M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Groan. Do Cozy Mysteries Really Need a Pun?

Almost gagged when looking at the new arrivals in the mystery section awhile back, but I bought Grave Errors by Carol J. Perry anyway. Kinda liked the main character when I bought the first book in the series of five books and still do. Still, I object to having to read all the bad puns as I searched for authors I wanted to read.

[Don't get me wrong. I love cozy mysteries, especially ones that happen in a small interacting communities like English villages. It's the puns that gag me.]

Lee Barrent is one of those magical types whose magic is iffy at best. Makes for a good mystery protagonist. There's just enough psi ability for the book to be both an urban fantasy and a cozy mystery.

The setting of Grave Errors is a cliche, -- Salem, Massachusetts. But Dia de los Muertos  makes an appearance--something I haven't seen an American book do very often.

The plot centers on a closed suicide case that comes back to life as a murder investigation-- when Barrett's TV production class sets up a public service campaign to extend the town's Halloween festival by adding the Mexican holiday. Garrett's cop boyfriend isn't happy when the closed case comes back to bite him, but he's learned to pay attention to Barrett's sporatic visions. This book gives the reader a nice romp with well rounded characters, lots of red herrings, and an interesting cat. It all adds up to a fun read.

Check the listings for Grave Errors at these stores\


My Writing Rut

Haven't written anything worth talking about. Just doing promo stuff. I think getting a book published turns your brain to mush. Even my traditionally published friends look at their Amazon stats at least two, three times a day. The good news is that I've sold a few copies of There Be Demons, even breaking through the 100,000 ranking...but not for long.

If you read this far, you deserve a reward. Night for the Gargoyles, the short story that inspired There Be Demons, is free on the links below. [I don't know if the Amazon link is free in foreign countries, but I fairly sure kobo is.]

Treat Yourself for Halloween:

Amazon       Barnes & Noble      kobo        Apple Books/iTunes

The best group of reviews are on Amazon.
Oh, I guess you can find me among the books at GoodReads . You can find reviews there too. I have several demon-focused short stories listed for free.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Throwing the Genres in a Mixer -- Mystery and What?

Energized isn't a witchie cozy, but Mary Behre took a little bit of mystery, a lot of suspense, a serial killer, romance, and the preternatural to construct her urban fantasy. You might say that most books in the genre do that. Maybe because writers and readers got bored with books with only one note. But the book didn't bore me with predictability even if it had a hunky former marine as the love interest. Yeah, she does the usual urban fantasy bit. Threw the ideas in the mixer.

It's no secret I read more mysteries than out and out fantasy. I read even less romance. The characters felt fresh to me. How many electricians are the heroes in urban fantasy? I know of one series with a carpenter mystery protagonist. Behre manages to round out all the important characters until they escape their clinches. One exception. The perp who was surprising mostly because she didn't give the character much of a spotlight. Still, the mystery held up quite well.

Best of all, Mary Behre gives you an example of how you can take a cliched genre book and make it totally fresh. The book didn't bore me with predictability even if a former hunky marine was the love interest. In fact I might expend a little effort and find the other two books [about the protagonist's long lost sisters] -- used, of course. You can read the sample of Energized to find out what you think on

Amazon          Barnes & Noble


Other Reading Notes

Sometimes The New York Times Book Reviews yields little nuggets I hoard. Sharyn McCrumb has a new book out--The Unquiet Grave. Now I'm sitting here waiting. I find it hard to read hardbacks with my achy thumbs, so I'll hope the mass paperback will eventually appear. Sigh. I love the way she's been mixing historical fact and mystery lately.

Picked up another useless piece of information from the NYT Book Reviews. Who do you think are the four best sellers authors of all time? Shakespeare obviously since he had a few years to out-publish the competition. Danielle Steele is the fourth best selling writer. Agatha Christie and Barbara Cartland are the other two. Do you think romance writers get no respect?


My Writing Rut

So comfortable to be back writing again. Still in Andor, but a much earlier time in its history--when the country was on its way to recovery after the "Disasters". I'm working trying to get Trapper out of the hills into a town. 

