Witches Bell Book One by Odette C Bell

Product Details

Review of Witches Bell Book One by Odette C Bell

I liked the way this book was written, the breezy, casual conversations and descriptions. I didn’t like that the entire book was written in that same style. I like a bit of change now and then. But that’s a personal choice, other people might feel differently.

The concept was great. The heroine, a witch, has a contract with the town to handle paranormal problems that happen because the town is situated on a fault line that connects the normal with an alternate, not-so-nice universe. The hero is a new cop who has a hard time accepting that fact. Oh, and he’s hunky and nice and a great guy if somewhat dense in the paranormal department.

The plot follows the two of them as they learn to work together through a paranormal crime or two or three or four. I believe it’s one of a series of books based on this same premise.

I liked it. I didn’t love it for the aforementioned reason but I enjoyed reading it. Great, light summer read and everything paranormal in the book fit. Nothing was stuffed or shoehorned in to give it a paranormal feel and even though there were many, many paranormal elements in this typical, small town, every one of them belonged because of the wonderful premise the author set up right at the beginning. I like that. Hats off to Odette Belle for knowing her stuff.

The Science Fiction Genre Part 3

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about world building because Earth Legend, my work in progress takes place on a space ship. The space ship in Earth Legend is intentionally designed to resemble Earth so that when the colonists, who have been in transit for up to a hundred years, reach their destination, they’ll feel comfortable in an Earth-like setting instead of wanting to remain forever on the ship because they’ve gotten used to it. Or, in some cases, lived in it their entire lives.

Because the ship resembles Earth, I hoped not to have to do a lot of world building. Because it’s hard and because I hate worlds that are so fake I’m embarrassed for the writer. I didn’t want to be embarrassed for me.

Where to start? With crops, of course, because it’s the story of a self-sustaining, greenhouse-imitating space ship. So how do you grow crops in a space ship in which gravity is the result of the ship revolving? There’d be gravity on the inside of the outermost skin and that’s where everyone would live. But would you have rain? Rain falls from the sky. In the case of the ship, that’s the middle and there’s no gravity there. So no rain because, without gravity it wouldn’t fall. So how to water crops? And what if the ship stopped spinning for some reason?  Hitting an asteroid. Mechanical problems. Whatever. Can’t have the trees, crops, and everything else fall upwards and suffocate everyone.  So what to do?

It was easy.  I imagined a dirt substitute, a substance that stays put and hold plants tightly, a membrane if you will, through which nutrient-rich water seeps to feed everything. And know what I realized? There already is such a substance or pretty close.  It’s found on many of those rooftop gardens that are now so popular.

So maybe world building isn’t so tough after all.  And maybe the best place to find ideas for other worlds is right here in our own.

 

The Romance Genre… Or Not

I’m finally… finally… finally… ready to start marketing the second book of my Legend trilogy, Wolf Legend, about a psychic wolf.  Actually two psychic wolves, mother and daughter and the woman they share a mind link with.

Marketing requires that I choose a category for my book.  I hate doing that.  Hate, hate, hate it!!!

Wolf Legend is a supernatural, contemporary, clean romance.  Though a supernatural element is fairly common in contemporary fiction, clean romances don’t often have that theme.  So maybe Wolf Legend shouldn’t be marketed as a supernatural, contemporary, clean romance after all.  Maybe it’s contemporary fiction with a supernatural theme and a romantic sub-plot!  Since readers ultimately categorize books, it’s difficult to know ahead of time where they will place it.

I wish I had a mind link with my readers!

Stardust Miracle by Edie Ramer

Stardust Miracle (Miracle Interrupted, #2)   Review:  Stardust Miracle by Edie Ramer

A nice read.  I admit that the only thing that drew me to this book was the fact that it appeared to be a contemporary romance with a supernatural element.  And that’s exactly what it was.  Since that’s what I enjoy writing, I wanted to see how other authors handle the same thing.  And I liked the cover.  It was colorful and, as anyone who reads my posts regularly knows, I like covers that are colorful in some way.  Bright or subtle, I prefer color over black and white.

It’s the story of a pastor’s wife trapped in a tepid, childless marriage who leaves when she finds him having sex with another woman and eventually finds love and a child with another man.

The story, in fact the whole book, is froth and sometimes that’s a good thing.  Not every book should convey emotionally deep, angst-filled messages.  The closest it comes is when it delves into the fact that the heroine has been told she will have a difficult time conceiving a child and may never become a mother.  She manages motherhood because she takes things into her own hands and deals with her situation.  But even with that issue, the author doesn’t delve deeply into the subject or emotions but lets it become a part of the story that she brings to a logical conclusion.

I like logical conclusions and I read this book while my husband watched his favorite CSI team pore over still another mangled body.  He’s not a romance junkie and I’d seen enough disconnected body parts on TV to last me a long time.  So I got out my Kindle and went looking for something to read.   As far as I’m concerned, even though I do like CSI, this romance hugely trumped mangled bodies. I appreciated this nice story with a happy ending.

Fated by Carolyn McCray

Review of Fated by Carolyn McCray

(Sorry about the picture copied from Amazon.  I wanted to show the cover and am still working on the technical details of how to get just the cover and a buy link up.)

I must admit that I didn’t read every word.  This doesn’t mean it was too long or wordy, it just means that I often skip parts of books when I become more interested in the story line than the depth of the characters.  I liked the story because I find the period of history it is set in to be rather intriguing.

It takes place in the era when Caesar ruled Rome and Brutus was a part of the patrician elite.  It follows the love affair of Brutus and one of his slaves, Torvus.  The two were drawn to each other and fated to meet but after that they were held apart by convention and politics.  Carolyn McCray tries to be historically accurate so what happens in the novel is dictated by what happened in reality. Okay, she doesn’t succeed in that historical accuracy but she’s in the ball park and, for a fictional novel, that’s close enough for me.

I’m a former history major so that may explain why I got caught up in the story line.  Reading this book took me back to a childhood in which I learned a huge amount of history by reading the historical romances that were so popular back then.  (And, yes, I’m dating myself.)  Novels such as this were a large part of why I became that history major.  Some of that history I read while young turned out to be very inaccurate but it piqued an interest in long ago events.  The consequences of those events still resonate today because history matters and any book that encourages kids to study history deserves a big plus.  I’m glad to see someone writing today who is hopefully having the same effect on young readers as those earlier novels had on me.

Minor Characters

Minor characters are sneaky.  They are necessary to the story but they aren’t supposed to take over.  The problem comes when one or more of them do exactly that.  So what to do?

Depends.  There are two kinds of minor characters.  You need to know which category your minor character belongs to before you can decide what to do about it.

The first category is that in which the minor characters flesh out the story, make it deeper, stronger and better. But if that character could be written out of the story without changing the story itself, then that particular character isn’t essential.  Rein them in, keep them under control.  Do it!

The second category is that in which the minor character is essential but isn’t the character that the story is about.  Same question applies.  Could you write that character out without changing the story?  If the answer is ‘no’ then you should think long and hard before you rein in that character.

Because your story just might be better for enlarging that character’s place and letting him or her take over a larger chunk of the action.

I’m thinking about this because, in my book Spirit Legend that’s going to be featured in a Book Blast starting the 8th of April (drum roll, please) a minor character took over and became a major player.  I didn’t know it was happening until after the book was finished.  It was the reviews that made it very clear that the character of the spirit in the lake was pivotal and important.  Reviewers used words like  ‘charming.’  ‘interesting.’  and ‘endearing.’  And the spirit only came into existence as a device to hang a story on.  Until it took over and I let it run riot because I couldn’t figure out how to rein it in.

Now that I’m deep into Wolf Legend, the same thing is happening to the character of the psychic wolf pup Snowball.  She was supposed to be an afterthought.  She now has a starring role and I’m glad to say that this time around I’m smart enough to recognize what’s happening and run with it.

