Thursday, October 23, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
- Editing problems: Paragraph indents are almost non-existent and there are continual grammar problems throughout the novel.
- Perspective jumps: Chapter 1 begins in first person -- Chapter 2 goes to omniscient -- Chapter 3 is back to first person -- and Chapter 4 jumps back to omniscient p.o.v. This gets very frustrating after awhile and the story simply wasn't engaging enough to keep me going any further.
- The cover is black and white and lacks interest and any tangible connection to the story. My first impression, unfortunately, was Asteroid or something unmentionable.
The Bathys may not be unique in story, but the main problem was execution. There are many unoriginal takes on sci-fi that still manage to be entertaining, but these numerous problems make the effort to continue reading seem wasted.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
ANCESTOR by Scott Sigler is a high tech horror story about geneticists who unleash man's evolutionary forefather while attempting to produce donor organ animals for human transplant purposes.
Monday, April 30, 2007
It might be time consuming, but the fact of the matter is that much of the success you may find in the publishing industry comes from who you know, being in the right place at the right time and so forth.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
"A lawyer on the brink of ruin, a paranoid director, a dead movie star, and a picture no one will ever see… It is 1952 and show business lawyer Robert L Harvey is on the brink of financial ruin. TheHollywood witch-hunt is putting him out of business. That is, until, he receives a call from movie director, and constant paranoid, Michael Bloom. The big shot has misplaced the film reels of his latest project, the star of which has recently died. Harvey thinks it's a job for the police but the director is adamant he doesn't want his employer, Mayor Studios, to know their investment is lost. Desperate for the money Harvey agrees, but when he delves into a side of the movie industry he's never seen before his priorities have to change…"
Let's just say, "I have issues with the way this book has been written..." The Truth, It Lies has an interesting enough premise, but it has many functional problems on delivery. To begin with, the book is plagued by missing words and other grammatical errors. I could not overlook it, but I'm definitely willing to cut an author some slack when the story and delivery are top notch. The story is decent, but didn't keep me wondering when I was going to get back to reading it. The delivery is the real problem with this book for me and the numerous problems ultimately killed it. FOR EXAMPLE:
- There is a continuity problem at the outset: Chapter One begins with the investigation into this movie star's death by police (in the present). Chapter two zooms back in time several weeks and not by way of a character's memory or a flashback or any other anchor point--It simply starts us over again "several weeks ago?" When we hit Chapter 3, we are again in present time with the main character, Robert Harvey, who is a down and out lawyer to the stars...this carries me to two more big problems.
- The Narration of this story begins in omnicient narrator point-of-view, Chapter two, despite the "Back to the Future" timeshift, is also given in this same point-of-view. When we come to Chapter 3 and take up with the lawyer, Robert Harvey, everything changes to first person point-of-view?? huh? Which brings me to another problem...
- When we get to this first person point-of-view switch in the 3rd chapter, the majority of prose is all inside this character's head...no, I mean conversations with everyone around him are all given to us second hand through this character's thoughts rather than delivered as dialogue! The character gives us information from the conversation he is presently having (without any dialogue) and then that's it?! It would be much easier and more interesting to just give us the dialogue even in first person. Delon City, which I recently reviewed, is all first person, but we have all of the dialogue...so, what's the problem? An entire plot hinging phone conversation is bypassed this way, along with conversations with the police and so forth...which brings me to another big problem I have with this story.
- The book is delivered in the style of a 50's private detective story like Mike Hammer or better yet, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid." However, instead of a Private Dick doing the investigation, we have a hollywood lawyer. Why? Well, the lawyer actually asks that question of his nervous client to this response: "Private detectives are not discreet enough," to which the lawyer character agrees. The only thing is, that is exactly the nature of a private detective; to be discreet in their investigation. The first time out to investigate, he is caught by security--very discreet, huh?
All these problems make for a very difficult read. I give him kudos on a nice cover, but that's about all the good I could come up with. There is a story here, but it has not been delivered in a cohesive way and ultimately left me unsatisfied.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
Forge of the Gods, by Eric Fogle is a well written and enjoyable fantasy in which the very fabric of the spiritual realm appears to be collapsing. Heaven's inhabitants and its many minor gods are sending forth their own champions, demi-gods, dragons and mortals alike, to quest for the source of the disturbance--either to nurture it for their own power or to destroy it utterly.
