Lasher King Koontz

One of the downsides of being a writer is you oftentimes find yourself so busy writing that you barely have time to read.

I recently decided to rectify that and, in the process, made an interesting discovery.

See, I picked up three books, one I was familiar with, one where the author was somewhat known to me, and the third written by someone in my genre I’d never read. So I ended up with Lasher by Anne Rice, The Stand by Stephen King, and Brother Odd by Dean Koontz.

Here’s where the interesting part comes in.

I’ve read Lasher a few times. The sequel to The Witching Hour (one of my favorite books, if memory serves … it’s been quite a few years since I’ve read it), it’s a fairly strong piece of work. Not a fave, but not bad. I can pick it up, open to a page, and know exactly what preceded it and what’s around the corner.

What I discovered this time, though, is the writing.

Anne Rice writes lyrically. Her sentences are sometimes long, her dialogue tags are either solid and basic or creative and overwrought, and the woman loves her commas, relying on those to give her Writer’s Voice its rhythm instead of full stops.

Compare that to Stephen King. He’s what I call an economical gasbag. His words are carefully chosen and each does its share of the work in the sentence, but he also can have paragraphical prose. It’s written very well, of course, but the words don’t carry the same sense of lush lyricism that Anne Rice’s do. Again, economical. And a gasbag (sometimes).

I say that lovingly. King is king, no matter how you slice and dice it.

Now, on to Koontz.

He’s new to me. Very short sentences, more or less. Full stop, full stop, full stop. There’s an almost truncated rhythm to what he does. And then he’ll throw in a descriptive phrase or sentence … okay, A LOT of descriptive phrases and sentences, albeit brief ones, that kinda throw you. Several times I’ve had to stop and Scooby Doo. Then I’d unravel the mystery, pat myself on the back for being a clever fellow, and get back to reading.

Is Koontz an author I’m enjoying? The jury’s still out. I can appreciate the syncopated, often interrupted way his Writer’s Voice speaks, but it’s taking me a moment to dive deep and lose myself, like I do with Rice and King.

Regardless, I am learning two other things:

1) I still enjoy a great book and need to carve out time in my weekly schedule to read for pleasure and not just for research, and

2) It’s time to get busy on the two books I need to write. Not that I would compare myself with Rice or Koontz or King, but I do find myself rewriting them (sometimes) in my head and then feeling hungry to get back to telling my own stories.

Now that I think about it, besides a great story, that’s one of the gifts great authors give us: inspiration.

Disturbing and intensely gripping, …

I got some love on Amazon. Check it out:

Disturbing and intensely gripping, this is a novel that seeps into your very soul not to be removed

The Wounded King has to be one of the most intensely gripping novels that I have read in such a long time, with its words seeping into my very soul never to be forgotten. From the moment you read the first sentence you find yourself becoming lost within such an engrossing story that is truly original, idiosyncratic and unique. Jonathan Winn is an author with obdurate creative ideas that blow you away, leaving you sat breathless as you try to take it all in. The electric tension, drama and suspense had me sat on the very edge of my seat throughout as I read the entire novel in only a few hours, lost within the compelling and dramatic story.

And there’s more!!! Read the rest here.

Oh, happy day.

A quiet cul de sac

A couple days ago I caught snippets of an interview with Patricia Cornwell, the bestselling author of the Scarpetta series, among other things. She talked about her work — which I found mildly interesting –, she solved a staged case — something a team had spent three days planning which she walked into and nailed in an hour –, and she spoke about her wife.

Yeah. Her wife. Which makes her gay, I guess.

You see, this is one of those issues that both Matters and Doesn’t Matter. If you’re curious Why It Matters, head over here. If you want to know why I believe It Doesn’t Matter, keep reading.

You see, there are readers who will now no longer enjoy her books. People who loved her work, loved her characters. Adopted them into their lives as if they were real people dealing with real problems. Eagerly looked forward to the next installment. The next leg of the journey. Knew they could find a solid escape from their lives between the pages.

But now because Miss Cornwell is different — and she’s been fairly open about her sexuality for several years, but it’s new to me, so I’m writing from that perspective –, they’ll turn their backs on her.

You see, she’s not like them.

