“Beastly Bones” by William Ritter Review

Disclaimer: I listened to the audiobook version of this book.

Beastly Bones (Jackaby, #2)Beastly Bones by William Ritter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had forgotten how much I loved this series, but I was once again reminded as I listened to this audio book. I absolutely LOVE this series.

This book takes place shortly after the events of “Jackaby” and Jackaby and Miss Rook have a new case that pulls them into Rook’s preferred profession of paleontology. As someone who wanted to be a paleontologist the first time she watched “Jurassic Park”, I fell in love with the story. There were creatures that mimic their prey and take on the body and shape of the creature they eat. There were missing dinosaur bones (that may or may not) be a dinosaur at all. There were mysterious strangers with odd auras. It was a conglomeration of events that all built upon one another and it was amazing.

Once more, I listened to the audio book (as I did the first), and I loved it in this form. The first reason is that they seem to be written in a way as to be accounts of events after they have already happened. Once more a chapter was left out and noted as well. “The contents of [insert chapter] have been removed from the record…” This isn’t an exact quote, but the gist of what is mentioned, and I smiled when I heard it because I had forgotten that the same was done with the first book until I heard it once more. It’s an odd thing to occur in a book, but it works for this series, and I love that it was once more included (and I hope to see it in future books).

All-in-all, this is a great read. I love the characters. I love the relationship Abigail Rook has with Jackaby, her boss, and how he’s awkward (he doesn’t think he is, but he is a strange man) but there are no romantic feelings between the two. It’s refreshing because in a lot of what I read these days there is a romance between co-workers, and it’s nice to see that there’s NO relationship beyond that of work-related between the two main characters of this series.

That said, there is a bit of a budding romance between Miss Rook and the Charlie, the cop we met in the first book, but it’s slow and (again) awkward, and not the emphasis of the book. The main focus is on the mystery and the case, and I loved that the romance did not take the forefront.

There are a lot of new characters in this book, but I was pleasantly surprised and reminiscent with seeing some of the same characters from the first book appear as well. It was like greeting an old friend, and I loved it.

Can you tell I loved this book?

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Long Books Or Short Books?

0000HelloDragonlings!

Do you like short books or long books? Do you want something like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, or do you want Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin?

Me? I actually prefer shorter books. And stand alone novels. Maybe I’m weird, but that’s what I like – a mouthful of story I can read in a short period of time. I think that’s why I like short stories so much.

I’m also discovering that’s what I like to write as well. I am looking over the plots of several “novels” I have planned out, and if my word counts for those outlines come out anything like the books I’ve finished in the past, they will not be novels, but novellas.

And while most people wouldn’t like that, I’m finding I’m OK with it. I don’t want to write really long novels. I want to write shorter novels (novellas). Like The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton or Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut or any of the Harliquin romance novels. I want to be writing the stories that someone who doesn’t usually read can read in a couple of days and those who read all the time can read in a couple of hours.

These are the kinds of stories that make me happy usually. It’s actually been one of my biggest complaints about some of the romance novels I’ve read and even some of the fantasy ones too. Some of them have a lot of material I feel could have been cut and it would still be a compelling story, albeit a lot shorter.

I find that a lot of my first drafts are between 30-40K, and then I work through them to add more, but I don’t really want to do that. This is what I was trying to do with Hunters’ Betrayal and it fought be every step of the way until I gave in and made it a novella. Then, and only then, did everything finally click into place and then I did the same with Warren’s Rage and Scott’s Investigation.

Instead of trying to increase my word count, I want to try just strengthening and tightening the writing I have and publish shorter works.

What do you think? Do you like longer novels or shorter novels? Why (or why not)? Let me know below.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

2017 NaNoWriMo Update #2

0000HelloDragonlings!

NaNoWriMo is over in about three days. Yeah. It’s happening… *internal screaming*

I’ve actually won, but I did so working on multiple different projects, and while I’d planned on working on two projects, other projects reared their heads and demanded to be worked on.

First, the stats!

2017NaNoWriMoWinner

Next, the projects!

Mages’ Sacrifice (Shifters & Mages, book 4)
Nicky, head of the Council, has betrayed them, but before any of them can get their hands on her, she vanishes and no one, not even Myles, can find her. Puck is preparing for what feels like will be the final battle against the Hunters, but her mage-partner, Cassie, seems to be hiding something from her, and if she can’t figure out what it is before it’s too late, it could be the end of everything as they know it.

