Also...Smashwords is having a sale. Blue Ghosts is free, Gray Fox and Planet Bob are both half off. If you are interested in any of those books, I suggest you go buy them now. Sale ends on the 9th.
I've spent the last several days researching Lightning Source as a printer. They are indeed the best option, but holy fuck are they going to be expensive. Not, boys and girls, because they charge money for services, but because they're not fucking around. I'm going to have to create my own company (...should be easy to make my make-believe "Christwriter Studios" thing into a reality-on-paper) so that I am technically a "real" publisher and not a self-publisher, purchase my own ISBN numbers (125 DOLLARS A POP. Unless I buy ten at a time, in which case the price goes down to 250 for the lot) make absolutely fucking sure the book is perfect, which will probably involve hiring a real proofreader and typesetter (...and editor, probably) and then pay their set-up fees, which are about eighty bucks when you figure storage fees into the equation.
And the reason why I need to make sure I have everything perfect? Reloading the file is a forty dollar service charge.
This is why vetting and doing your research BEFORE you sign any paper is important. It's worth the investment, but it's going to take a lot of work to get there. Six months, minimum, depending on how much of this I am willing to outsource.
And also? This is why, if you want a print book? Going the trade route is always going to be your best option. Let somebody else handle this shit.
...I have to read the book now, don't I?
So after melodramtically promising to protect a traumatized man from his abuser--without acknowledging that she is almost as bad as Andais--Merry Gentry gets another call on her mirror-phone.
I hate phones. I hate being interrupted. I hate having people call me, I think texting was invented by a junior demon attempting to impress his superiors. I spent most of my teenage years playing secretary for my father's business, and the stand-out moment was when one of his employees wives attempted suicide.
I was seventeen.
That's why I hate phones.
So I kind of can commisurate with Merry here, given that a constantly ringing phone is roughly up there with menstral cramps in my book, but for fuck's sake, can't you find a way to disconnect the damn thing?
And it's Merry's mom.
It's kind of new. Merry's dad is damn near worshiped in this book. Merry's mom, on the other hand...hasn't really been mentioned. And hey, didn't Anita's mom get short shift over on the other series too? This might be the first time we've had an on-screen biological mom in LKH's career. Should be fun.
Merry decides she needs company for dealing with her mom.
I understand this completely. There are certain family members where the rule is, never be in the room with them alone. One of them is responsible for 75% of my cutting episodes. Yes. It's my choice to cut. It was their choice to be a
If your mirror gets this much traffic, Merry? Do yourself a favor and get the fucking thing out of your bedroom. Seriously. You should not be having very important conversations on sheets that have seen more traffic than Grand Central Station.
And for once the evil chick of the hour is not a blond. In fact, I am about to give LKH praise, folks.
I know. Your hearts will begin beating again soon.
See, Merry's mom is part brownie. And so her oh-so-special Sidhe hair is a perfectly mundane shade of brown, her eyes are also a perfectly mundane shade of brown, and while she's really pretty, her skin isn't the sparkly magic specialness of the Sidhe. She's still sidhe, but she looks really, really human by their reckoning, and she hates every minute of it. She's covered herself in sidhe things to compensate for having normal-looking hair, eyes and skin.
This is how you introduce a character. I know exactly how Merry's mom feels about herself, about Merry, about the courts, and about life in general. I know she's going to be awful, I know she's going to be self-absorbed, and I am actively looking forward to watching Merry and her mom interact because I already have a pretty firm grasp on Mom's personality.
Unfortunately the physical description continues on for about two pages more than it needs to, and my enthusiasm for this confrontation dies with every extra paragraph. Yes, folks. Apparently one paragraph of "Show don't tell" per novel is all we're going to get from Ms. Hamilton.
Which is a shame. She's goddamned good at it when she can be arsed to try.
I’d never realized until this moment— as she sat there in her Seelie finery, and I stood in casual street clothes— that I was prettier than my mother.
This is how you torpedo a main character's ..well, character. Merry is ass deep in intrigue right now. She should not have the brains to one up her mother, let alone the vanity. When you are occupied by sixteen life threatening plots, you are not checking to see how big your mom's ass is, is all I'm saying.
Barbed words are exchanged, finally, and LKH is very careful to walk us through every nuance, because apparently she assumes her audience is twelve, and thus not capable of understanding the subtlties of dialogue. I would say that if her audience really was twelve they've got no business reading her books, but Kitto, and I think I was actually ten the first time I read one of her (early) books...and if you've read the Gap series at thirteen, which I did, you can't really police what anybody else is reading, either.
(...Jesus fucking Christ. The Gap series.)
And then Mommie Dearest brings up the Seelie Court Yuletide ball. Because Taranis does not want to be denied.
I think the honestly depressing thing about LKH's novels is how much bleeding potential there is. I know Taranis. I think I've worked for him a couple times. He's the kind of person who doesn't give a flying fuck about you until you tell him to get screwed, and then suddenly he has to have you. It's not because he actually needs you. It's because you told him no. It would be so easy to make any story arc involving him awesome, because he is legitimately dangerous. But LKH just never does anything with it. We've spent most of this book in this apartment talking about having sex.
She shifted in the small chair, as if I’d surprised her again. “Well, daughter, we should not let it be so long between talks.”David Eddings is one of my favorite writers. I do not admit this with pride. David Eddings has told one story exceptionally well...about nine times now. Seriously. The Belgariad is the Mallorean is the Eleniad is the Tamuli is Belgarath the Sorcerer is Polgara the Sorceress is The Redemption of Althalus is the Elder Gods series and if he decides to do yet another fantasy story?. IT WILL BE THE SAME FUCKING STORY. He uses the same formula, he uses the same timing, and Polgara is Serephrena is Aphrael (there's a twofer in that series) is Emmy is that Goddess chick from the Elder Gods whose name I can never remember because she had, like, ten.
“Of course not,” I said, and kept my face pleasant and unreadable.
“I have heard that you are invited to this year’s Yule ball.”
“I look forward to seeing you there, and renewing our acquaintance.”
“I am surprised that you have not also heard that I had to decline the invitation.”
“I had heard and find it hard to credit.”
And yet I love every book he's written. Because I know the characters. Even his newer books are like slipping on the worlds most comfortable pair of shoes. And the best part is how much of his dialogue he leaves to your imagination. There are scenes where he builds up to arguments between people (usually man and Love Interests, though I do like it when Pol and Belgarath fight the best) reaches the point where things spill over into screaming, and instead of writing fifteen pages of dialogue he writes "And things went rapidly downhill from there."
Is it lazy? Yep. Am I going to imagine a conversation fifteen times better than what he could come up with? Yep. (note to writers: this is when lazy contradicts itself.)
IS IT BETTER THAN MERRY'S CONVERSATION WITH HER MOTHER? HELL. FUCK. YES.
I would rather read sixteen books of Garion/Sparhawk clones (...and I have) than I would endure Merry talking to her mother. If I want conversation this stiff I ask my dad and stepmom political questions (Yeah. My card-carrying member of the John Birch Society Dad married a woman so liberal she donates to PETA and the Hillary Clinton election fund. She takes her nephew's toy guns away and he accuses her of infringing on the kid's second amendment rights. I bring popcorn and watch. It's kind of great)
I also don't get why LKH has to rehash every political nuance every time her characters start talking. I love politics in books. If I were to build my own pantheon, the high gods would be Julian May, David Weber and C.S. Lewis. (Stephen R. Donaldson would rule the underworld. Because he wrote the Gap series) It takes effort to make me hate politics in books. I hate the politics in the Merry Gentry books. You're the heir. I get it. You're Unseelie. I get it. You have to get pregnant and everybody hates you. I GET IT. DO something about it.
I looked at her, so carefully beautiful, so stubbornly biased. “Are you saying it would be better to be the least of all the royals at the Seelie Court, instead of ruler of the Unseelie Court?”
“Are you implying that it is better to rule in hell than be in heaven?”....first off, the word is SERVE. Not "be". SERVE. I'd spot you the paraphrase if you hadn't used up all my goodwill having your main character fuck a not-twelve-year-old.
Second: If you are going to spend pages convincing us that the pagan way is SO MUCH BETTER and that Christians and Mundanes are idiots, you do not get to quote Christian literature whenever you feel like it.
And then we come to my biggest issue with the Merry Gentry books:
“I have spent my time in the shining court, and I know that my blood is just as red on shining gold-laced marble as it is on black.”IDK how bad this is in the Anita Blake books, but with Merry Gentry, LKH came up with these special little phrases. This is one of them. That thing about "Where is my Darkness, bring me my Darkness" is another, there's two or three other ones I can't fucking remember right now. THESE PHRASES ARE IN EVERY. SINGLE. BOOK. It's like LKH has a spreadsheet of Merry Gentry words and she C and Ps the phrases in wherever she feels like it.
THIS GETS OLD.And it's not like she rephrases them. THEY ARE THE SAME FROM BOOK TO BOOK TO BOOK.
Merry then accuses her mother of being willing to let Taranis beat her to death, and then asks why it's so important she go to the ball. Because the king is asking for it. Merry basically says "fuck no" and hangs up, and the chapter ends with the mirror literally ringing off the hook while Merry walks out of the room.
Now. If you will excuse me, I have just discovered that all the Julian May books I've lost over the years are now e-books, and I'm going to go take advantage of this. Have a good night, folks. :D