So expect to see a lot of Snowball in Wolf Legend.  And I’m looking forward to seeing whichever of your minor characters take over and run with your story when you publish your next piece.

Eco-fiction

I recently joined a new group on Goodreads.  I don’t belong to many groups and I’m very picky about the ones I do join.  But this one sounded interesting when I ran across the name.  So I took a look.  What’s eco-fiction?

As it turns out, eco-fiction is what I write.  Okay, it’s one genre my work fits into, along with several others.  Because, like many writers, I don’t worry about fitting my story into any one box.  The result, honesty forces me to add, is that when it’s time to market what I’ve written, I’m truly frustrated because… surprise, surprise… it doesn’t neatly fit into any one genre.  Thus it’s difficult to market.

Anyway,to return to the subject of this post, it seems that eco-fiction is fiction of any kind that celebrates, describes, or promotes the natural world.  Dune is eco-fiction.

Really?  Well, if Dune fits the genre of eco-fiction, my books do too, as well as those other genres my books have been assigned to.  Fantasy.  Sci-fi.  Contemporary.  Paranormal.  Romance.  And so on. And  I’m sure other writers have books that fit this genre and aren’t being marketed as such because they don’t know the genre exists.  Just like I’d never heard of it until I ran across that group on Goodreads.

But I have a special feel for this new label.  Eco-fiction.  I love it! I plan on using the term as often as possible.  Who knows?  Maybe it’ll become mainstream.

Winning The Race

As you can see, I’ve changed my blog into a website with a blog component.  I did so to facilitate sales of my books now that Spirit Legend is out there and selling.  Feel free to check out the page Florence’s Books that leads you to the buy links of both Amazon and Smashwords if you want to see what the old lady’s writing is like.

But, not to worry, I’ll still post with tips on writing fiction.  Not as often as previously because there are only so many tips I’ve learned over the years.  But they’ll still come.  Which leads to today’s tip:  Pacing.

I’ve read a lot of books lately because their authors’ asked me to review them.  For the most part, they were good books and well written.  But, with the exception of two of them, the pacing could have been improved.

They weren’t jagged.  They weren’t abrupt.  They simply kept the same pace throughout the book.  And that was their mistake.

Because writing fiction is like running a race.  A long race if it’s a book because, in the case of stories, novels are equivalent to distance races.  (If you are interested, my book Wanted Sharpshooter is about distance races for horses, something one of my daughters is involved in that I find fascinating.)

Anyway, in distance races, the runners start out slow and careful, conserving their energy and learning all they can about the race itself.  Who’s in it, what they are like, what the course is like.  Everything.  And they stay that way until they know the finish line is getting close.  Then they speed up.  They pay less attention to the other runners and the course itself in order to concentrate their efforts on running faster.  On sprinting to the finish line.

Writing fiction is like that.  The closer you get to the end of the book, the faster the pace of writing should be.  Forget those long conversations among characters that, in the beginning, were both wonderful and provided insights into the characters and the story.  Forget the descriptions that go on and on and on, no matter that the setting is incomparable and essential to the characters getting where they need to be.

Instead, write tight as you approach that finish line.  Eliminate everything except that sprint to the finish.   Because the reader now should know the essential details about the characters and the story and should be caught up in the action and shouldn’t be distracted by any unnecessary words.  Or sentences.  Or paragraphs.  Those details that are necessary should be provided in capsule form.  In as few words as possible.  So the reader doesn’t wish the writer would stop leading them through fields of unnecessary prose and would get them to the finish line in the shortest time.

So they can win the race.

On to the next American romance novel with a gothic feel

On to my next novel and back to what I often enjoy, writing a story with a touch of the supernatural.  This time it’s something in a lake that’s been there for a long, long time.  Since before white people came to the north woods.  So the question will be, are the spirits friendly or not?  I’m leaning towards friendly but the thrust of the book requires that the spirits not be too nice.  So I’m trying to decide exactly what the spirits will be like.  Any suggestions?