“Solace” (a Moon Blessed story)
When Brijit, a serving maid, seeks solace at the fountain one evening, she meets K’la, a gargoyle and lone guardian of the castle. They strike up a quick friendship, but betrayal threatens their friendship when Lord Devin learns of the gargoyle and seeks her assistance in taking over the throne.

Broken Laws (Werelings, book 2)
Clara is a filmographer hired to follow a triathlon star as she trains for her next big race, but when she’s pulled over and accused of stalking, her world takes a turn for the worst. Braden is different than the rest of the werelings in his Pack. An officer of human law first and a follower of Pack laws second, he has trouble following the rules of his people when his brother pulls a heinous stunt in human laws that’s perfectly allowable in Pack laws.

Lastly, updates!

Shifters & Mages series

I am unhappy with this series overall. I’ve been getting writing done. Heck, Puck’s Choice is ready for publication as soon as I get a cover for it. However, the rest of the series is in shambles. Why? Because I keep cutting pieces from one book to put in another. (This is why I originally wanted Puck’s Choice to be a friggin’ stand-alone. *growls*)

Development of the series has changed over the years. Originally, it was a stand-alone, and then Jenna popped up her head and said, “Hey! What about me?!?” so I turned it into a series that was supposed to have five books. Then it turned into three novels and three novellas. Now, it looks like it’s changing again.

Yes… again…

The more I tried to work in a Hunter subplot for Jenna’s Story, the more I felt like I was just adding fluff to thicken it from novella length to novel length, and I hated it. So, I took out that subplot and I’ll be turning it into another novella.

That means the Shifters & Mages series will end up being two novels and four novellas. *headdesk* Seriously? Seriously, series? I mean, come on!

On top of that, I decided that I’d take out the dual personalities of Hunters’ Betrayal as well. It started off in Rand’s perspective, flipped back to before the Salem Witch Trials to Michael’s perspective, and finally back again, but now it’s just in Michael’s perspective. That said, the length of the novellas are changing. There were supposed to be three novellas, all around 25,000 words, but I felt like I was forcing Warren’s Rage to be that length, and now I can breathe again, because I feel like I can cut a lot of fluff from it now.

At the moment, after all these edits, the works are sitting at the following progresses:

  • Puck’s Choice (73K) – ready for publication
  • Jenna’s Story (53K) – needs complete re-write
  • Warren’s Rage (26K) – needs edit
  • Hunters’ Betrayal (17K) – needs edit
  • Scott’s Investigation (17K) – needs complete re-write
  • Mages’ Sacrifice (38K) – writing first draft

There’s a lot of differences in all those word counts. I have a feeling that when I finish the re-writes of Jenna’s Story and Scott’s Investigation, they’ll end up being around 20K or so. There’s a lot of things I think could be dropped from Jenna’s Story, and thanks to some ideas I had for the end of Hunters’ Betrayal, I need to cut a lot from it in order to make it make sense with the rest of the series.

Basically, I have my work cut out for me, and I have to play Doctor Frankenstein for a bit. I’m starting to understand what P. T. Wyant means when she talks about cutting and splicing and editing her multi-book (I think it’s up to thirteen novels) series. I’m so glad I don’t have that many books in this series. I’m struggling with the ones I have.

Because, let’s face it, this is a bit disheartening. I thought I was nearly done with the series, and… I’m not. Can I get done in the time I wanted to? That’s a good question… I’m not sure.

That said, I’m leaving my release dates up in the air now. I don’t know when the series will be ready for editing because I don’t know when the next book will be ready for edits. Because I don’t know when they’ll be ready for edits, I don’t know when they’ll be ready for publication. *le sigh*

Wereling Trilogy

This is a series I’ve been keeping hush-hush since I switched to this site. It was something I wanted to start a couple of years ago based off a short story I wrote… so long ago I can’t remember when.

Packless
I have a cover for this and a basic blurb and outline for this novella. I’m not certain how long it will be, but the goal is to be between 20-45K. This will be based on ancient Greek times and features Aesop.

