Reviewer Can’t Wait for Sequel

Jane Cairns, the person behind the Mystery Reviews + Writing blog, reviewed The Mark of the Spider, Book 1 of the Black Orchid Chronicles.

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She calls it ” a good beginning to this supernatural series” and says:

I look forward to reading the second installment and learning the ongoing fate of Arnett, Campion and T.

You can read the entire review here.

Progress on the Sequel

The rewrite of Flight of the Spider: Book 2 of the Black Orchid Chronicles is almost done, despite accidentally destroying the manuscript once and discovering 10 pages of material I intended to remove still survived.

I’ve deleted 98 pages of material, dropping the word count from about 76,500 to around 73,000.

That translates into rewriting about 100 pages of the original.

I promised to deliver the completed manuscript to beta reviewers on Feb. 1. Yeah, I didn’t make that deadline. It’s looking more like mid-February. (More on the value of beta readers later.)

Once I hear back from the betas — they get four weeks to read and report — I’ll know when it will be ready to publish.

BTW, I’ve already written 200 pages on Book 3 of the Black Orchid Chronicles, tentatively entitled “Spider’s Revenge.”

 

 

Awards Judge: Hotel Constellation A ‘Fascinating Memoir’

Writer’s Digest informed me that my Viet-Nam era memoir, Hotel Constellation: America’s Secret War in Laos, missed the top prize for memoirs in its 2018 self-published book awards.

But it did give me a heckuva good writeup as a consolation prize. The judge called it “a fascinating memoir written by a seasoned writer.

Hotel Constellation got a 5 — the highest rating on a scale of 0-5 — on five of the six criteria judged. It stumbled on “Plot and Story Appeal,” which I grant is a really important factor. It rated a 4 out of 5.

Here is what a judge of the 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards wrote: (This is the complete review, unedited except to correct the spelling of the name, Branfman.)

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Hotel Constellation opens with a good self-description of a stubborn young man absolutely bent on going to Vietnam, obsessed with entering the country and studying for a year at the Buddhist University in Saigon. He arrives in September of 1970. The level of danger involved in his enterprise, for which he has prepared for an entire year, can be seen in his father’s taking out a $5,000 life insurance policy on his own son. Mr. Haase Sr. knew he would not be able to afford to ship his son’s cadaver back should anything go wrong. Wrong, in fact, was how things went from the first moment Haase disembarked from the plane. He ended up being shipped off to Bangkok, from which place he worked on finding a way back in to Vietnam. I really felt for the author’s frustrations in Laos. The story about Branfman forced departure from Laos is interesting, especially when the reader considers it might have been engineered by the U.S. Embassy. The author explains a great deal about the Meo people. He also shows that he had a most original life in Laos. It is ironic, however, that he felt things were happening everywhere except where he was. I like the pictures: they bring a nitty gritty ethos to the memoir, none more convincingly than the shot of the author interviewing Jane Fonda on the tarmac of Wattay Airport in July of 1972. I liked the reasons the narrator gives for his going to Vietnam—to prove to his father that he was “not a coward, not afraid to face war just because [he] opposed this one” (251). This is a fascinating memoir written by a seasoned writer who shows that our ideals at 20 influence choices that impact us for a lifetime and may, as in the case of Haase, give us rare perspective.

Thanks to Writers Digest and congratulations to all of the self-published winners.


Hotel Constellation is available in ebook and paperback formats.

Get your ebook now at: Amazon | AppleBarnes & Noble | Kobo | ScribdSmashwords

Also available in paperback at Amazon.

BUY THE PAPERBACK, GET THE EBOOK FREE!

Kirkus Calls ‘Mark of the Spider’ “Engaging”

More precisely, Kirkus Reviews said The Mark of the Spider is:

An engaging thriller that successfully explores the implications of a wicked curse.

The way I parse that, The Mark of the Spider is not just engaging, but thrilling, successful and wicked.

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And I’m pretty sure that line violates the Kirkus excerpting policies.

To avoid an encounter with the Excerpting Police, I send you to the entire review on the Kirkus Reviews Web site.

For those not familiar with Kirkus, it is an “American book review magazine” founded in 1933. In 2005, it allowed Indie authors to purchase a review meeting all their standard review criteria. There is no guarantee the reviewer will like the book. And there are no refunds.

So I’ll take “engaging” any day.

If you haven’t engaged with The Mark of the Spider yet, hie yourself over to Amazon and pick up an ebook or trade print edition. If you order the print version, you get the ebook free. What an “engaging” deal.