Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Story Published

My story, Extraordinary Rendition, is up on Fear of Monkeys, a site for political fiction and non-fiction.

This story was previously published at The Deepening.

"If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear - never to see them again - you send them to Egypt." Bob Baer - Former CIA Agent

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What Was That - Again?

I've been hitting the books. Middle-grade fantasy books, that is. I hadn't read the genre much lately and thought I should have a refresher course.

While reading Percy Jackson - The Lightning Thief last night, a bolt of lightning whacked me in the head.


That's what my books are lacking. I don't have my main character repeating over and over how dismal is their lot in life. Apparently, witers, agents, and publishers believe that middle-grade kids (ages 9-12 in my estimation) are not capable of remembering the basic plot problem, so they tell us what it is at least forty-two times within the first forty-one pages.

Percy, you dear little smartass, you didn't need to tell the reader multiple times that you're a failure at school and that you're a problem magnet. True, Rick Riordan shows the reader the various aspects that reiterate Percy's problem. I'm certainly not saying that the book is too much tell and not enough show. Showing is what we writers have hammered into our brains via our dearly beloved (and I mean that!) critters.

However, I found myself getting a little antsy, shall we say, because I really didn't need to be shown yet one more example of Percy's school problems.

Is this because I'm an adult and get it faster than your average 5th grader? Do kids need constant repetition to have the point finally driven nail-like into their little heads?

I'm going to stand up here for 5th-7th grade kids and say that I think they get it much faster than we stodgy adults, but are so used to putting up with the repetition foisted on them at school to be bothered by it.

So, let's all get behind kid's books not needing to be 400 pages long just so adult writers can show their superior teaching methods. Admit it, Rick, that book could really be 200 pages long if you quit repeating yourself.

One last word: I'm enjoying The Lightning Thief a lot. Riordan is a damned good writer. I'm only using his book to illustrate my point because that's the one I was reading when the lightning bolt struck my pointy head.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Review: Prisoners of Gender

Prisoners of Gender
by John Bushore
First off a disclaimer. I am not a regular reader of "spicy" literature. I write kids' books and I generally like to remain pure of heart (quit laughing, you people who know me!).

When John Bushore asked if I'd read "Prisoners of Gender" and I'd seen an excerpt, I enthusiastically agreed.

I'm not sorry. Hey, John! You're a hot guy! No MonkeyJohn kiddie books here for sure.

This is a wonderful fantasy, sexy, fun read.

Princess Marissa and gallant soldier Bardak are the victims of a badly handled curse. They switch bodies and have to learn to live with a huge change in their lives, all the while seeking the nasty Wizard who could make them swap back to their original bodies.

Marissa starts to like the rugged, strong, sexy male body she now occupies. Bardak is torn. He has sworn to protect the Princess, but the Princess is now in two places. Not only is he wearing her body, he has to also protect the mighty warrior occupied by the princess. Confusion ensues.

Well, you can see where the title comes from. As the two learn how to deal with their decidedly different circumstances, they bicker while being mightily attracted to their own bodies worn by the other person. I was reminded of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy arguing it out in the 40's comedies which (way ahead of their time) showed gender prejudice for what it was--a stupid set of societal rules. Unfortunately, there are countries that still think along the lines of weaker-stronger sex.

John has shown this to be the false piece of lies that every feminist has known for years. His handling of Bardak in Marissa's body and Marissa in Bardak's shows his sensitivity to both sides of the physical spectrum.
Now, this is also a somewhat epic fantasy, which I define as set in an alternate fantasy world unrelated to the world in which we live. I say 'somewhat' only because the book is not 200,000 words long with way too many mighty thews. I'm not a fan of epic, so I really enjoyed John's take on the fully fantasy world that epic's usually inhabit.

The writing is crisp and fast-moving. "Prisoners" is a fun romp and a good fantasy book, too.

Stars? Hey, on a five-star scale, I'd give this one 4-1/2 at least.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Operation Kindle Book Drop

A fellow writer has started up a Kindle books collection for servicemen and women overseas. Quite a few have Kindles, but cannot download from Amazon or any other source since they're outside the US.

Edward C. Patterson, formerly SPEC 5 E. Patterson, 6th Batallion, 60th Artillery (1966-1968), is the coordinator behind this worthy project. Writers with Kindle books they can give away can contact Edward through the KindleBoards forum:


I donated two books via Smashwords by providing a link and coupon code for both. Edward downloaded the copies and can send them to as many service personnel as he likes.

Here are the details direct from Edward:

1- I (Edward) will maintain a list of service personnel email addresses as they come in to me.

2- Authors should have available a DRM Free Kindle compatible version of yourbook or books.

3- If you don't have that available, the easiest (and beneficial way to you as well) is to put your books up at Smashwords.com. And then download a free copy to yourself.(One author has suggested using Smashword's coupon system, which is an option. Iwill be emailing my books directly, however, anyway that you can get the book tothe troops, is fine)

4- Once you have the book in place, let me know. I'd like to have your email address. Right now, I'm using PMs, but as this takes off (and I have no doubt that it will), it will be easier for me to email new troop email addresses out to all the participating authors in one email.

5- Once the author has the email address, just send the book(s) - if many, then ZIP -and put in your subject line: Operation Kindle Book Drop. Whatever you want to put in the body of the email is up to you, and I guarantee that among the obvious good deed done stuff, you will get a response from the troop. I plan to save mine, to read on those days when I get a 1-star review and feel that I have failed somewhere.

Readers can participate by getting the word out or helping with nifty links.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I Need to Blog More

According to the technorati, I need to blog a lot more than I do. I try to provide content in an off-hand way by directing you to the really cool blogs that I follow. So, take a look at those in the blog list over there under Scrumptious Blogs >>>>>>>>>>>>

There's tons of great information available. I don't have much of it right here, but I can show you where you can find it.

Like you, I'm learning. I read and read those great blogs and find some great stuff. I suppose I could just copy paste the great posts, but I'll be honest and let you discover them yourself. I'll just provide some links to goodness and feel good being a signpost.