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I didn’t know anything about Donna Migliaccio (or her publisher, Fiery Seas Publishing) or The Gemeta Stone books that she writes. I stumbled on them quite accidentally while chatting about nonrelated items on a forum over at Absolute Write and Migliaccio was kind enough to send me a review copy for my Inside the Inkwell blog.
Comparatively speaking it felt like a splendid mix of RA Salvatore and Christopher Paolini. Whereas Salvatore can read stylistically like a fantasy version of Stephen King (for all the pros and cons there) Paolini can sometimes keep on point and keep it short—perhaps to a fault. Migliaccio’s writing is a good mix and keeps the story moving nicely but the worldbuilding feels more smooth and established, like Salvatore.
It had some elements that give it a YA feel, but also some that seemed more like it targeted a mainstream market; by that I mean there is a kind of coming of age in the characters as they discover their inner strengths and overcome Daazna (who is a real jerk—so that’s a good bit of characterization by the author.) That said, general lovers of fantasy would be a good fit for Kinglet and the upcoming sequel in the Gemeta Stone series.
When I was in 7th grade one of my teachers commented, “Reading is so important that, if all he would read is comic books, I’d buy my son a subscription to every title he wanted. It’s the foundation to everything.” A few years prior I’d gotten into comics when my grandmother gave me a box of classic golden-age titles she pulled out of storage. It certainly opened my mind to new worlds.
My crowd-funder is meant to do the same thing–inspire other readers by giving away a free comic book. The comic book, being developed by myself and my art team, is an original “one-shot” comic and a prequel to my Wolf of the Tesseract series. I’ve got agreements with 6+ local comicons who want to distribute a total of 5,000-10,000 copies of this for free to people–especially to young readers.
I’m launching this fundraiser to 1. encourage child/teen literacy by getting something in front of a specific, targeted audience and 2. promote my YA fiction series. The crossover from comics to the novel will be easy because the comic sets the stage and action that occurs in the novel and encouraging teens to read larger, print books is my ultimate goal!
The Kickstarter campaign is not meant as a money-making vehicle. The funds raised are only a portion of the costs necessary to develop, print, ship, and distribute 5,000 copies of the comic book; $2,500 is not a significant sum, but I’m only trying to cover enough of the actual cost to put books in kids’ hands; once we exceed that amount, additional funds will go towards purchasing more printed copies and paying for a stretch goal. I’ve already committed to paying the art team from my own pocket and cover artist Rebecca Alexander donated her art as a favor!
Lots happened over the weekend. I did my writing and blogging and then I used a vacation day I’d banked a while back to get out and film a set of television interviews which will run in the Twin Cities . I also sat with a blogger and recorded a podcast that day and finalized a book signing for Barnes & Nobles in St. Cloud. The big thing for me, however, is the huge comicon coming up this weekend. Come on out and chill with me at Wizard World Minneapolis (if you still need tickets, get them online and use coupon code AUTHOR to get 20% off).
My other big iron in the fire is the comic book I’m producing as a prequel to Wolf of the Tesseract. It will be done by the end of June and I’m planning to give away between 5,000 and 10,000 copies at different comicons I will attend in the upper Midwest (MN and the surrounding states). I’ve got agreements in place for distribution (“first 1,000 convention attendees” will get a free comic at the door kinda thing). Now, I’ve just got to crowd fund the rest of the costs. It’s actually pretty low for a comicbook kickstarter—I’ve just got to get the word out there as broad as possible later this week when I launch. (If you’re an author and want an advert for your book, we’re talking thousands of readers with targeted marketing for pretty cheap! Contact me for info!
I did realize that if my current novel will be done on time I’m going to need to speed up my writing from one chapter per week to two for the rest of the month. That should be possible. I usually accelerate on the homestretch anyway. I’ll try for two chapters this week but commit to one and see how it goes (especially once I launch the comic promo.)
Okay. You’re going to have to stick with this review of Prison Made of Mirrors, which I really do think is a little hidden diamond on the bookshelf—but it might not sound like it at first.
I was kind of eager to read it because I really did like the cover (even though it’s not much more than an obvious stock photo with some runes overlaid with light transparency—but it works because of the sense of story it conjures.) I was a little surprised when it arrived in such a small package; it’s actually a novella . That’s neither here nor there, just something I hadn’t really recognized… that means it’s a faster read: like a long lunch break if you read fast.
