Monday 23 June 2014

4* Review: Ghost Hand - why didn't a publisher grab this one instead of some of the rubbish I've been reading lately? :)

Self publishing that deserved to be published by someone else but wasn't.  I gave this a solid  4 stars. :)

This YA superhero fantasy is about a girl with a 'ghost' hand - think ectoplasm! The concept is presented as an acknowledged if not always accepted medical condition in this world. Or to put it another way,it's happening in some form to a small percentage of the population; it's still pretty new and freaky, so some people think it's awesome, some are fine with it, and others of course regard it as evil. There's one plot segment straight away.

As you'd expect this creates a lead character aptly described as " a little bit morbid, a whole lot snarky". A lead character with a strong voice always works for me and this is definitely that.

So when a new boy turns up in class, is there a connection with the strange and unexpected way her hand starts behaving?

To find out, get the book. I've already floated quite happily through the sequel!

Sunday 1 June 2014

5* review: Angel on the Ropes :)

Angel on the Ropes, by Jill Shultz

isbn: 9780984889228, out end of March.

Armandine needs to hide from social persecution. Where better than in front of an audience?

This is a must-read for me. It takes the classic tale of let's-run-away-to-the-circus to an entirely new, exciting  level, a page turner that really hooked me from start to finish. It's tagged as gay/Lesbian. Ignore that, it's just great SF! Check it out for yourself.

PS. I'm truly mystified why this book was self published, cos it seems unlikely it wasn't submitted somewhere before that. I really don't see why someone didn't take it. But thankfully it's in print anyway, cos for me it's definitely one self-published story worth shouting about.

Do let me know what you think?

Query Letters

OK, so it's an odd topic to come up with in the middle of actual editing, but it cropped up and it seemed to me it was one of those topics that are never really out of mind. After all, without a decent query where would we be, writer-wise?

Publishing Crawl have been showing sample query letters, and commenting on them succinctly and sensibly. Neither fulsome praise nor harsh criticism, just commonsense advice. So it seemed equally sensible to pass on the gist, in terms of a short, easy-to-apply checklist for writing a query letter to agent or publisher.

1- make sure you greet the person you're writing to.  Yes, obvious, but people do forget it's a letter, not a synopsis.

2- give your reasons for sending them the query. If you don't have one you haven't done your homework?

3- give the title, genre/age range, word length, and standalone or series up front. That way the reader can instantly determine that the book in question is one they might take on. Not a fiction book when they only take non-fiction. Not a romance when they specialise in horror. Doing daft stuff like that not only wastes everyone's time, yours included, but makes you look a right fool?

4- In one or two paragraphs, relate the main characters, the plot, and what's at stake. 

And then stop, without falling for the temptation to add just a bit more, and a bit more and....

This made sense to me, so I hope it's helpful to your thinking too. :)