Archive | February 2014

Dear Smash Words Author

Dear Smashwords Author,

I, like you, love to write. I bought your short story knowing what it was, and was ok with it. It was, in all actuality and truth, a brilliant concept with a few great turns of phrase.

Then you mucked it up by not having it edited.

“But I went through it twenty times!” I can hear the shriek now, and again I say to you: “You mucked it up by not having it edited.”

“But I don’t have the money…” Hmm. Neither do I. Many writers don’t. But we do have these great people called Beta Readers. I have 2 types of Beta readers. One type is for over all story, ending, how it reads purely from a readers point of view. I’m sorry, but a close friend who doesn’t read much but who loves your work does not count. You need someone who reads what you write. Like tends to attract like, so poke your head up away from the computer screen and take a look around you. The second type of Beta reader, for myself at least, is even more important. The Grammar Police. Yes. You do need them. I have three. Count them. One. Two. Three.

Your brilliant concept? You blew it on grammar. Wrong, shifting tenses AND pronouns! Beta type 2 would have caught this for you. It might have made you feel a little bad to see all that red in your manuscript but oh my, they can take your words and help them SING. Sing, I say!

This isn’t something you can do for yourself, either. There are very few who can (and if you are one of those few, you know that you are blessed so please don’t contradict me here— this is for the newbie). As writers, we spend so much time inside our stories that some times we aren’t really reading the words that are there. We start reading what we think goes there. Eh. It happens. Hence the Grammar Police.

I love those three ladies more than I can say. Rie, Trisha and Linda Beck, you rock my work out. Thank you so much.

Grammar counts. When it works, reading a story is effortless. But when it doesn’t work, when you don’t have that basic grasp (and many of the things I’m calling you out on are basic)… It is confusing. The story becomes a beast that is not approachable in any way.

So please, please, please Think before you publish. Is it REALLY as good as you can make it? Do you know anyone who can act as your grammar police? If not.. ask people. Hey, do  you know anyone who corrects everyone’s letters? Watch on facebook.. you’ll know by their posts that they love books and sometimes even that they love the idiosyncrasies of grammar.

But please, don’t rush in. You can’t get that first impression back, especially when it’s there for all time… or until their e-reader crashes.


(And yes, I know that there are some errors on this post…. 😀  )

Moth and Spark

Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard Published by Penguin Group

 Oh my lovelies, this one is a good one. It’s currently out in hard back, but if you have a Nook you can find it front and center on the channel for Epic Fantasy and for Here be Dragons. And it is worth it.

Epic fantasy with a good whallop of romance, this is the story I’ve been dying to read. Many throw a romance or relationship into their epic fantasy, or romance writers might write with fantasy elements… but normally it doesn’t come together quite this well.

A prince with a calling he is unaware of falls for a lowly doctor’s daughter with powers she doesn’t know about. This is not a fairy tale, and they know it. Although it’s hard, they accept the situation for what it is. Then things go horribly, horribly wrong. In all the best ways.

All of the plot lines are dealt with deftly, with no strings hanging. After reading the final words what I really wanted to know was…

When’s the next one?

Because really, when you find a writer this good, they can’t write fast enough.


Next up this week is the open letter to Smash Words authors and a question. I’ll actually put that in the system tonight so all I have to do is hit Publish. I have several other ones that I need to do as well, including several fantasy series.

Deer in the Headlights

I have a fast approaching deadline… and I haven’t finished my story yet. Close… But nowhere near it.


I haven’t been writing for several reasons. Everyone got sick and I had to step it up. Check. I got sick.


Then I fell.

But mostly, I didn’t write because I’m afraid of my ending. I’m afraid of pushing the buttons until she comes thisclose to breaking. And I’m afraid of the whole story, really. It’s so different from my normal zone. However, Rie says I can do it and I believe her.

She said I could publish Dragon’s Champion and darned if I didn’t do that.

So now it’s time for me to take that advice and get down to the business of writing. I’ll be back soon, with reviews of some really great series, and a word of caution on the temptations of Smashwords.

Till then, my lovelies, I shall be pushing on with this dang story.

Book Review: The Confession of Piers Gaveston

the confessions of piers

I received a copy of The Confession of Piers Gaveston from the author, Brandy Purdy. At first, I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Even though, strictly speaking, she doesn’t write a series of books, they are all tightly clustered around the same theme. Royalty, and those who surround them.

I almost never read backwards in a writers catalog. But I am glad that I did with this one.

The language that enthralled me in The Queen;s Pleasure starts to bloom in this novel. If you ever want to find out about a Brandy Purdy novel, I am becoming convinced that you should read the first paragraph. It’s all encaspulated right there, in one beautiful package, if you know what to look for.

This novel was hard, for other reasons. The narrator is not at all reliable. At first, it can be mistaken for a new author’s handling… but no. I believe that the narrator has deluded not only everyone else… but himself as well. The cycle of abuse winds its way through the novel, and Pier’s romantic relationship with the king.

I’m glad that I read this one. It’s not my normal style, and definately breaks the tradition of going in an author’s back list (except for romance authors). But the seeds are there, sprouting into a glorious rose…..

It’s not a comfortable read. It’s disturbing. It stays with you.

Just like great fiction is supposed to.

Ta for now, my lovelies. I’ll write more soon!