What I didn’t like:
The story doesn’t really start until chapter three. I was a little discouraged immediately when the opening paragraph was an obvious info dump to establishing the setting. There were also some grammar errors that should’ve been caught (like an unfinished sentence which started and then a new one with capitalized word began—like the author might’ve accidentally deleted a section during reedit but didn’t have a proofreader to catch the error,) and some inconsistencies with terms that didn’t really get explained. In fact, I almost gave up since Ch2 was still talking about irrelevant people and not the main character. But I’m glad I didn’t give up and the beginning makes more sense when read below (and it gets easier when the 1st two chapters worth of “narrator voice” goes away and the story really begins).
What I liked:
The first moment I really started to like the book was when Queen Aithne’s personality began to come out (not her traits—it’s easy to write about someone, less easy to make them alive)—she suddenly began to feel like Game of Throne’s Cerci, or Vikings’ Aslog. I guess I’d figured the book would be mostly passive and, knowing the Viking content, thought maybe the author was going for a story as if told by a skald at a bonfire. …but Aithne isn’t likeable and so it didn’t hook me yet. Then there was a werewolf. I’m in. Vikings + werewolves basically guarantees I’m going to read it through.
While the main character isn’t a werewolf, I was starting to enjoy the story more and really liked the Dvergar whom Brenna (the MC) met at the mid-point. I don’t know why I didn’t realize it until then, but I recognized that this is a retelling of Snow White set in a Scandinavian/Viking backdrop. The waxing passivity of the first two chapters made sense when I realized the author was writing as if this were a dark Disney movie set in a parallel kingdom to Ragnar Lothbrook—the first two chapters are that little snippet of film thrown out to lay a framework right before the main Title Screen flashes across the screen. I think it would’ve worked better as a prologue, in that sense, but it’s not my book. Maybe I figured it out later than most people… I dunno, but it made the issues I had initially with the book uncomfortable rather than unforgiveable.
Another thing I liked was the Loring, once the stage was set, maintained consistency in the world (outside of those few inconsistencies early on) and things like names and terms or an obviously Nordic origin (even alternate/archaic spellings such as dvergar versus duregar) really gave the story a well-crafted atmosphere; she did not break the setting by trying to force it either (like annunciating accents into the speech—I hate that so much, and she avoided that trap).
Busy day, busy weekend. I did finish my chapter while on the road this weekend. I also have a new page in the comic done which makes me glad. Looking at upcoming weeks and I’m pretty slammed. I’m hoping to get chapter 11 written in WotT2: Through the Darque Gates of Koth and maybe get my newly contracted manuscript its final facelift before it gets sent off to the publisher. Other than that, I am still taking submissions for Tuesday book reviews, but you may have noticed I didn’t post one last week and won’t again this week—just too little time for reading over this couple week busy period.
It was a good week for writing. Rainy and overcast for the later half it helped set the tone, I suppose. The first part of the week, however, was super nice which made it difficult for a variety of reasons.
I think I wrote 3 1/2 chapters this week on WotT2. They were full of intense action and so it came easy. I also signed a publishing contract on my Christian nonfiction devo/humor book. The submissions editors loved my cartoons which I added as filler and so I spent much time over the weekend rescanning and tweaking a dozen of them so they could be included in the final product.
Late last night I also got an email with pencil work on page 4 of my comic book, so I’m also excited about that. I’m hoping for early summer!
The largest brick and mortar retailer of Christian books and merchandise is closing its door after eightyfive years. I wonder how much of that is related to the fact that the term “Brick and Mortar” is actually a thing. Basically, they couldn’t keep step with the pace of the world (technology, trends, etc.) especially in regards to selling a product in the age of POD, Indies, and online distribution. I think theirs is a lesson for both book sellers and Christians in general–if we aren’t alive, active, and walking within the ebb and flow of the world at large we will become stagnant, irrelevant, and die. The Bible would talk about this as being salty vs. being worthless. I’ll stop preaching now, but that’s in my nature.
What does their closing mean for writers? I think it shows a bunch of things–Indie authors may have an easier time in online venues where the purchasers of books will be pushed to, but it means the burden to prove your legitimacy is even higher as the market might swell some. I think it may also bode well for mom and pop faith-based retail stores. Other, smaller chains may feel it’s okay to drop franchise titles and be independent in the future. Overall, I’m not sure how I feel about FCS’s closing.I’m at least a little discouraged (if a big player like them can’t make it, what kind of chance do I have? …and then I think of books like Twilight or 50 Shades and realize my chances might be fine.)