Monthly Archives: February 2017

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Book title slider

Time for a cover!

Howdy, y’all!

You may not know this, but a few weeks ago I had a problem.  I got together with my cover designer Christine, and she came up with a couple of cover designs that were pretty cool. But she came up with 2 of them that were really kick ass. I couldn’t make up my mind.  So, I decided why not put it up to a vote?  So, I asked all the readers who have subscribed to my newsletter to vote on which cover they liked better.

The results were surprising!

And wow did you all vote!  There were around 480 votes cast. One cover dominated with over 78% of the  votes! That’s an amazing and decisive victory for one the two candidates.   You know, at this point I feel like I should draw this whole thing out and maybe post a video to a Rickroll on Youtube, but let’s cut to what’s important.

Without further ado the cover for The Concrete Goodbye and the synopsis!

 

cover of book

The cover

Greed, Sex, Murder, and Superheroes

 Blackmailing the world’s first superhero can be deadly

Jack Story is a Private Detective in a city full of superheroes.

Aging WWII super solider Major Victory is being blackmailed. The Major’s granddaughter, the apple of his eye, is an unwitting star of a sex tape.  If the Major doesn’t pay up, the world gets to see what his little darling gets up to at night. The Major wants Jack to make the blackmail stop. Preferably with lots of pain being inflicted on the blackmailer.

Jack takes the job.

But when Jack starts digging into the case things turn deadly.  There is an explosion downtown that levels a concrete building and kills a young superhero. The grand daughter insists the bomb was really meant her and not her best friend.

That same friend shows up in Jack’s office hours after the explosion, claiming she was the target all along.  She demands that Jack find out who’s responsible before disappearing into the night.

Can Jack find who is behind the blackmail and the bombing before others die?  What if it’s the granddaughter behind it all?

Sometimes being a detective in a city full of superheroes can be Hell.

 

Lemme know what you think. I’m super excited about the book, and the cover only makes it more exciting!

 


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Back of the book blurbs

Writing them is hard.

Like, I’d rather write another book than write one of these.

The thing about a good synopsis is that it has to 1: entice the reader. 2: provide enough detail of the plot but 3: not give away the core of the story and 4: be succint enough that someone can read through it in about 30 seconds.

Yeah, not fun. It’s copy writing not fiction writing.  And when you’re the writer of the story, you want to put in all sorts of details that you think are necessary, relevant, and interesting.

Like “Jane was a former cheerleader turned mom turned serial enterepuer but when she finds a dead body in her kitchen…”

But that’s full of a bunch of nonsense you don’t need. LIke the former cheerleader bit. Or the mom. or the business part.  What you need to know is that she found a dead body in her kitchen.  You know you’re in a mystery or a thriller right off.

I’m no expert on synopsis writing. I have read a few books on how to do it. The best one I’ve found to date is Bryan Cohen’s How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis. (no affiliate link) He breaks down the elements of a good synopsis. Then how he writes one. With a step by step guide like Step 1: write something like this. Step 2: now write something like this.

When you suck at synopsis writing like I do, it’s handy to have a book like this nearby.


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book cover

This Book made me have an Existential Crisis

Category : Reviews

3 star rating

 

So, I bought into this book on the description’s first sentence: If you love Star Wars and Starcraft, you’ll love this book.”

I love both those things so I was like “Sure!” And it started off like an episode of Battlestar Galactica. Which I also love. There was a hot-headed pilot. There were CAG’s. And spacefighters. It was under written but that might be a style choice. The second chapter was about an intelligence agent at a ball or something

I’m like, “Okay, let’s see where this goes.”

Then we jumped to the space marines.  they’re tromping around in space marine suits. They’ve got laser guns. All the sort of things that space marines are supposed to have.  Then the aliens show up. It’s a straight up clone of Zerg/Tryanids and that’s cool with me. I love that stuff.

