Archive | May 2016

When Your Teenage Son Reads Your Novel… and Critiques!

I have a fourteen year old son. He normally does not read fiction, and prefers non-fiction history books, or anything he sees on the internet, versus picking up a book. Fantasy and supernatural are not topics he likes, because “they are not real life.”

Book # 1 in the series

Book # 1 in the series

So, when he said he wanted to read Book #1 in my Kelsey Porter series, well, I was concerned. First, it’s a bit of a sexy theme and there’s violence. My son really despises “the sexuality of America.” The Kardashians and Miley Cyrus’s of the world confuse him. So I wasn’t sure how he’d like this novel. But, he said that he’d like to “see what it is that I’ve been doing all this time and was interested in the historical Buddhist aspects of these thrillers.”

So, I agreed to let him read it, as long as we discuss it chapter by chapter. So, that’s what we’ve been doing and it’s so nerve-racking I can’t tell you. He goes to his room, reads a chapter and then comes in and says “Ok, I’m ready to give you my synopsis of what happened in that chapter and then my critique.” Oh, did I mention he gives my book an overall rating at the end of this discussion, using the 5.0 scale and that I fluctuate on this scale based on how he felt about the chapter? Yes, that’s what I mean about nerve-racking.

To give a little background, these books are about Kelsey Porter, a young, beautiful woman who is on the hunt for her parents’ killers, who were murdered on their quest to find the mystical land of Xanadu. The series is steeped in Buddhist spiritual mysteries, all based on real lore, but I do twist the facts at times for my book’s needs.

This is my view of Kelsey Porter. My son is on the fence about this.

This is my view of Kelsey Porter. My son is on the fence about this.

I would say that he’s understood 90% of what he’s read, so I will correct or explain some things that were confusing. I have been ordered not to explain too much, lest I give away spoilers. So far he has said “it’s very well written and some of the chapters are really interesting.” When that happens, my rating is usually at a 4.5, or some moments the coveted 5.0. Of course, there have been moments that I’ve been demoted to a 4.0 for “excessive use of flashbacks, expositional prose (I didn’t even know what that meant at the time) and making my boy characters too cliché.” I, of course, ask for explanation.

You see, Kelsey is a very sexual being, without being loose, but because of who she is, there’s this undercurrent where people are drawn to her. Yes, I make her beautiful with large bosoms, and my son was not impressed with that entire concept, though he’s giving me the benefit of the doubt as I’ve explained it’s a very true point to the plot.

He’s about 60% through and is digging the amount of research I’ve put into this. He says “it shows” and that as a result the book is now sitting at a 4.5 though “Mom, you can’t be upset if you drop points of course.”

Well, of course not. (shhhh… that’s just what I say!).

UH OH: He just came in and told me he didn’t like a chapter for the first time. He said, “the content was fine but it was too generic and scripted.” I had to ask what he meant. He said “it felt like you made the villain too stereotypical and were throwing around difficult concepts like astral projection too casually.” (wow, I actually thought this was a great, pivotal chapter in the book) My ranking strangely did not drop, though he had to think about it for some time to come to that decision.

Fingers crossed for the rest of the book as the threads are all starting to come together and he’s going to be delving into territory that is not a normal read for him. By the way, did I mention he found a spelling error? I spelled locales, “locals,” and I capitalized something that shouldn’t have been. Sigh… thankfully my rating did not drop because of that, either.

Want to read along with him? Here’s the link to all three books in the series! Enjoy!

Book #1 THE HUNT FOR XANADU
AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

Book #2 THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1EvXExO
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1JSRNqT

Book #3 THE CALL OF MOUNT SUMERU
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1SUskAv
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1nPF6TO

Kelsey Porter thriller series

Kelsey Porter thriller series

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Preparing for my May 4th Library Talk

Shelter Rock's Flyer for me

Shelter Rock’s Flyer for me

At 7:00 pm on May 4th I’m going to be doing an author chat at Shelter Rock Library. This will be the third time I’ve been invited back to speak there. One of the reasons is that they have a special writing group with teens and adults interested in publishing and when I speak, I give them a very honest assessment about my journey from being with a small publishing house, to once having a pretty big time agent, to self publishing.

They’ve given me a bunch of questions to discuss, such as:

What inspires you to write?
When did you first start writing?
What advice you would give to young writers?
How you market yourself as a writer?
Trends in writing such as Fan Fiction, e-books etc. Have they helped you as a writer?
Who are your favorite authors?
Your novels seem to be moving into darker territory- do you see yourself writing in a particular genre in the future or mixing genres? What is the theme of Brothers Karov?
Why do you think series are so popular with teens and adults?

I’ve put out an events notice on FB, promoted it on a lot of local FB groups (which I’ll do again just a day or two before), but I never quite know how many people will show up. My first one there had seventeen people, the second one just three teens. When I only had three people, I had them all come to the front of the room and we simply sat near each other on chairs and had a real heart to heart.

If you live in the area and would like to attend, the address is:

Shelter Rock Library
165 Searingtown Road
Albertson, NY
516-248-7363

The back of the bookmark has Douglas Preston's review!

The back of the bookmark has Douglas Preston’s review!

I made some really cool little bookmarks to give away this time and I’ll have all three books in my newest series, along with a bunch of others. I don’t usually sell a lot of books at these events, as it’s more for the experience. But, while I’ll have everything I want to discuss, it’s really going to depend on attendance and the age group of who attends. I love getting asked questions, so hopefully people will come with some (that I can actually answer! LOL!)

Fingers crossed and I’ll post pictures. Now, to figure out what to wear!