READ PODLINGS INTERVIEW: ERIC FOGLE
that blurred his vision. When his vision finally cleared, he was greeted with a horrific sight: this
place was not a mortal probability. In a dark recess of his mind, Thurm realized that this world must be directly connected to the Divine Plane. He felt godly power exuding from everything. Though he tried to rationalize it, nothing could ever describe such an abomination of life; dark swirls of chaos tore at a shattered sky, giving off a deep purplish hue. His immortal eyes viewed a world devoid of any ordered thing; misshapen trees dotted the desolate landscape, doing their best to eke out an existence. Aside from this mockery, the scorched land was free of anything that even roughly resembled life. The sight of true chaos made his skin crawl. Here the equation of the universe did not apply, time did not flow in mortal years, and balance was not achieved. By looking at the mottled husks of the trees, he knew that the equation was trying to right itself; however, only a travesty of creation prevailed. A distant sound caught his attention. Thurm gripped the shaft of his giant hammer as the wind blew the faint scream past him. The full power of the place came rushing upon him, intensifying his soul-bond with Elissandera. He was sure that she was located less than five miles to the east. It might be too late to save this world, but he knew she still lived . . . at least for the moment. He cleared his mind and set out with resolve, shaking off his uneasiness. He told himself that he needed to be steady. His goal was in sight; he was here to find Elissandera and save her if he could or release her into eternity if he couldn’t. He had decided long ago that if she needed to die, then he did, too—that if this was his fate, he would face the thing that had eluded him for so long. His resolve demanded that he die trying; for her he could not turn back. Another faint scream swept across the desolate wasteland. Thurm’s hair rose. He felt Elissandera’s soul-bond call out to him; this place seemed to magnify the essence of his people. For a moment he thought that he wasn’t alone, an oddly satisfying feeling. An impossible thought tore through his defenses could this be a parallel plane of existence to that of the divine? A pocket plane for one of the gods, he thought sourly. If that was true then hehad been summoned here for a reason, and whatever resided in this place would be unassailable by his powers. He could not win. It is a fitting punishment that the same gods who created my race will also be the ones to end our existence, he thought sadly. It was likely that if this was a divine pocket, then there was a god toying with him, which was why his quest had lingered on so long. I shall die proud, he thought, standing straight and tall. If one of the gods has summoned me here to end my life, then I will fight to the end. Thurm shook his head and banished such thoughts; he was thinking too far ahead. Whatever he faced was beyond his limited comprehension. His mind had been used against him, reminding him of old times and things long forgotten. He rubbed his perfect features and again set off toward the sound. As Thurm prepared to take a step, his vision blurred and his skin started to crawl. The feeling was followed by a distortion of his physical features, which made him stumble forward in disorientation. He was about to succumb and fall to the ground when something called out and beckoned him, blinking him out of existence and back. The summons nearly made him retch as he came crashing through the portal and staggered to the ground. “So the destroyer has finally come!” boomed a sinister voice, its mocking tone filled with unpredictability and evil. The olthari shook away the sparkling lights of his instantaneous transportation from his vision and looked around. It took him a moment to get his bearings, but he was sure that he was standing in front of a circular structure with random spires of ebony jutting up into the sky. Furthermore, he was greeted by an angel leaning against one of the columns, its features twisted into a perfect mask of chaos. It took Thurm only a moment to realize his mistake. It had been so long . . . such a distant memory of what had been . . . that he could not have fathomed what stood before him."
Friday, April 20, 2007
Let me start with a problem which recently happened to me when posting my last interview: I cut and pasted an interview excerpt from an email into a post and without realizing it, the transfer caused some of the words to become fused together. Needless to say, the author caught it when they went to see their new interview and I'm glad they did...RULE #1: "Extra eyes can catch many things!"
I've recently been given a PDF where the editor was a professional editor and yet somehow the errors from the old PDF have come into the new PDF. The publisher was shocked to find this was the case, but evidently this can happen...my advice is RULE#2: "Proof the final edit with a new pair of eyes. Even the pros can make mistakes!" And may I also add RULE #3: "Reading your final edit ALOUD can catch things your eyes will pass over. Remember, you read with your eyes much faster than you can read with your mouth. So, you are forced to slow down and verbalize what you are seeing. You'd be surprised how many things will appear when you use this technique. "But, Podlingmaster, I have to rush my book to print so I can get my share of POD reviews and grab my .000005% of the book market!" I know, I know...but patience, little grasshopper.
