Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Writing Wednesday: How long is too long?

I tried to start a conversation about this before, but no one wanted to chat. So I'm trying again, because I really am curious.

Does size matter?

How long is too long? How much is enough? How much sizzle is too hot?

I'm talking about posting excerpts on blogs.

Why, what did you think we were talking about?

Does reading excerpts online make you more likely or less likely to actually buy the book? Does an excerpt get you excited to read the rest of the story, or do your eyes glaze after a while and you don't make it down to the buy link?

What makes for a really good excerpt?

Personally, I love excerpts on blogs, and the extra chapters at the end of books that tease with the next book in the series. I've clicked links to buy a book after reading the excerpt, and I've totally gone back to amazon and ordered the next one in the series when I like the teaser chapter.

This is why I encourage guest bloggers to share excerpts - I know it works on me, so I'm assuming it works on other readers as well. I think short excerpts work best when paired with an interview or post, and a longer excerpt is better if it's on it's own.

But not always. Sometimes it backfires. I may like the premise, but the blurb doesn't hook me so I hesitate. And then inevitably forget about that particular book when the next shiny thing comes along.

And does size matter? (Excerpts, people, we're still talking excerpts. Get your minds out of the gutter.)

If anyone wants to chime in, let's get a conversation going. Puns and innuendos are always welcome. Obviously.

In the meantime, Happy Writing!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday Book Review: Skipping the Scales, by Pete Tarsi

Skipping the Scales, by Pete Tarsi
(Flipping the Scales, Book 2)
Published July 2017

About the Book:
Meredith, Marina, and Hailey's wildest dreams could be coming true.

Two weeks in the ocean changed Meredith's life and career goal. Now studying marine biology, she lands a summer internship at a local aquarium. Her aquatic intuition impresses her mentor, but how would the mermaids feel about holding fish captive in the name of science?

Marina has returned ashore to seek out her missing mother. A curious and cryptic painting leads to other clues, but the search through her mother's past reveals more questions than answers. Could her parents have left the ocean harboring a deep, dark secret?

Meanwhile, Hailey keeps Marina's tail safe and lives her lifelong dream to be a real mermaid. The experience is exhilarating, until the leader of the school suspects she is a human. If she gets caught, would it leave her friend forever marooned on land?

When second-guessing, mystery, and danger threaten to sink their dreams, will they skip out? Or will they work together and swim through the rough waters ahead?
My Take:

This second book in this delightful middle grade/young YA mermaid series continues the stories of Marina, Meredith, and their friends as they navigate mysteries both above and below the ocean's surface.

Marina is an orphaned orange tail mermaid in search of answers and her long lost mother, both of which she thinks she will find on dry land. Needing someone to guard her mermaid tail, she turns to the human friends she made the previous summer and finds a willing helper in Hailey, who has always dreamed of being a mermaid. Hailey's cousin Jill, and Jill's best friend Meredith, once again get roped into the adventures that ensue. After all, Meredith was the one who got to live as a mermaid the previous summer, which led her to pursue an internship in marine biology at the local aquarium.

Now Hailey can't wait for her turn exploring the undersea world.

But nothing is ever as easy as it seems, and there are more mysteries surrounding Marina's background than any of the girls could've imagined. Twists and turns are interlaced with tidbits of marine factoids as the story thickens both above and below the surface. Chapters alternate the action between the mers and the humans until the two stories collide... But I can't get into that without spoiling the story.

Pete Tarsi weaves an interesting tale, with all the girls skirting the edges of right and wrong and realizing things are never just black or white. There's a little bit of head hopping among the minor characters that I mention only because its on my pet peeve list, but otherwise this is a delightful, lighthearted story, perfect for any mermaid fans, or really any middle grade reader despite the ages of the main characters.

Grab a copy on AMAZON.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday Feature: New Excerpt from DEVIL TAKE ME, by Karilyn Bentley

About the Book:

A demon attack…

Reeling from a personal tragedy and abandoned by all she loves, the world's newest demon huntress, Gin Crawford, sinks into a deep despair. She’s forced back to reality by news of a large number of people committing suicide, all on the same night. Suspecting demon involvement, Gin must work with her sexy but estranged mentor Aidan Smythe to track who, or what, is behind the deaths.

Leads to a new discovery…

As they come closer to finding the culprit, they realize their employer, the Agency, is hiding its own secret, one which threatens Gin's very existence. New discoveries reveal that even those dedicated to eradicating evil can be bought. Can Gin and Smythe forgive each other and work together or will they fall under the demon's thrall?

A wisp of warm air ruffles against me a second before the justitia forms a sword. Somehow it misses my head. I drop my hands at the same time a voice sounds. “I can get rid of your problems if you’ll let me.”
I release a gasp. Perdix leans against the doorjamb to the bathroom, arms crossed. In person. Not a projection. A demon stands in my bedroom.
I’m so shocked he’s in person and not in my mind I sit frozen on the bed, tears dripping off my chin. Clearly this day can get worse.
“You wear his mark.” I assume, by his bony finger pointing at my neck, the “his” refers to Zagan since it’s Zagan’s mark below my hairline. “I should kill you.”
One thing in life you can always count on: a demon making death threats.
Before I can respond, he continues. “But, it is more fun to encourage you to capitulate to my thrall.”
Whatever, demon. I might be a screw-up of epic proportions, but I have killed demons and know what to do with the pointy end of my sword.
I spring forward, slicing through the air, aiming for his neck, only to embed the justitia in the door frame as Perdix disappears.
Damn it. Wonder how much the repairs are going to cost?
“Tsk, tsk, tsk.”
I twist at the sound behind me, unable to pull free to turn. The demon stands on the other side of my bed shaking his head.
Great. Now two demons are disappointed in me. How big of an idiot do you have to be for two demons to get upset with you?
I look back at the sword buried in the doorframe. Yeah, not answering that question.
Using my free hand to grasp my opposite forearm below the silver links of the justitia, I use the extra force to yank on my arm, hoping to free the sword from the wood.
“You don’t have to be so violent about it.”
Yank. The sword moves a wee bit.
“All you have to do is ask me to free you from this life.”
Yank. Will the damn demon not shut up?
“Despite you belonging to my rival, I will happily welcome you into my arms.”
Yank, yank, yank. Oomph. I land with a thud on my ass as the wood releases its hold on the sword.
“What grace. What poise. You are truly the most elegant servant Zagan has ever made.”
I shove to my feet, pointing the sword at the smirking demon.
“Why did you kill all those people? I thought you fed on the dying, not those who still wanted to live.”
“Power, my dear, power. Do you know how tasty a soul is when they don’t want to die?” He smacks his lips. “Much better than the soul who dies by despair alone. Despair mixed with fear is quite the energy giver.” He smacks his lips again.
“And what, you absorb all this energy to be able to stalk more victims?” I take a step backward toward the door as I speak, stopping when the knob touches my backside.
A small smile curves his lips. “Not victims, my dear; hasn’t your master explained this to you?”
“He’s not my master.” I reach behind, twist the knob, and step forward, opening the door. “Smythe!”
       During the brief time my head turns to yell at my mentor, the demon pulls a vanishing act, leaving with the same wisp of warm air on which he arrived.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

Buy Links for Devil Take Me: