Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Darynda Jones' Charley Davidson Series

I found a new series that I really like:  The Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones.  So far, I've read First Grave on the Right (Book 1),  For I Have Sinned (short story, 1.5) and Second Grave on the Left (Book 2).  The main character is Charlotte (Charley) Davidson, private investigator and grim reaper.  Charley is the only grim reaper on the planet & she is like a soul magnet.  Most souls depart for the afterlife immediately, some do not.  These souls tend to have some unfinished business, like naming the person who killed them, and Charley is there to help sort things out & assist with crossing over.  She is aided in this by her father, a retired police detective, Uncle Bob, an active police detective, and her best friend Cookie.  Aside from helping departed souls, she also takes on 'regular' cases & gets mixed up with all sorts of bad guys.  Then, there is Reyes.  A mystery man from her past who is taking on monumental significance in her present.  Reyes is her reason for being and biggest source of frustration, all at the same time.

The stories are fun & the characters are extremely likable.  Charley shows a lot of opportunity for character growth over a series & the story possibilities are numerous.  Darynda Jones has created a great basis for her series and I look forward to reading upcoming installments.  Her next offering, Third Grave Ahead, is scheduled to be released in January, 2012.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Independent Authors

Lately, I have been reading a lot of independent authors.  I think that the programs being offered by amazon & barnes & noble are an excellent way for new authors to gain exposure for their work without having to navigate the publishing house system.  I also believe that there are a lot of talented writers out there who are now able to share their work with the world and make a little money as well.  I have read some very good stories by independent authors (most at a very reasonable rate as well :) 

However, I have also been extremely disappointed by some of the works I have read.  I don't know about you, but I get very distracted by things like spelling mistakes & horrible grammar. Spell check doesn't solve everything--have someone else read your work before publishing it please!  Bad spelling can really be distracting to a reader, especially when that reader is forced to figure out what you really meant to write instead of just enjoying the story.  For example, I recently read an independently published novel where the author mentions a character wearing "heals".  Now, I know that she meant to write "heels', but the whole incident really distracted me and, believe me, this was not the only spelling debacle in the book.  Another reason to have someone else check your work before publishing is the tendency to use the same phrase over and over again--this is really annoying.  It makes your characters seem one dimensional and fake--unless the people you interact with really repeat themselves on a regular basis, try to write the way that people speak.  Also, punctuation goes a long way to making your writing clear.  I'm not an expert, but I know that too many commas or too few can seriously impact the way a sentence is read.  There is a big difference between "Let's Eat Grandma!!" and "Let's Eat, Grandma!"  And, one final thing, Twilight was a great story & a huge success, but every independently published novel doesn't need to be about supernatural teens caught in a bizarre love triangle.

Maybe I'm being overly critical, but I've stopped reading the last few books before I was finished because I was so distracted and disappointed.  I won't be reading anymore books by these authors because I can't enjoy a book, no matter how interesting the premise might be, when my reading is constantly being derailed.  Just my opinion.