Posts Tagged With: Science fiction

Book Review: Catskinner’s Book (Misha Burnett)

Today’s book review features fellow blogger and self-publisher Misha Burnett!

The Bookcastkinners book

Catskinner’s Book

The Genre

Science fiction / urban fantasy

The Author

Misha Burnett

The Plot

James Ozryck has a monster in his head.

All of his life the entity that he calls Catskinner has made him a fugitive, afraid to get too close to anyone, afraid to stay in one place for too long. Catskinner kills, without compassion and without warning, and is very good at it.

Now James has learned that Catskinner is not the only monster in the world, a world that has suddenly become a far stranger and more dangerous place than he imagined. In order to survive, he will have to become something more than a monster — he will have to learn what it means to be human.

The Review

I LOVED this book! It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s violent, it’s sexy, it’s intriguing … A+ all around! The world Burnett’s created is absolutely fascinating, and totally unlike anything I’ve read before — I honestly don’t know where he comes up with this stuff!

The protagonist, James, is enthralling — he’s a curious mix of beleaguered every-man, jailkeeper to a vicious alien entity, lonely man just trying to find his place in the world, and hired hitman. It’s bizarre. It’s wonderful.

I’m trying to think if there’s anything I didn’t like … I think the only thing that threw me was Godiva’s evolution as a character (Godiva being the love interest). When she first shows up, she comes across as extraordinarily vacuous. But by the time you get to the end of the book, she’s brilliant, resourceful, and deviously clever. It made a certain amount of sense, but I would have liked more of a gradual transition or explanation.

I highly recommend Catskinner’s Book. If you’re at all a fan of science fiction — or even urban fantasy! — I suggest you give it a try. It doesn’t fit neatly into one genre box, but … well, read it and you’ll see how great it is!

The Rating

5 out of 5 stars

 

Sound intriguing? Check out Catskinner’s Book here. The sequel — Cannibal Hearts — is also out, so click here to learn more about that!

 

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Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

One writer in search of a conclusion …

I am almost finished the first draft for the sequel to Imminent Danger — currently titled Chasing Nonconformity. It’s going really well. Eris and Varrin are up to their usual shenanigans, Miguri is fluffy and wise as ever, Grashk is doing a great job hissing at everyone, the settings are bizarre and fun, and the new characters I’ve introduced are all performing very well in their respective roles. There’s just one problem: I don’t know how to end the damn book.

I thought I had it all worked out, until I was informed that the ending I had planned was too depressing for my light-hearted series. Fair enough. So I re-worked the ending. And re-worked it again. And re-worked it again. And now I’m totally baffled.

I know I need an epic battle scene, possibly involving a chase of some sort, and lots of ridiculous one-liners thrown in at totally inappropriate moments. I have the big cliffhanger worked out, but beyond that … nada.

Watching Star Wars — Attack of the Clones last night helped. I think I’ve settled on the chase sequence, followed by a dramatic showdown at the __________ (Ha! Like I’m going to reveal that.) But I still haven’t quite worked out how they’re going to enter into said chase sequence, or how to tie up all the loose ends in the dramatic showdown. Sigh.

Any tips for conclusion-writing? I had everything worked out in Imminent Danger, but the ending for the sequel is maddeningly elusive. Any and all advice is welcome.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Writing Apocalypse Book of the Month!!! + Minor iUniverse Silliness

We’ll start with the exciting bit first. The lovely Ms. Tania L Ramos and the folks at Blackbird LSD run a website, which celebrates well-written books and the people who write them. Naturally, my book is nowhere to be found. Ha! Kidding, kidding. They were kind enough to slap Imminent Danger up on their site a few weeks ago, and to my delight, they’ve actually named it the Book of the Month for March 2013! Wooooo!

Another item of note, for anyone who lives in the vicinity of California: Blackbird LSD will be representing my book at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I will not be there in person, due to my living in the frozen wasteland that is southern Ontario, but they’ll have lots of Imminent Danger swag (bookmarks, stickers, books, etc.).

So if you’re in the LA area April 20-21, stop by booth 214 and claim your swag! Or, if you have a moral objection to the term ‘swag’, you can claim whatever you want — booty, plunder, spoils, etc. *insert pirate joke here*

In other news … some minor iUniverse silliness

I say “minor” because it isn’t a huge deal — more of a “Really, guys? Really?” 

You all know about my struggles to get my book listed under the correct genre, right? I would have thought that, at some point, a proactive iUniverse employee might have put a note on my file mentioning that the book is actually “Young Adult”, and not “Children’s Lit”, despite what the unfortunate book category might say otherwise.

This is apparently not the case. I’ve recently been corresponding with the iUniverse Publishing Programs Department, who are going to get my book into Chapters for 8 weeks as per the publishing package I purchased. So the lady I was talking to whipped up a “sell sheet”, which basically has all the relevant information about Imminent Danger that she’ll send out to the local Chapters store in my area. Here’s a screencap of the top of the sheet she sent me for approval:

sellsheetTime to play Spot the errors!