Because she doesn’t think crumbling tortilla chips over a casserole, tagging the word Fiesta on it before insisting on being applauded for her culinary genius, they won’t buy her books.

She’s not like them.

Because she doesn’t spend every third Saturday staring at the ceiling wondering if she turned the oven off while the Mr. plugs in an impressive thirty humps before popping off, they’ll deny themselves the joy of her talent.

She’s not like them.

Because, in their minds, Miss Cornwell and her Mrs. — her MRS!! — are “others” who more than likely suit up every night for sexy intercourse with enough power tools to make a mechanic piss himself with envy, she’s not worth the read.

But it doesn’t matter.

Miss Cornwell writes books. Has been doing it for years with bestseller after bestseller with the next bestseller, her 20th, released this week. And for anyone who knows what the writing of a book entails, trust me, it ain’t easy. Who she loves, who she sleeps with, doesn’t really enter into the equation. The books she writes from here on out will more than likely adhere to the familiar, quite successful formula established by her earlier work.

In other words, I doubt her characters will start trolling Home Depot before heading home to Dykesville and their quiet cul de sac off Clitori Corner.

And, for some, that won’t be enough. In my opinion, that’s their problem. No one is obligated to reveal the truth of who they are on the Front Cover just so you, a potential reader, will feel comfortable.

The readers of hers who are mature and have their priorities in check won’t be thrown, won’t be bothered. Will continue to read and enjoy what she offers, wife or not.

Anyone else is welcome to donate those books of hers they refuse to revisit and enjoy to their local library or used book store, head on home to their own quiet cul de sac between Raging Hellfire and Eternal Damnation Lanes, light a candle, crack open the Good Book and begin working their way through all those “begat”s and “so sayeth he”s.

Personally, I’ll take Cornwell.

new review!

The Elder got a new review on Amazon!!!!!

As with all Jonathan Winn’s works I am impressed with the sheer beauty of the writing, the very literate and literary use of language to convey the nuance of the protagonists and characters he envisions. He writes with finesse and style. The editing is top-notch and not a word is wasted. A joy to read.

See the rest here. (^~^)

I’m not King

If you’ve published a book, you’ve probably found yourself asking “Why isn’t my book selling?”

Heck, let’s just be real here. If you’re independently published or even lounging under the umbrella of the Big 6, you’ve most definitely asked that question.

Oh, c’mon! Of course you have. We all have.

In this vast ocean of pages and ink and black pixels on white, Why isn’t my book selling? is the bond that links us, all of us — rich, poor, newbie, old salt, superstar, anonymous hack –, together.

And if you haven’t wondered Why isn’t my book selling?, well, let me be the first to welcome you, Mr. King. Or is that you, JK? Mr. Patterson? In any case, Hello!!! Glad you could drop by.

Any-hoo …

Trudging your way out of NoSales Desert isn’t always an easy thing. And, in the end, the answer to your How the Heck Do I Get Out of Here may not be up to you anyway. I’m as proactive as the next guy, but sometimes the What of what has to happen isn’t a Something you can do.

I mean, there are the usual culprits to look at first. The inevitable chaff to separate from your literary wheat. Your formatting sucks or your writing isn’t what it could be or your cover throws people off or the lack of reviews makes potential readers skittish or your price is way, way too high or, swimming in a sea of millions, people just don’t know you exist yet and you’re still stuck believing that somehow the book will magically market itself.

It could be any one of those things. And those are things you can fix. Sometimes.

What you can’t fix is Time.

Someone once said to me that a good book — a really good book with great writing and professional formatting offered at an appropriate price with a cover that is genre specific and really pops — takes a solid 6 months to a year to find its audience.

Yep, six months to a year. If you’re lucky.

Do some writers bolt out of the gate and become overnight sensations? Sure, if by “overnight” you mean a couple years spent building a readership on fan-fiction sites or laboriously crafting an online platform for the past three years via their blogs and websites and social media.

But most of us aren’t that prescient — or smart –, so instead of working our already strong internet presence, we spend the first several months wondering where in the heck we went wrong.

Which is where the second piece of advice from this very wise Someone comes in.

Instead of waiting for your book to sell, obsessing over the big, fat 00 on your sales chart, and wondering when it’ll get better, write.

That’s right.