Exaggerated margins or too much space between paragraphs. Now this one, it would seem to me, would be a simple matter for the author to gauge at the onset. Just looking at books in bookstores you will see the way that books are generally formatted. Yet, on a number of occassions, I've received novels that had double spaces between nearly every sentence. This creates alot of blank space on a page and looks completely unprofessional. Remember, when you format for the pdf and printing that you need to put everything into single space with generally four spaces between P.O.V. changes. And watch those margins folks. Don't try to exaggerate them to give your short story more pages to make the book appear thicker.
Indentations which either have way too many spaces or not enough. Generally, you want about five letter spaces for a paragraph indentation. Now, I'm not being dogmatic...go check the grammar manual collecting dust in your closet for the hard points, but what I see many times is up to ten spaces in a paragraph indent or as little as one space...which by the way almost looks like you can't tell where a new paragraph begins.
Watch out for the common (it's/its--there/their--then/than) stuff as well. And of course there are the missing words or extra words that crop up in a manuscript. Once again RULE #1 prevails here: "Extra eyes can catch many things!"
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
CHION by Darryl Sloan is a short but exhilarating quest for survival by two teenagers who find themselves "stuck" in a winter horror-land, when the new snowfall halts society to a standstill in Ireland and begins to take lives.
Monday, April 16, 2007
LAURA DIEHL is also an illustrator of high quality and great imagination. Her work has been featured on several book covers I know of...three of which I reviewed unfavorably because of the writing--NOT the covers. In fact the covers were initially why I invited the author to submit at all. Anyway, here are just a few choice gems from a vast gallery located on her site, check them out.
Friday, April 13, 2007
NICK GREENWOOD is another very talented graphic artist which does book covers. His work is featured on a number of books by Windriver publishing including Collinsfort Village by Joe Ekaitas.
I'm sorry you feel stabbed in the back? I never promise anyone a glowing review, only an honest one...as for the invitation to submit...it was an invitation, not a promise of a glowing review. You could just have easily read the reviews on my site before submitting and decided that you weren't willing to take a chance on having an honest review of your work on the PODLINGS site. No one forced you to submit your work...it was an invitation based on the interesting premise of your fantasy trilogy and based on another review seen by another author on squiddo.
By inviting you to submit, I in no way whatsoever promised a glowing review of your work and therefore could not have "stabbed you in the back." To have given you something your work doesn't yet merit would be dishonest and that is exactly what authors do NOT need from POD BOOK reviewers.
This is a brutal industry and as a small press published author myself, I can sympathize with your situation. However, I've paid for plenty of copies of my own work to send to reviewers and I've taken the review given with the understanding that it was there honest opinion of my work...in many cases I agreed with their criticisms and seek to improve myself as a writer based on those criticisms. It is sad to see you don't feel this way, however my intent to provide constructive criticism for POD authors remains the same. Blowing sunshine in the faces of authors who need to improve their work in order to stand a real chance of success in our brutal book market is a far worse crime than an honest but critical review that is meant to raise the standards we publish by."
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
- "After nightfall, I crawled out of my window and silently guided Chubby through the yard into our neighbor's, the Drucker's, backyard. There was a time that they would have immediately stormed out of their house and ran to my mother and father, demanding that my parents punish me for trespassing on their perfect lawn of Bermuda grass. Instead, Mr. Drucker, a round little man with thinning blonde hair and thick black rimmed glasses, smiled a phony smile from his living room window as I passed. Mrs. Drucker, purple complexion, grayish hair mixed with spider legs, eyes not quite dead, stood beside him holding a live mouse by the tail. Dinner."
Mr. Ridley has the ability to build the tension in a scene to a fever-pitch, like a guitar string wound to the point of breaking at any moment.
- "I stopped. It was a trap. My mind knew it. But is was Gordy's sister. If there was the smallest chance she could be helped, then I had to help her. I walked back up the stairs as if I were climbing the final peak on Everest. Every step was carefully calculated, and every prayer I had ever heard in my life came spewing out of my mouth uncontrollably. I stood in the upstairs hallway, eyes focused on the room above the garage. I flipped the light switch, but nothing came on. "No lights. No eyelids. No lights. No eyelids." The voice screeched throughout the house. I moved down the hallway as silently as I could, but still she heard me. She counted each step I took. "Three steps closer. Four steps closer. Here he comes. here he comes!" -- "Allie," I said. -- "He calls me Allie!" Her voice was shrill with excitement. -- "Allie Flynn." -- "Ten steps closer. Eleven steps closer. Twelve steps and at the door. He's at the door! He's at the door!" -- "Allie," I said. "Your not making this easy. I want to help you." -- "Help me, Oz Griffin. Please, help me." -- I turned the knob and let the door open slowly on its own. The room was a guest bedroom. The mattress from the bed was stacked against the window to keep out the light. 'No lights. No eyelids.' she had said. In the darkest corner of the room, directly opposite the door, I saw a silhouette of a little girl. She stood motionless. She was taller than I remember. -- "We're so hungry, Oz Griffin." -- I forced myself to move forward. The hammer was raised, cocked back, and ready to crash down on her head at any time. "Take it easy, Allie. I'm here to help." Two thirds of the way to Allie, I realized it wasn't her at all. It was a coat rack. I stood in the middle of the room, completely vulnerable. I scanned the room in every direction. My heart went from a nervous flutter to a brutal pounding. "Allie?" -- "We're so hungry." -- The voice came from above me. I jerked my head up. There, crawling on the ceiling like an insect, was Gordy's little sister. Her skinless body was fire red with patches of black. She wore a lipless grin."
