Books with Teeth 4.17.19-4.23.19
Oh hey guys.
So I’ve sent all of my manuscripts out to my betas. It’s actually here, the finish line is in sight. All will be well.
Seriously though, writing the book is the easiest part. Editing is the second easiest part. And if you’ve ever written a manuscript, you know that neither of these things are easy at all. So, what comes next?
For me, it’s time to work on the cover design. I’ve already got some rough sketches from a productive night last Autumn wherein I drank wine and was in proximity to a pen. Score one for creativity.
The actual cover art isn’t the problem. The problem is, of course, the technology and hard-headedness it takes to turn that art into an actual book cover. Now, I’m not saying that I would buy books solely based on their cover, but if I don’t like the cover, I’m probably not even going to pick it up to find out why I might still like the book. That’s not the way the world should work. If we were perfect, even the little ugly books would find their ways into our shopping carts.
But they don’t. And there we have it. I’ve crushed the universe’s dreams.
Anyway, yes, I am feeling a bit snarky today. You’d think I would be relieved to have my manuscript finished. But the truth is, my work is just getting started. And even after I’ve got the book published and in my waiting hands, the shows and sales and shipping are all giving me that come-hither look.
Let me take a moment to stop my whining.
I think that I’m putting too much of a negative spin on writing and publishing. It’s an easy habit to fall into. Your internal conflict is materializing in the form of a stream-of-consciousness blog and all your insecurities are suddenly at the tips of your fingers. So let’s talk about something positive, because what’s the point if it doesn’t make your life better?
Writing books has always been my passion. I finished my first one when I was a wee little girl, still figuring out whether or not my mom would let me write about someone dying. Or blood. Or, later, if she would maybe just randomly get a copy without the sex scene in it.
Writing books is supposed to be fun. And it usually is. Sometimes it feels like work, sure, but what doesn’t? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a successful couple of humanoids enjoy a relationship that they didn’t have to work at, from time to time. That’s just how the world works. Writing is the same way. Sometimes it’s as easy as falling in love. Sometimes, it breaks your heart. And sometimes, you’ve got to force yourself to go the extra mile, because that’s what true love is about.
Publishing isn’t so bad, either. I can’t say that it’s a passion of mine, but it is certainly rewarding. And self-publishing is a monster of a different color. When you self-publish, you’re making the decision to start a business. And I really do love the power that gives me. I decide what cover looks best, I decide which shows are most beneficial. And, if my life is just too busy, I decide exactly when and where I need to draw the work-vs-fun line. I’m a responsible human. I almost always make the decision that benefits my business. But sometimes, you just really want to go see that new Marvel movie and just not give a damn.
Speaking of Marvel, I haven’t seen Endgame and I will hurt anyone who spoils it.
But seriously, back to publishing. I’ve always seen myself going the traditional publishing route. I feel like most writers do. It’s a success story. And while I know in my heart it’s still a lot of work being an author, even one with a publishing company behind her, some part of me believes that it has to be a whole lot easier than what I’m doing.
And, like I’ve said, self-publishing does have its perks. I mean, being in charge of my own marketing is something of an ego boost. Hey, look at the really cool characters I drew on these really high quality bookmarks. Look at my business cards! Look, it’s my face on the back of my book and I don’t look like I just crawled out of a dark little hole!
Plus, when I talk about what I do for a living, I can say that I’m an author. That in itself was almost enough to make me publish. I’ve always dreamed of being an author. But instead of chasing my dream, I pounced on it. And you know? It’s worked out. I haven’t sold as many copies as I would have if I had an agent and a publishing company. But hells bells, I’ve sold enough to pay for my business. And I’ve found some loyal readers along the way. I’ve always believed that if just one person could love my writing as much as I do, I would have been successful.
Anyway, it’s a beautiful sunny day here today, and I’m going to go play in it. See you guys tomorrow.
I took my swamp monkey of a dog for a hike.
If you know me, you know Gimli. He goes just about everywhere with me (including work, where he sleeps under my desk and is employed as a door alarm) and if he doesn’t, I’m usually ducking out early to take care of him. He’s a 10-year-old Cairn Terrier and I love him to pieces.
He’s also a durable little snot. We went out to one of the more rugged trail loops in the area and he of course was overjoyed. He was racing up cliffs and pouncing on hapless vermin (terrier). And he’s usually pretty good at coming when I call, but then there are times like today. He saw a squirrel, and that was the end.
I eventually got him back. But I was plenty mad and he was less than satisfied with his squirrel chasing endeavors (as it was still yelling at him from the top of a spruce). Other than that, we had the perfect day.
