why I loved the first book, but finally gave up on the series.
The Case Studies
1 The Ruins of Gorlan: They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied…
I’ve heard this book get some flack, but it was my favorite. Continue reading
I enjoy Twitter – and what I enjoy most is sharing and finding new blog posts or resources to help me in my writing journey. I realize not all of us are writers as well as readers, but for those who enjoy both, here are the articles/posts I’ve found most helpful or interesting this past year.
(I read 99% of the articles I tweet out, but not all of them are worth going back to later. The ones below are worth the effort!)
The Authoring Landscape
by Sean P. Carlin (@SeanPCarlin):
A long and thought-provoking post about assigning authorship to intellectual property, the hazards of mob rule, “correcting for history”, and the baffling fact that someone has published a collection of Shakespeare’s works with Christopher Marlowe as co-author. Important read with telling worldview implications. Continue reading
What the Vote Tells Writers About Ourselves
Much has been said of Donald Trump’s recent election as president of the U.S.
I think it can be used to illustrate the self-publishing environment, with some worldview implications that are very interesting.
The ebook market of the last decade or so has been deluged in material, especially from small-scale authors. It’s no longer necessary to get an agent or sign a publishing contract; all that’s needed to get your words in front of people is a few basic tech resources and a document of text.
Authors (typically) like this, and I think one of the reasons is they can do what they want. Continue reading
More Powerful In His Death
Ratatouille‘s Gusteau, though dead, still towers over the movie. Arguably, he’s a more powerful figure than he might have been had the moviemakers kept their original plan of keeping him alive. Warning: thematic spoilers. Continue reading
It’s Not What’s Said, But What’s Not Said
There are different ways of “telling” someone something, and there are different ways of “showing” someone something. Don’t think that just because video games are largely visual experiences – rather than text – doesn’t mean they’re not “telling” (or, violently shoving information on the audience). Continue reading
How It’s Done
“Show, don’t tell.” We’ve all heard it. But applying it is something else, especially when there are different ways of showing and different ways of telling. I’d like to focus on one example of some first-rate “experience-giving” vs. “info-dumping”: Half-life 2. Continue reading
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