Broken Laws
I started writing this one for NaNoWriMo this year, and currently, it’s sitting at 35K. I’m not happy with the direction it took, and I need it to end a certain way to flow into the next book. I expect the re-written version will be anywhere from 35K-45K. This is the only title in the series I don’t have a cover for, but I’m working on it.

Wereling
This is basically a re-write of the original short story with more character development and more backstory. It’s going to be the last in the trilogy, and I also expect it to be somewhere between 35-45K, but I already have a cover for it, so once it’s done, I’ll be ready to publish.

Moon Blessed

This is the LGBT anthology I wanted to hand-write during NaNoWriMo. I worked on it the first two days, but then didn’t the rest of the month. I do plan on finishing them in handwritten form before typing them up, but for now, they’re still on the to-do list.

  • Changeling – ready for anthology inclusion
  • Solace – writing first draft
  • Moonlight Dance – need to write
  • – need to write

Since I already have a cover for this anthology, I just need to write, edit and publish this anthology, and I’m hoping to do that some time in 2018. Guess that means I need to get to work.

I have gotten a lot done this month, but I also have a lot of work to do. Bring it on.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

2017 NaNoWriMo Update #1

0000HelloDragonlings!

I don’t have an update for Shifters & Mages this week because NaNoWriMo is going on. I promise that I’ll have an update on it after NaNoWriMo is over, although you will see a bit about it below.

I’ve been doing really well this year for NaNoWriMo. Like… REALLY well. I’m switching between multiple projects still, but I added a new one compared to the one I mentioned I would be doing here. Not only that but I wrote a quick short D&D module after we played some D&D the first Saturday. Lots of projects. Per usual.

I’m in love with all the projects this year, and I feel confident about, not only NaNoWriMo, but about my plan to finish my projects as well.

I’ve been doing a TON of sprints with writers from all over the world in various time zones, and finding it immensely fun to get all the words out. There’s also been some live write-ins as well, which have helped me put in my words.

So, I’m winning NaNoWriMo because my word count is up above where it should be, but even more important than that, I am getting projects done and getting them done by the schedule I’ve set for myself.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How are you doing this year?

2017 November Chart 1

Mages’ Sacrifice

Nicky, head of the Council, has betrayed them, but before any of them can get their hands on her, she vanishes and no one, not even Myles, can find her. Puck is preparing for what feels like will be the final battle against the Hunters, but her mage-partner, Cassie, seems to be hiding something from her, and if she can’t figure out what it is before it’s too late, it could be the end of everything as they know it.

Solace

When Brijit, a serving maid, seeks solace at the fountain one evening, she meets K’la, a gargoyle and lone guardian of the castle. They strike up a quick friendship, but betrayal threatens their friendship when Lord Devin learns of the gargoyle and seeks her assistance in taking over the throne.

Moonlight Dance

Luella is half-vampire, half-werewolf, the love child of a forbidden relationship, and that’s made her a target for both factions, but not in the way she originally believed. Dave is the son of her father’s best friend, and has known about her all his life. Alexander was her mother’s best friend and wanted nothing more than what made her happiest. Both men are prepared to give Luella the world – if she’d let them.

Breaking Pack Laws

Clara is a filmographer hired to follow a triathlon star as she trains for her next big race, but when she’s pulled over and accused of stalking, her world takes a turn for the worst. Braden is different than the rest of the werelings in his Pack. An officer of human law first and a follower of Pack laws second, he has trouble following the rules of his people when his brother pulls a heinous stunt in human laws that’s perfectly allowable in Pack laws.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

NaNoWriMo Incoming!

0000HelloDragonlings!

I don’t have an update for Shifters & Mages this week because NaNoWriMo starts in… two days? Yes. Two days. I only have today and tomorrow to finish prepping for it.

I’m ready. I think.

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a 30-day writing challenge in the month of November where participants attempt to write a 50,000 (50K) novel. Some plan it ahead of time while others start a brand new story the day of and hope for the best.

I’ve competed every year since 2011 after being introduced to it halfway through November in 2009 and not participating in 2010 because I was already doing another writing challenge and expecting my oldest. I “won” for the first time with what became the first draft of Jenna’s Story, but ever since then I’ve been a rebel, working on multiple stories at one time.