And again, very under described. There’s a scene where a flagship space battleship is taken out by the aliens and crashes into the planet. In the space of about 5 sentences.  That’s too little space spent on something huge falling out of the sky. I mean, overall, there’s no emotional connection being made with any of the three or four characters or the 100’s or 1000’s of people that just died in that crash.  Take some time to acknowledge the tragdey of all those lives suddenly ending. Spend a moment on the dread that sets in when a symbol of your societies power is easily dispatched and sent tumbling to the ground.

But nope, we plow on to the scene that caused me to have the existential crisis.  You see, these space marines go to a space port. In their future tech marine armor suits. Looking for future tech space ships. They fight some aliens with their laser rifles. So they can join the fight up in space with all the other future tech space ships and spacefairing aliens.  When they run into magic.

That’s right, there’s magic in this book.

They participate in a very video game-esque fight scene with what turns out to involve quasi-religious icons. Now, you could get hung up on the fact that our POV character immediately identified and accepted these two quasi-religious beings with no problems. You could get hung up on the writing often staged scenes that seemed to be on pause until the POV character arrived to fully take in all the details rather than have the event happen to the POV character.  You could. But I didn’t.

I couldn’t get over the idea of Magic being in this world.

Which may not seem like a big deal, but follow me on this one. After a few days of thought- longer than it took me to read the book- I decided that a society that had magic before an industrial age would never develop machine technology beyond that point.  At least, not as we have/would.

You’re probably thinking something like “but a sufficiently advanced tech is indistinguishable from magic.”  And it is…to an outsider. But to someone who lives with both Magic and Technology are different and work by different rules.

Now, follow me on this: the industrial revolution started with candle making. Candle making is a long process of dipping wicks into tallow, parrafin, or beeswax. People started making the machines to dip a bunch of wicks at once to speed up the process to supply the insatiable candle market.  Because candles were the only way you could see at night.

Now, what’s the first spell the newbiest newb learns at magic school?  It’s light. In the stories, they all learn to create light to study by at night.  Now, imagine that you have access to a bunch of 1st year students looking to make some beer money. An enterprising person could pay those first years to cast light on rocks all day long. The investment is low- you just need rocks and 1st year students.  So you can produce them cheaply and quickly.

Faster and cheaper than candles.

AND the magic light rocks won’t burn down your house. In a matter of months, you could destroy the candle industry.  And you’re rich!  Without candles, you don’t get to the idea of gas lamps in your house. Without gas lamps you don’t get the idea to use electricity to create a safer alternative with light bulbs.  Without light bulbs you don’t get the idea for circuits. Without circuits you don’t get to computers. Without computers, you don’t get in space.  Not with technology, anyway.

You can with magic. But not science. If you have a world with magic, I don’t think you’ll develop much technology at all. Why have radios when I can do the same thing with magic mirrors?  See what I mean?

And in this book magic is no big deal. It’s like the difference between a Ford or a Dodge truck. It’s just a slightly different way of doing the same things.  No one is really impressed by it or freaked out by it.  Magic is just there. Some of the body guards for the President use magic. They’re not treated any different than the guys who use laser rifles.  And there are at least 2 people, maybe more I forget, that have been alive for 1000’s of years and it’s no big deal.

As I read the book I kept coming up against that idea: something would happen with technology and I would think “well, since they have magic this would probably never happen, because…”  And then I’d realize I’d spent 20 minutes thinking about how the world really doesn’t work rather than reading the rest of the scene.

It’s not like this is fantasy spaceships, these are sci-fi space ships. Characters distinctly say some things are technology. They’re described in science terms (coilguns, etc).  Then there’s magic, where shit just happens with a hand wave.

The characters equally accept both things as a defacto part of their lives.

Okay, I think I could write a whole book on why this doesn’t work but no one’s got time for that.  Why three stars?

Because I think if the writer pulled all the magic bits out, he’d have a compelling BSG/Starcraft mashup. It’s underwritten- there need to be better descriptions and more emotional context to what’s happening in the world.  The magic bits smack of RPG table top characters and things from the writer’s past or at least he’s lived with those characters in his head for a long time.

Oh, and I was provided this book for a fair and honest review.