Tag Archives: harry potter

Fivers for Authors to Read

Every reader has their list of favorite authors. I’m no different in that aspect, except I’m also a writer and I’m going to share a list with you and gently suggest why you should read these authors. These aren’t your classics… you’re not going find Bradbury, King, or Orwell here… but rather just authors I’ve read and learned things from.

Keep in mind they’re not listed in any particular order, but maybe they are, at least subconsciously? Nah…

  1. J.K. Rowling – Read the Harry Potter series, for serious seriousness to see how ultimate foreshadowing is done. Tidbits from Sorcerer’s Stone pop back up in Deathly Hallows. The character histories and wizarding lore rivals that of GRRM’s books, only on a more palatable, less bloody scale. That doesn’t mean there isn’t death and mayhem; it’s there aplenty. Engaging characters, a rich and historic world, and tales that weave in and out of each other make her Potter series a must read.
  2. George C. Chesbro – Another writer with a full blown series to check out: The Mongo Mysteries. All the word today revolves around characters that are non-white, non-male, and are representative of today’s culture. With that, I give you Dr. Robert Frederickson, an abused dwarven private eye who used to be a circus act. And this series started in 1977. The series bends genres from mystery, to thriller, science fiction, religious, and horror. It’s all there.
  3. Laurell K. Hamilton – Hamilton is a shining example of longevity and character building. Her Anita Blake books are up to somewhere in the 20s (including stand-alone spin-off novellas). The characters, especially the supporting ones, are always discovering new things about themselves, and readers right along with them, which keeps the latter coming back. The sex helps, of course, but that’s only part of the draw here. Let’s face it, a bad-ass, creature hunting woman who likes her sex weird and rough and gentle is a total package. (Go EDWARD!)
  4. Lawrence Sanders – Some consider Sanders on the lower-rung of writers, somewhere just above a hack, but I disagree. He’s got a couple of series under his belt (Edward X. Delaney, Archie McNally, and the Commandments), but it’s his independent novels that stand out to me. Seriously, this guy was writing about a female vice-president and radical feminism in the 1980s (The Passion of Molly T.), the over-sexualization of children (The Case of Lucy B.), a male prostitute (The Seduction of Peter S.), and even a future where the government sees all, knows all (The Tomorrow File). Consider The Tomorrow File was published in 1975… Sanders had a knack, like most really good authors, of predicting upcoming social and cultural upheavals and norms.
  5. Gary A. Braunbeck – This guy is scary, and scary good, like really fucking talented. I’ve only read a single novel of Gary’s (shaddup…), but on the flip side to that, I’ve read one of collections, numerous of his other short story offerings, and his non-fiction work, To Each Their Darkness. Braunbeck, like King, fucking excels in the short form, but Braunbeck’s work is much more emotionally charged than King’s. If you want to read gut-wrenching words, and perhaps learn from one of the best, do yourself a favor and check Gary A. Braunbeck’s work out. You won’t be disappointed.

That sums up my short list of authors you may not have read that you probably should be, at least in my opinion. What say you, Brownies? Who should people be reading that they may not be?

Expecto Review-O

patronusIf you remember that part in Harry Potter where Sirius is getting his soul sucked out by the Dementor, you’re okay in my book. If you remember that Harry used his Patronus to defeat the dozens of Dementors, you’re more than okay in my book. If you know the Patronus charm is summoned by good memories and it’s extremely powerful, well, why aren’t we drinking beer together more often?

Now, you might be asking what the Patronus charm has to do with book reviews, and it’s pretty simple. Reviews are an author’s happy place, they let us summon our Patronus, and an author with many honest reviews calls forth an animal more powerful than most: confidence. Confidence, when wielded properly, will defeat any other negative spell cast at us by life. Our Patronus will kick its motherfucking ass.


And that, in all honesty, is the mythical power of the review. Reviews lend credibility to our work. For one thing, it proves someone, somewhere is actually reading us. Now, for some of the bigger authors, that might not be a big deal, but us small press and/or self published folk, that knowledge is a big deal. It’s a confidence builder, one of the larger ones, probably more so than whether the review itself is good or not. Now, let me explain that last statement…

If you give us a five star (or whatever the high rating is where you’re leaving the review), we’re just going to nod our heads and be like, “Fuck yeah, that’s my book. I wrote that shit, I know how good it is.” We’ll more than likely puff up our chests, thump it once or twice, and go on about our business. We’ll probably post it up on some social media site with a big ass grin, but that’s it.

1starThe reverse is true when it comes to a bad review… well, mostly. If we’re smart, we’re privately going to tell you to take a flying fuck at a rolling donut, or give you the finger and tell you to sit and spin… that when your elbows hit the ground, the ride is over. That’s privately, because, you know, that’s our book, our baby, and we wrote that shit. If it’s a low-rated critical review, we’ll be nicer in our personal and private flaming, and then sit down to consider what you wrote. We probably won’t share it on social media, unless we trying to point out what a dick/twat you happen to be for writing a bad review. For the record, that’s an author faux paus, and should never be done.

As a side note, I (and most other authors) prefer critical reviews… whether they’re high or low rated. I want to know what readers thought, specifically, every time. I may not agree with you, but I damn sure respect your opinion on the matter. For example, here’s a 4-star critical review of They Are Among Us and a here’s a two-star critical review of Necromancer.

Both of these are phenomenal reviews, but more than that, it’s proof that people are reading my work and making informed judgements on it. That’s awesome, what’s what keeps me going. Not whether my book is rated 4.77 stars on Goodreads or 3.87 on Amazon or 2.31 on LibraryThing. Just that you’re reading what I’m writing.

And the only way I really know that is if you leave me a review. You can tell me you read it, but unless I sit down and quiz your ass, I’m not going to know for sure. But if you leave that review (good or bad) with details, well, then I do know. And that I appreciate, and it gives me balls to keep writing more, to cast my Patronus spell, use the confidence you’re giving me to buffer any self doubts, kill those soul-sucking dementors called fear and loathing, and ultimately protect my dying godfather, Chris’s fiction.

That’s why you leave reviews, more than anything else. Sure, it raises awareness of our work and may (but probably not) lead to more sales, more exposure, but most of us aren’t in this to get rich. We’re in it for the love of story, to share our hidden truths about the world with you. And that’s why you’re here, too, Brownies, isn’t it? Because you love to read, you love to be transported into other realms, whether they’re horrific or fantastic. And to do that, you need writers, and we need your reviews.

So, please, if you’ve read a book, review it. On your website, Amazon, Goodreads, perhaps LibraryThing, or some other book reading site. Just do it. We all benefit when you do.

Tune in next week as I talk about the importance of being earnest…

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