This year is no exception. My main focus will be Mages’ Sacrifice, the final book in the Shifters & Mages series, which I’ll be typing since it’s already been started in that format, but I also plan on working on some hand-written projects in my Novella Notebook. I have about a third of one story written, and I hope to finish it in November and maybe start the next if I can. There’s only enough room (with the way I write) for two novellas. We’ll see.

Below are short blurbs for the three projects I would like to tackle for NaNoWriMo.

Mages’ Sacrifice

Nicky, head of the Council, has betrayed them, but before any of them can get their hands on her, she vanishes and no one, not even Myles, can find her. Puck is preparing for what feels like will be the final battle against the Hunters, but her mage-partner, Cassie, seems to be hiding something from her, and if she can’t figure out what it is before it’s too late, it could be the end of everything as they know it.

Seeking Solace

When Brijit, a serving maid, seeks solace at the fountain one evening, she meets K’la, a gargoyle and lone guardian of the castle. They strike up a quick friendship, but betrayal threatens their friendship when Lord Devin learns of the gargoyle and seeks her assistance in taking over the throne.

Moonlight Dance

Luella is half-vampire, half-werewolf, the love child of a forbidden relationship, and that’s made her a target for both factions, but not in the way she originally believed. Dave is the son of her father’s best friend, and has known about her all his life. Alexander was her mother’s best friend and wanted nothing more than what made her happiest. Both men are prepared to give Luella the world – if she’d let them.

If you wanna join me on my journey, I am going to be going live with Sarah Scharnweber on YouTube around November 1st 12:00 AM central time (1:00 AM eastern) for some writing. Also, feel free to add me as a buddy on the NaNo site itself.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Friday Feature

Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Lisey Landon lost her husband Scott two years ago, after a twenty-five-year marriage of profound, sometimes frightening intimacy. Scott was a celebrated, award-winning, novelist. And a complex man. Lisey knew there was a dark place where her husband ventured to face his demons. Boo’ya Moon is what Scott called it; a realm that both terrified and healed him, that could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed to write and live. Now, it’s Lisey’s turn to face her husband’s demons. And what begins as a widow’s effort to sort through her husband’s effects, becomes a perilous journey into the heart of darkness.

About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Bill Hodges Trilogy, Revival, and Doctor Sleep. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Recommendation

Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi

Friday Feature

Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi

Thirteen…

As far as numbers go, it isn’t a great one. Hell, it’s not even a good one and Vincent Graves is going to find out just how unlucky of a number it can be.
Because someone, or something, is killing people in the Empire state, and whatever it is, it gives people everything they ever desired and more. And it’s the more that’s the problem!

Well…it’s one of the problems.

Vincent’s investigation also seems to have drawn the attention of a relentless FBI agent and then there’s the little bit where he has only thirteen hours to solve the case, or he dies.

Talk about your literal deadlines…

…No pressure.

By the end of this case Vincent will come to understand the meaning of an age old proverb: Be careful what you wish for – because you just might get it!

About the Author

R.R Virdi is the two-time Dragon Award-Nominated author. Once for The Grave Report, a paranormal investigator series set in the great state of New York. The second novel in the series, Grave Measures, was a finalist for the 2016 Dragon Awards under Best Fantasy (Paranormal) category alongside, Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, N.K. Jemisin, Dave Freer, James Osiris Baldwin, and G. Derick Adams.

The second time for, Dangerous Ways, book one of The Books of Winter, an epic urban fantasy series set in the same world as his Grave Report series.

He has worked in the automotive industry as a mechanic, retail, and building custom gaming computers. He’s an avid car lover, with a special love for American classics.

He currently resides in northern Virginia, (an important distinction to residents of the area!) He’s is a fan of martial arts , science fiction and a fantasy ninja, lover of all things paranormal/supernatural.He spends his days in an imaginary world working as a recorder of all the events that transpire there, that and sometimes he chases after his derpy dog, Oreo.

Sometimes he wanders aimlessly through the halls of his home dressed in jedi robes, we have no idea why….

His favorite shows are the Game of Thrones, Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, Firefly, Supernatural and Man VS Food…..only when he’s starving. In his spare time he likes to tinker with cars, play video games and stare blankly at a computer screen under the pretense that he’s doing work.

The hardest challenge for him up to this point has been fooling most of society into believing he’s a completely sane member of the general public.

Recommendation