I’m giggling gleefully over here!

So, I was sitting here on my sofa, catching up on all the television shows I’ve missed the past few manic weeks. Normally, I would fast-forward through the commercials — and I had every intention of doing so — but something caught my eye.

It seems everything these days is “artisan”: artisan beers, artisan cheeses, even artisan ice cream, for Pete’s sake!

Well. If there’s a bandwagon for this artisan thing, I’m on it, people! Introducing my new and improved marketing strategy:

These are not Indie Books! These are, in fact, ARTISAN books! Hand-crafted from the finest weird stuff ever to come out of my head!

finger pointing to right CLICK HERE finger pointing to left


The Gentle Man Feb 2015 The Loyal Man Feb 2015 TMMFrontCoverCSp

Pardon my snark…

A few weeks ago, I was told that I had no business criticizing something that I wasn’t familiar with. I had to agree, and so I took up the challenge to read Fifty Shades of Grey and report back. I only made it to chapter twelve before my brain threatened to go on a shutdown strike and I had to cease.

One major criticism I had was the writing is abysmal. After enduring almost three hours of E.L. James shoving the English language through a meat grinder, I think I’m justified in that opinion. I also can no longer use the word “inner”.

Let’s look at the protagonist. Anastasia Steele is so unrealistically naive and sheltered, I wonder how she managed to get through four years of college without curling into a permanent fetal position and going catatonic at the horrors she would have witnessed for the first time. Unless, of course, she was attending a university peopled entirely by asexual teetotalers.

Never had an email address? In this day and age, it’s pretty much mandatory that all students get on their college’s email system, not to mention that a great deal of coursework is now on-line.

Never kissed someone? Never held hands? And yet, in the next chapter, she’s apparently an instant master of fellatio. Millions of people bought into this character and suspended their disbelieve, hoisting it into the stratosphere where it expired from lack of oxygen.

Then there’s the rape scene, perpetuating the myth that most women fantasize about being brutally taken like that. Perpetuated, of course, by people (and some are, indeed, woman) who have never actually been brutally taken like that.

“You’re just jealous,” said an acquaintance of mine after reading the rant I posted on facebook. Of COURSE I’m jealous! I’d be up to my neck in denial if I claimed I wasn’t. Here’s a woman who slapped together three books with cardboard characters and aggressively bad writing and she’s rolling in riches now! Meanwhile, I labor over every damned adjective and phrase, agonize over every character, obsess about Oxford commas and dangling participles, and can only gaze at a best-selling list from afar.

So, yeah. I am jealous and I am dismayed. I’m also sorely tempted to throw everything I know about grammar, and character and plot development, out the window and slap together a few two-dimensional tomes of my own.

In which I am bereft…

So! I published the third book, at last! And now I feel… kind of… adrift. I’m supposed to be working on fifteen stories for an anthology, but I kind of feel like I just kicked one of my kids out of the nest and maybe I should give myself time to mourn.

Seems kind of silly, but that’s where I’m at right now.

I also have to take a deep breath and plunge into the promotional circus.

There’s a hopeful little fairy deep in my soul who wishes people would just come flocking to my books by themselves. You know, the overnight success thing? The small bit of rationality in me says that totally won’t happen. One can dream, though, right?

What I do want to is keep writing.

So, pity party over, onward and upward. Back to the keyboard I go!

In which I mourn yet another good idea marred by poor execution.

Vampire Origins – The Strigoi by Riley Banks started out strong, with an action-packed first chapter that arced beautifully and drew me right into the story. From there, however, it went rapidly downhill, twisting and turning back on itself, then came to an abrupt halt with an ending that left me feeling cheated and rather dizzy.

I liked the idea of a powerful vampire turned entrepreneur. Vladimir Roman has a grand plan: to enslave thousands of humans in his blood factory to provide himself and his extended “family” with a reliable source of sustenance. I also enjoyed the budding romance between Scarlett and Caleb complicated by Lachlan’s loveless rivalry for possession of her. And I was very intrigued by the evil Miss Angeline. Wicked children bring a delightfully skin-crawling factor to just about any horror story.

Unfortunately, my enjoyment was marred by a number of game-ending mistakes that jarred me out of the story and scrambled my brain. First and foremost, there are major formatting issues. The margins changed with just about every paragraph; sometimes there were first-line indents, sometimes there were not. The inconsistencies made my eyes skitter around.

There are no typographical breaks between scenes, so I was jerked from one character to another without warning and sometimes without an initial clue to who I was supposed to be following next. I had to fumble around for a bit, and sometimes back-track, to figure out where I was in the story. I found myself saying “Wait, what?” a lot.

The author made it clear that her vampires’ images cannot be reflected in mirrors. There are no mirrors in the castle (but then one conveniently appears when Scarlett has to gaze into it), and she mentions the lack of a reflection a number of times throughout the story. All the sudden, though, Lachlan’s reflection appears in a set of mirrored windows. What? No.

There are a couple of missteps that a little research could have corrected. One that sent me right out of the story was the bit about hockey. There are no three-minute penalties in the official rulebooks. There are two, five, ten, and hit-the-showers-dude. Also, how does one go from never being on skates to captain of the team overnight? I had an inkling that the Renee character might have charmed the two brothers into rapidly developing mad hockey skills, but this was not made clear enough to allow me to suspend my disbelief.

Finally, the sudden ending brought me up short with a final, and very indignant “Wait, what???” While I’m a fan of cliffhangers, this one felt more like I was slammed into a brick wall.

I think, with a major overhaul, this could be a brilliant addition to the genre. Formatting issues, typographical errors, missing words here and there, inconsistencies, and the abundance of repetition and passive voice: these all need to be corrected. Ms. Riley, please take the time and spend the money for a professional editing service. You’ll be glad you did.