But I don't think you can call the stories dystopian. People have already learned to survive and are building larger communities and a central government again. Trial by Lies was the novella I was working on when I decided to drag There Be Demons out of the computer and publish it. The story has its own genre cliche--YA coming of age mixed with magic.

Not that its important, but I got a chuckle out of my one 2* review. The reviewer didn't like it. The beginning and ending grabbed her as well as some of the middle. The rest was just boring everyday stuff. Actually, that was one of the things I was trying to do...convey the "hurry up and wait" aspect of desperate fights, how Britt juggles her every day life with fighting demons.

Monday, October 2, 2017

When Good Things Go Bad

Be careful what you wish for,
 bad things always come attached, especially in fantasy.

Yeah, I know that's not how the saying goes, but that's what usually happens in the second book of a trilogy. Karina Sumner-Smith's Defiant polishes that premise mirror bright. Her narrative gets a little bogged down in detail at times. But that's fine with me--if there's plot moving information. I grew up in a slower moving age. Problem is style rather than info dump.

In the opening of the second book of the Towers Trilogy, Xhea's strange dark magic has disappeared while she recovers from her leg shattering injuries in Radiant. Edren,  the tower that rescued her, is basking in the magical power radiated by the ghost Shai. This set up soon launches into the discovery of a planned attack on the lower city tower by enemies unknown. 

The plot is off to the races with who planned to attack Edren and why. Xhea learning to control her magic after the attackers capture her. Edren leaders chasing after the wrong towers in preemptive attacks. The most alarming problem of the book? How Xhea and Shai cope when the bond between them is severed.

A rousing good tale from an Canadian author who doesn't get the credit or reviews she deserves. At least this hermit doesn't see much buzz about it online. You can look at the free sample on


My Writing Rut

I've read all sorts of writer blogs complaining about marketing their books. Now I'm living it. 

More like, I'm scratching at the cosmos in search of reviews myself. *funny, growly faces*

There Be Demons blog tours are just getting off the ground. My fate will be known by the end of the month. Do wonder how the reviews will fall since I made the conscious decision to develop the routine daily lives the Gargoyle Gang had to break out of to learn how to fight the demons. May have made the wrong decision since most teens have been conditioned by movie explosions.

You can read the sample of There Be Demons on Amazon or read the short story prequel -- Night for the Gargoyles -- for free.

As for the writing bit, I've gone back to the novella I was writing before I decided to publish There Be Demons -- Trial by Lies.

Makes me wonder why an old lady is writing YA.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Dark Things Haunt the Shadows

And sometimes they jump right out into the open, especially in R. S. Belcher's fantasy worlds. Nightwise is a lovely, lovely fantasy, though very dark. Just right for Halloween.

Belcher's hillbilly anti-hero walks tall through all the mayhem thrown at him, almost too easily, but it's all great fun. At another level, Nightwise is a fast moving morality tale of a tortured soul trying to do the right thing.

Just one example of Belcher's writing:
"It [the demon] was nine feet tall, four feet wide a column of black leathery skin leaking medical waste from fist-size sphincters all across its body. Glowing red eyes, mouths, barbed breasts, hooked penises, and human arms were scattered across the surface of its trunk with no semblance of reason."

Sorry to say, he makes my demons look tame in comparison. Creepy fantasy at its best.
You can find the book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Interesting Stuff

Haven't been doing much on the web except doing promo for There Be Demons. Figure that's only of interest to writers. If you're interest in what worked for me, you can always PM me on my author page of Facebook or comment.

One nice thing: ten people have liked my cover on Net Galley. Don't know if I've snagged any reviews yet.


My Writing Rut
isn't so rutty.
Some progress is being made.

There Be Demons is almost published, release date 26 September. It's up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and kobo -- and a bunch of other places Wooden Pants distributes their books. It's still a long slow process because I'm slogging through the promo. Don't think all the links work much, but I'm jumping through the hoops anyway.

You can find There Be Demons on:  Amazon     Barnes & Noble     kobo