Friday, April 18, 2014

Shouting Into the Wind

Sometimes I feel like my whole writing life is just shouting into the wind. You know what I mean. Throwing stuff out there and hoping that someone hears it but all the same you're pretty sure no one does.

This blog for instance. Sure I get some traffic. Any responses? Painfully few. Then again, how many of the blogs that I read do I respond to? Painfully few.

Another wind shouting aspect of my writing life? Self publishing. How many books have I actually sold? A handful. I've gotten some good reviews but sales . . . not so much. I will say that some of the best self-publishing marketing dollars that I have spent has been on Goodreads, but that's a topic for another time, when I review my self-publishing marketing schemes (see here for more).

For now I'll just keep on a-shouting and hoping that someone hears me. Hope I don't go hoarse in the mean time.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Evanovich and Parker . . . Two Peas in a Pod

This could be the worst ending of any of the Stephanie Plum series of novels. I mean way to phone it in Janet. Still, just like I mentioend yesterday (here) about reading a Robert B. Parker novel, you kinda have to expect that.

All in all a fun read, but wow, that was a terrrifically bad ending.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

That Went Fast . . . Perhaps Too Fast

I finished Sixkill by Robert B. Parker before I even got around to my review of Evanovich's novel. Now my timing is going to be all mucked up.

When you go into one of these novels you have to expect that it will be fast and easy and fun. This was all three. So if I look at the author's intent I give him a 10 out of 10. Sadly, it pushed absolutely no boundaries. You get what you get and you don't throw a fit.

I'm running out of first person genre mysteries to read though.

At least the last line is nicely prosaic.

WHEN I GOT BACK to Boston I changed into sweats, put some clean clothes and a shaving kit in a gym bag, and went down to the Harbor Health Club. I lifted weights. I hit the speed bag. I hit the heavy bag until the sweat was all over me and soaking through my shirt. Then I went to the steam room and sat for a long time. When I came out, I showered and shaved and put on my clean clothes. 

It was still raining when I came out of the club. But it seemed to me that it was getting a little lighter in the west. Over Cambridge. Where Susan lived. 

After the rain lifted, the world would probably seem as freshly washed as I was. The cleanliness was almost certainly illusory, or at best short-lasting. But life is mostly metaphor, anyway. 

I got in my car and drove west.

Parker, Robert B. - Sixkill

Monday, April 14, 2014

Been Awhile

I love the way his cynicism for life drips through even in the first sentence.

IT WAS SPRING. The vernal equinox had done whatever it was it did, and the late March air drifting in through the open window in my office was soft even though it wasn’t really warm yet. Spring training was under way in full tiresomeness, and opening day was two weeks off.

Parker, Robert B. - Sixkill 

Been awhile since I read a Robert B. Parker book. I think the last one I read was Hugger Mugger and I remember my grandfather looking at it and saying "sounds like its about an overzealous prostitute." What I'm trying to do here is overwhelm myself with first person genre mysteries. It helps me get in the right frame of mind for my own book. Pretty soon I'll be out of this phase and I can get to some other types of books.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hot Money . . . Never Knew It Existed

I thought I had read all the Dick Francis books. I'm so glad I was wrong. Lately, as I reread them, I naturally find them less than original, less fun to read. It's so nice to find one I didn't know existed and recapture that fun and esteem that comes from reading a book like Hot Money.

It's a typical Dick Francis novel. A mild-mannered protagonist who is forced into helping someone out of a jam inspired by a murder, usually involving a strange or estranged family and always involving horse racing. Nothing new to see here, except I really liked it. I guess the newness came from finding it in the first place.

The last lines are also typical, the main character has gone through an adventure and grown, usually spiritually and closer to a loved one, but ultimately he is the same person who started the novel.

“Did you notice I’d taken the golden dolphin and the amethyst tree and so on out of the wall and put them in the sitting room?” he asked casually. 

“Yes, I did.” 

“I sold the gold too.” 

I glanced at him. He looked quizzically back. 

“The price rose sharply this year, as I thought it would. I took the profit. There’s nothing in the wall now except spiders and dust.” 

“Never mind.” 

“I’m leaving the clause in the will, though.” 

The family had been curious about his leaving me the piece of wire, and he’d refused to explain.

 “I’ll buy more gold, and sell it. Buy and sell. Forward and backward. One of these days”— his blue eyes gleamed—“ you may win on the nod.”

Francis, Dick - Hot Money

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

First Line at the Moment

Back to an old standard.

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time rolling on the ground with men who thing a stiffy represents personal growth. 

Hard Eight - Janet Evanovich

So, it's not "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." but right now it's exactly what I need right now to help me get to the end of my own (somewhat fatuous and one dimensional) novel.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yet Another Taker

Hot on the heels of Mom's Thumb Reviews (see here) comes this one from Hong Konger Laura Besley (here).

Miss Besley, who also read my first novel, Toe the Line (here), says of this one:

On the Edge is almost two books for the price of one: present Joe and past Joe.


These two threads of the story are cleverly woven together and feed into the ever-building climax at the end. 

And finally, this . . . my favorite part:

Overall this is an enjoyable thriller and is recommended for people who enjoy murder mysteries.

I'll take that. Didn't get a five star review on Goodreads, but five star equals "It was amazing." Four star equates to "Really liked it." I'll take it and use that missing fifth star as motivation to finish Vapor Trail.