August 16

Is it logical to expect logic in a fantasy?

The-Enchantress-thesecrets-of-the-immortal-nicholas-flamel-202x300  I just finished the 6th and final book of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott—The Enchantress. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it. Just be prepared—you may not find the ending very satisfying!

The series is named Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, but it’s really about 16-year-old twins, Sophie and Josh Newman, who inadvertently get caught up in Nicholas and his wife, Perenelle’s, battle to stop the dark elders (a race who populated the earth before humans) from returning to earth and wiping out the human race. The twins have unique auras of gold and silver, which give them special powers and which is why they are enlisted to help fight the dark elders. The entire series is action packed and a fun read. It quickly immerses you in the many worlds Scott created and into the lives of a ton of characters—many with unpronounceable name such as Quetzalcoatl, Xolotl and Huitzilopochtli. I personally don’t like it when I come across a name I can’t pronounce in a book. It zaps me right out of the story.  If you choose to read this series, just be aware that they need to be read in order, for the storyline builds and continues from one to the next.

Now for the not so good stuff: I would give this series a solid 5-star rating right up to ¾ of the way through book 6. That’s when it all came to a screeching halt for me. Book 6 is basically one giant build up to the climax, wrapping up the other 5 books in a nice tidy bow. I can imagine Mr. Scott was looking for an OMG kind of reaction to the ending, but for me it was more of a “huh? Are you kidding?” There were SO many inconsistencies I felt scammed. I admit I’m a freak about details and wanting things to be logical—yes, even in a fantasy world there can be logic to how things work and what people can and can’t do—but for the author to change facts and truths at the end just to wrap up the story, facts and truths that he so painstakingly drummed into my head for 5 ¾ books, makes me feel like it was all one big con. And I don’t like that feeling. Here is just one example of what I’m talking about: **This is a SPOILER ALERT warning for those who want to read this series** From the very beginning of the series we learn that Sophie and Josh are twins. And like many twins they have exquisite connections that only twins can have, i.e. being able to finish the other’s sentences, knowing what the twin is going to say before they say it, feeling the other twin’s pain, and so on. All 6 books reiterated the fact that these twins had an unusual and exceptional tie to one another. Then we learn at the end that, oh no, they aren’t actually twins. They aren’t even blood relation—Josh was born to a Neanderthal family 30,000 years before Sophie! (Although Josh is described to be a very attractive boy and has none of the Neanderthal features) Really?? **END SPOILER ALERT**

That is just one example of the many twists that made no sense. It would take me pages to go into all of the inconsistencies and impossibilities that made me say, “Wait a minute!” And Mr. Scott is an acclaimed author! So now I’m wondering, do fantasies need to be feasible? I write fantasy because I love the idea of other worlds, other races, magic … every aspect that is a part of a fantasy. I spend hours (actually more like days) figuring out the logic of how something works or how a specific thing could happen in my world. I know I can do anything I want, put my characters in and out of any situation—it’s my imaginary world. But it feels like cheating if there isn’t some logic behind what does or doesn’t happen. I know I can be a little anal about details (ok, maybe a lot anal), but if a character can do all these amazing things in one chapter and then not in the next, I want there to be a reason why. Am I alone in this? It sure would make my job as a writer a lot easier if I am!!

MJ

August 5

Proud to be an Indie Author

The publishing world is changing—there’s no denying it any longer, and a lot of people (namely agents and the big publishing companies) are worried and fighting like crazy to stop it from doing so. I kind of get that. For years I refused to even entertain the notion of self-publishing or going to ebooks. I was like them and adamant that it would ruin the future of reading. I held a one woman boycott of ereaders and all electronic apps for reading. But no matter how hard I tried to hold onto the traditional publishing theology, the world around me was moving on and traditional publishing was becoming a dinosaur.

This is the way it has been since the beginning of time, actually—change is necessary for progress. So why should the publishing industry be any different? That epiphany hit me one day at a writers’ conference, as I was listening to Barry Eisler, a NY Times best-selling author. He talked about the new wave of ‘indie publishing’ that was sweeping the nation and for the first time it made sense. It also made me think back to my experience with a small traditional publisher—it was … let’s just say it was less than stellar. In fact, I hated almost every part of it. There were tears over the way the editor was changing my story, there was frustration at the cover art and illustrations that I had no say over, the fight to get my book marketed at all—does any of that sound like fun? Remembering that, I finally asked myself, “Why would I want to do it again?”

So like many millions of other people in the world, I went out and brought myself a Kindle. And you know what? I actually love it! Me, the person who fought so hard to hold onto my paperbacks, loves the Kindle! Don’t get me wrong—I still like my paperbacks, and still buy them, but not like I used to. And since many of the ebooks are cheaper (I mean, why shouldn’t they be? There is no printing cost involved), people are reading more.

The publishing world is no longer ‘changing,’ it has changed, and it’s not a bad thing. The door has opened to many, many writers who aren’t celebrities and never had a chance with the big publishing conglomerates. And I’m one of them! I’ve become an Indie Author and I’m proud of it. Life is good and exciting things are yet to come. Hang on—it’s going to be a GREAT ride!