1. “Children’s” should be Young Adult or Teen.

2. “Juvenile” should be Young Adult or Teen.

3. Romance is fine, but Sci-Fi should really be first. Also, who ever heard of a romance book for children? Is that a thing?

4. Fantasy is just wrong — maybe stick Romance here instead?

On the plus side, they definitely got “Fiction” right. Three cheers for iUniverse! I shall inform them today of their amusingly incorrect first attempt, and advise them on how to actually make it accurate on their second go.

Update: The iUniverse lady was very prompt and professional, and said there was no problem changing the genre to Fiction / Teen / Sci-fi / Romance. So points to iUniverse for fixing this problem ASAP!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

I want to live here …

Categories: iUniverse, My Works | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Purchasing My Own Book — The Smart Way, and the iUniverse Way

As I promised yesterday, today I bring you the latest silliness from iUniverse. You’re actually very lucky, because I have not one, but two bits of silliness to share with you today. Ready?

Silliness #1: Incorrect Genre Classification

This one is probably a clerical error, but it’s a very silly, uniquely iUniverse error. Imminent Danger is a YA sci-fi book. That’s not a particularly difficult genre to remember, right? And yet, the vast majority of online retailers do not have it listed as YA sci-fi. It’s either children’s lit, or fantasy, or … God, I don’t even know.

This is a direct result of iUniverse mis-reporting the genre when they initially sent out my book back in January. As I find these incorrect genres, I send iUniverse a note asking them to fix it. And they’re happy to do it … with a 6-8 week processing time for the changes to take effect. Really? 6-8 weeks? I’m fairly confident that if I had direct control over my book, I could just pop onto the Amazon site, change the genre setting, and have it resolved within ten minutes.

So silliness #1 is iUniverse failing to submit my book under the correct genre, and then taking forever and a day to fix it. Sigh.

Update March 4, 2013: I just got a call from iUniverse, asking if my genre classification issue had been resolved. I explained the situation, and the lady was very helpful. She said that she would look into the problem and make sure that all the retailers have the correct genre information. So yay to iUniverse for following through!

Silliness #2: Overpriced Author-Discounted Books

When you publish a book, you want physical copies in hand to be able to hawk to passersby. iUniverse offers authors special discounts on buying books, which is basically the list price minus your author royalties, with a higher percentage off the list price based on how many copies you buy at a time. That last sentence probably made no sense. Here’s the table I whipped up to figure out how much my hardcover books will cost, per unit, purchased from iUniverse:

hardcover pricingI wanted about 50 hardcover to start off with. 50 hardcover, as you can see, works out to $20.77 per unit. Bear with me.

Chapters.Indigo.ca recently put out a 10% discount coupon for their site. The hardcover of Imminent Danger is listed at $23.72 — $22.53 with my member discount card. ((Note that the book cover is still not shown on this site — this will also take 6-8 weeks for iUniverse to “fix”)).

Now, I get approximately $3 per hardcover sold in royalties. So. 50 books from iUniverse at $20.77 + shipping = $1181.19. 50 books from Chapters.Indigo.ca at $22.53 (plus 10% discount), minus ~150 for royalties I’ll get back, plus free shipping, plus tax = ~$995 (give or take).

That’s about $200 in savings by ordering books from Chapters.Indigo.ca instead of the company that’s producing the darn things. 

Plus there’s the weird side effect that those sales will actually count towards Imminent Danger’s sales ranking on Chapters.Indigo.ca. Not what I intended, but … I guess a higher ranking isn’t something to complain about, right?

Now, to be fair, I did contact iUniverse to see if my calculations were correct, because I couldn’t believe that such a thing would be possible. The very nice gentleman I spoke with ran through the calculations with me, and concluded that, yes, it would be cheaper to buy them from a third-party source. He offered to give me a slightly higher discount, but with the cost of shipping, Chapters.Indigo.ca still worked out as being cheaper.

Silly, iUniverse. Very silly.

The only reason I can think they wouldn’t bend over backward to convince authors to buy directly from them is if they make the same amount of money off each book regardless of where the book is bought from. That seems like a strange business plan to me — buying direct from the source should always be cheaper, shouldn’t it? And it is cheaper if, as you’ll see in the above chart, you buy 250+ books. But who has that kind of money? I certainly don’t.

In conclusion …

iUniverse continues to be delightfully silly. I’m not too miffed with them, because I don’t think the incorrectly filed genre is going to hurt me too much over the next few weeks (hopefully), and I did find a way around their bizarre pricing scheme. I’ve actually started to really enjoy seeing what silliness they come up with next.

The next step in fulfilling my contract is getting my book into a local Chapters store for 8 weeks. I’m sure there’ll be lots of silliness involved with that. Stay tuned!

Unrelated video of the day:

Get ready for the crazy.

In Japan, there is a pop star named Hatsune Miku who is entirely computer generated — voice, appearance, everything. And she’s insanely popular. Here’s the wikipedia page on her. Here’s a video of her live, in concert … despite her not actually being alive. I believe holograms are involved.

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

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