I love to walk in the rain. There’s something about it, something just a step left of magic, and since everything up here has just recently shed its snowy coat, the earth smelled like life itself. The trail was packed with ice, but the moss around us was bright green. The contrast was beautiful. Giant pines kept sentinel overhead and Gimmer managed to find several creeks to stick his little toes in.
Plus, the sun came out around midday and steam rose from the forest, from me when I shed my raincoat, and from Gimmer when I picked him up for a hug. We snacked on cheese and a loaf of bread, like the Hobbits we are, and just enjoyed our own company. This is what my soul needed.
I would like to take a moment now to critique a book.
I read a lot, though not as much as I should. I’m always happier when I’m in the grips of a story. Of course, since I’ve proven to myself that reading is good for me, my brain occasionally sabotages me with other projects until I’ve not read a book for a month and I’m in the grips of depression.
Anyway, I get one Audible credit a month to listen to any book I want, and I really love having that option. When I’m working with numbers or doing something that I don’t need my brain for (dishes, laundry, drawing) I really need something else keeping me entertained. At least two layers of entertainment. Can’t have my brain wandering around and getting into places it shouldn’t.
So, back to the book. I was wandering through the available books and hunting for something with some suspense. I eventually scrolled across the Jack Reacher novels. I have an older friend who really loves them, goes on about the main character and how badass he is. And I thought, hey, why not.
In all fairness, I had just finished the latest Pendergast novel. And like I’ve said before, they’re my favorite crime/detective novels. They’re witty and the female characters are engaging and strong. So when I read Jack Reacher immediately after it…
…well, let’s just say that I’m irritated. And here’s why.
There are different levels of shoot-em-up books/movies. They usually feature one heroic male taking on incredible odds and saving/getting the girl at the end.
Like I was saying:
Shoot-em-up novels. I can get behind some stories like this. I mean, Die Hard is probably my favorite Christmas movie. And some of them, none of which are coming to mind right now, I just stare at and wonder why people are so entertained by this. Just blood and boobs and muscles.
I guess I have my answer.
Jack Reacher is the kind of shoot-em-up where, in my humble opinion, he tries to be clever and succeeds only because the author thinks he should.
Granted, I can’t judge the entire series by the first book. And some parts are entertaining (it’s called the Killing Floor, if you don’t already know). But overall, I feel like the author is just setting up scenarios where Reacher can bull around in. He knows a lot about weapons and was an MP in the army, so he’s got some skills. But the way he jumps to conclusions without any evidence, only speculation, would make Sherlock Holmes cringe (and I’m a Holmsian fan).
Another thing that bothers me is that the author overexplains. Sometimes I realize what’s going on before Reacher does, but then the author has Reacher go through every detail excessively in dry dialog with a side character. Excessively. Some of his conclusions make sense, while others are just wild conjectures that his newfound friends take as gospel. And not only are we treated to this show once, but any time the author mentions it again (maybe ten pages later) he explains it again. I can’t tell if the author isn’t particularly bright, or if he anticipates his reader to be exceptionally dull.
Of course, being a masculine-powered crime narrative, there are a lot of fights. And I enjoy reading these more than the detective sequences, because I think that the Reacher character is more believable.
I’m not quite done.
So, the fight scenes make the Reacher character slightly more likeable, even, because he clearly knows what he’s doing and does it well, without hurting innocents. That’s a nice, heroic kind of style and I appreciate what the author is doing (although, here too he anticipates his reader to be particularly dull and goes through excessive details on the correct way to slice a throat/punch a man with a sack of rocks).
What bothered me most about this book was, as it usually is, the way women are portrayed.
Now, I feel like if I were having this discussion with the author, the first thing out of his mouth would be that THE LEAD SIDE CHARACTER IS A WOMAN COP! WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME??
And she does have her moments. She’s clever and supposedly very good at her job. You know this because that’s what the author tells you about her. However, every time she is confronted with danger, do you know what she does? She turns to Reacher and starts sobbing.
I’m irritated just thinking about it. It’s like the author thinks all he has to do is throw a female character into the male-centered ring and that’s enough. The very first description of the woman is of what she’s wearing (dude is obsessed with women in uniforms and plain cotton shirts) and then immediately, it’s about how when she takes Reacher’s picture, her breasts are pushed up by the table she leans on.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for the day. An irritated book review and some aimless wandering through the world of publishing. I hope you’ve enjoyed listen to me rant and ramble. I appreciate you, reader hooman.
And I absolutely can’t wait to share Olympus with you. More on that next.