Delon City is darker than its predecessor and honestly would get a PG-13 rating for intense imagery and mild language. However it never ceases to pull the reader relentlessly through its short 210 pages. The book has been well designed inside and out and if I'm not mistaken, Mr. Ridley has done all of the cover work on both books himself. I was curious about Delon City's cover, but once you get into the story details it seems the perfect choice. There are maybe ten grammatical errors in the entire novel; mostly words in place of the correct word or a few missing words. Honestly this suspenseful young adult horror story had me saying "who cares?" it's so good. This is one of those stories that perplexes me; how it didn't get published with a large publisher. My only true regret with Delon City is that it left me hanging hungrily on the last words, wishing Book Three was already available!
Friday, April 06, 2007
Despite the fact this title was published with a bad homemade cover and proofreaders for editing, the story really saves the book. This is one of those sad cases where a gifted storyteller has published with a subsidy publisher (iuniverse) without the funds necessary to get the best product possible.
Jarrett begins in a subtle manner, escalating steadily into a full blown Angelic war. The protagonist and the conflict are multilayered and interesting to follow. Jarrett uses suspense techniques well, giving carefully placed hints at the ends of the chapters to pull the reader on to new revelations in the story. This Angel has a dark past and the path to her redemption is paved through a gauntlet of fellow spirits whose trust is next to impossible to reclaim after all she has done to abuse her power.
Jarrett deftly takes the reader below the surface to watch Laura's inner struggle with obtaining forgiveness from others as well as herself.
- Example: "Laura stared at the paper and saw before her something that she would never have, a clean slate. Each white umblemished parchment that Scott produced would soon be filled with her darkest secrets. Far from erasing anything from her past, her deeds would be forever recorded in the books of history for all to see. These writings would serve as a testament of her wickedness, her imperfection, and her unworthiness. The pen could narrate strengths to cancel evidence of weakness in character, and record reparations to absolve guilt, but with a few strokes, her shame would become immortalized."
- "Prior to Laura speaking out during Beacon assignments, it was a world that he (Michael) thought he understood well. Yet so much had gone so wrong in such a short amount of time, and he sensed that it was going to get much worse. he tried to imagine when it was that he lost his focus. At some point in time, his own will became more important than the will of God. The war was no longer fought to defend an ideology that embraced The Lord; it was now fought with indifference to Him. The battles were personal. It was revenge."
When an Angel Falls is an engaging story of redemption, but isn't a place to find accurate theology. Jarrett's realm of spirits bares little resemblance to the Bible. But she has created a fantasy realm all her own and has taken the time to flesh it out; spiritual technologies and all. This book could definitely use a facelift--a little nip and tuck to the editing and the cover that would make it as interesting as the story contained within, but taking the time to look beneath the cover will reward you with a richly told story from a writer we hope to read more from.
Friday, March 30, 2007
This cover from Velluminous Press in the U.K. may appear simple, but notice that there is actually quite a bit of detail. The background is sort of like an old worn parchment and that big detailed eye, with lids formed from the background material, instantly captures your attention. These elements combined with the odd title, give you no idea about the story within, but you just can't help but be curious about it.
This cover from Breakneck Books Publishing has alot going on: A forboding castle set with appropriate shadowing when compared to the dusky sky above, an armored hand weilding a vortex of power, and the dark knight on the back. Notice how the cover text is all positioned correctly and the different text styles all compliment one another. Everything says, "Professional." If you're thinking, yeah they paid big bucks for that cover. You'll be surprised to know that the owner of Breakneck designed these covers personally, albeit not without some artistic background.