His point, this Wise Someone of whom I speak, was that writers with more than one book tend to sell more. As if somehow readers feel more likely to commit to an unknown if they see the journey has the potential to continue past that first book. Furthermore, he insisted, books in a series tend to attract readers who prefer, well, reading series. They’ll buy one and then another and another until the end. And then look for your next one. If your work is good, of course.

I guess the point of this rambling missive is this:

You’re a writer, so write. Don’t worry about sales. Don’t worry about your plummeting ranking. Don’t woulda, coulda, shoulda yourself to death. It is what it is.

Just write.

If it means writing another book, write another book. I think every writer has more than one in them. You should by all means offer as much as you can to potential readers. If they like what you do in one, the chances are great they’ll follow through with your next.

So, get busy. Type The End, publish the book, open a new document, type Chapter One, lather, rinse, repeat.

If it means writing on a blog, go for it. In this day and age, the more readers interact with you, the better. For some, having a glimpse behind the Chapter Headings and discovering an opportunity to talk with the author of a book they’re considering reading could be a key selling point that tips it in your favor. Or slamming out a guest post on someone else’s site. Abso-frigging-lutely. Brilliant. Being a part of a community never hurts. And, again, the more who know you exist, the better.

Whatever can draw more eyes to your work, that’s what you want to do.

Besides, anything is better than looking at those double doughnuts on your sales chart, right?

JK’s Casual Vacancy

I was going to title this Post “reality bites”, but decided to play nice.

A rousing discussion got me thinking about the Why of a celebrated author receiving 1 Star Rankings from a staggering 42% of people over on Amazon. Are people just vindictive little howler monkeys — yeah, I used that phrase over in the comments elsewhere, but loved it so I’m using it again — and eager to tear down something they’ve built up because it’s become too successful?

Perhaps. Oh, okay. Probably.

But I think it’s a bit more complex than that.

You see, for the last hundred years or so, JK Rowling has been carried by a once in a lifetime marketing juggernaut not seen since Jesus was body slammed into immortality on the back of the Bible (a very clever bit of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th century PR if there ever was one).

Am I overstating things? Yeah, but a point is being made. Bear with me.

Having left the Potter Universe, the door of Hogwarts closed and locked behind her, she’s now trying to create a new universe. Give new people life. Dazzle with a new story. Mesmerize us in unexpected and, more importantly to her, different ways.

But it doesn’t seem to be working.

You see, if we look at things realistically, the success of Harry Potter was less about the brilliance of the Writer JK Rowling than it was her talent as a storyteller. It was the boy Harry Potter tapping into the angst and struggles and difficulties of being different and disliked. For being hated because of who he was, his scar forever branding him as an Other. It was about being trapped by a Fate others couldn’t understand. And being punished for it despite the fact you were going to save the world and the butts of everyone who now hated you. And beneath all that it was about the world not recognizing just how special and unique you were.

For YA audiences — a genre that was forgotten and on the verge of death before Potter came along — it was the equivalent of hitting their G Spot. Over and over and over again. They were Harry and Hermione and Ron. And so were their friends. Even if you were an adult, the books spoke to you, the hapless Potter and his wand exorcising your adolescent ghosts.

And that’s where the juggernaut comes in.

But it wasn’t about the writing. It was NEVER about the writing.

Now JK is asking that it be about the writing. And therein lies the problem.

No longer insulated by the success of the Potter Universe, people are rediscovering the WRITER JK Rowling and not the Hogwarts storyteller. And many aren’t liking what they see.

Which could be a good thing for her in the long run.

THE CASUAL VACANCY will be a hit based on the curiosity factor alone. But, if early reviews are to be believed, it won’t be beloved. In fact, it might even be universally panned as the worst steaming pile of dog dookie since 50 SHADES. Which lowers the bar for ol’ JK. Which makes the feverish excitement surrounding the release of the book after this a bit less daunting. Having been disappointed by her last one, people will expect less. Expecting less, they’ll go in with an open mind.

And that gives her a chance to start from scratch, really break the bonds of Harry, and have people rediscover her as a Writer who writes and not the woman who created Harry Potter.

Five books from now, will we remember the 42% who hated her first foray away from Potter? Probably not.

But I guarantee you we’ll be looking at JK Rowling as more than just the woman who brought us Hogwarts.