Monday, December 18, 2006

Without Scouts

If you've visited the CSFF blogs (links in the post below), you may have caught the buzz about the third book in the Birthright Project, Scouts, being cancelled by the publisher. While the author, Kathryn Mackel, was incredibly gracious about the whole thing, my initial and current reaction was/is:

That stinks.

Forget about the whole business angle and the books not selling as well as expected, blah blah blah. I'm a reader (even more than I'm a writer, which is saying a lot), and I'm reacting to this as a reader.

(And readers are the ones publishers should be paying attention to, since they buy the books.)

When I read an excellent novel, my emotions get wrapped up with the characters. I care about their lives. It seems cruel for the rest of their stories to be cut off without warning. Sure, Niki's story stopped at a good note, but Timothy's?

Think about other trilogies, and imagine them without the last installment. Lord of the Rings? Dekker's Circle trilogy? A few may be written for each title to stand on its own, but the Birthright Project isn't one of them. Imagine if Pirates of the Caribbean 3 was cancelled. Or Spider-Man 3. Mackel's books fall somewhere between those two with unresolved plot threads.

Look at the flip side. What if an author decided not to write book 3 of an interwoven trilogy? Wouldn't fans be upset? They would understand if a family crisis delayed the work, but if the author only quit because they could get more money elsewhere? Yeah. I'd be ticked.

Then why, when a publisher does the same thing, do people excuse it as a business decision? If anything, it makes me more leery of buying books from that publisher until the entire series is out. And if other readers had the same reaction, it would create a downward spiral, as lower sales for the earlier books might prevent later books from being published anyhow.

Granted, most reader don't follow publishers, but authors. So it's a double slap in the face for an author - not only do they not get revenue from the book, but they start to build a reputation of unfinished series. And sales of the previous books continue to plummet as readers find out they may never get "the rest of the story." An unpublished series finale unravels publicity efforts for the earlier books (like the one Mackel has on her site for creating a mog for Scouts). And in the midst of all this, the author has to be gracious so he/she doesn't ruin future publishing opportunities - no one wants to be an author publishers find difficult. (Note: I'm not saying Mackel's response was only gracious to help her future endeavors. She went far above being tactful and kind with her reaction. Editors should be banging down doors to work with someone like that.)

So, WestBow/Nelson, the manuscript's on your table. Will you reconsider your decision and publish Scouts? Or will you break trust with your readers by not giving us the full story of the Birthrighters?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Trackers by Kathryn Mackel

Taking a break from cookie baking and present making to tell you about Kathryn Mackel's latest novel, Trackers. The Birthrighter camp of Horesh is in disarray after the events of Outriders. Timothy longs to rescue Dawnray, a village girl held captive by Baron Alrod. Niki is keeping back an important letter from the camp leader, Brady. Ajoba is still in disgrace after being deceived and betraying the camp.

Meanwhile, Baron Alrod begins rebuilding his army with the help of his new head sorcerer and the now-demoted Ghedo makes his own plans for revenge.

Mackel delivers another heart-pounding adventure with a bit more palace intrigue. The interesting blend of futuristic science fiction/fantasy works as a perfect backdrop for the deep characters and plot events.

I wish I had more time to tell you about this great book, but I need to get back to Christmas preparations. But the blogs below offer much more info:

Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Frank Creed
Gene Curtis
Chris Deanne
Janey DeMeo
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Mark Goodyear
Todd Michael Greene
Karen Hancock
Elliot Hanowski
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Karen and at Karen's myspace
Oliver King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 - The Compendium
Terri Main
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
Eve Nielsen
John Otte
Cheryl Russel
Hannah Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Chris Walley
Daniel I. Weaver

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Eye of the Oracle

It is December 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!

Today's post was a little late, sorry! 9 1/2 hours out of the house, 2+ hours of power out, and several hours of forgetfulness added up to a December 2nd post!

This month's feature author is:


and his latest book:

Eye of the Oracle

Bryan Davis is the author of the four book Dragons in Our Midst series, a contemporary/fantasy blend for young people. The first book, Raising Dragons, was released in July of 2004. The second book, The Candlestone, followed in October. Circles of Seven debuted in April of 2005, followed in November by Tears of a Dragon.

Bryan is the author of several other works including The Image of a Father (AMG) and Spit and Polish for Husbands (AMG), and four books in the Arch Books series: The Story of Jesus' Baptism and Temptation, The Day Jesus Died, The Story of the Empty Tomb (over 100,000 sold), and Jacob's Dream. Bryan lives in Winter Park, Florida with his wife, Susie, and their children. Bryan and Susie have homeschooled their four girls and three boys.

To read more about Bryan and his books, visit the
Dragons in our Midst Website or visit Bryan's blog.

Eye of the Oracle

by Bryan Davis

Dragons in our Midst - Prequel
Oracles of Fire - Volume 1


The Seeds of Eden

Angling into a plunging dive, the dragon blasted a fireball at Lilith and Naamah. The two women dropped to the ground just as the flaming sphere sizzled over their heads. Naamah swatted her hair, whipping away stinging sparks that rained down from the fireball's tail.

With a flurry of wings and a gust of wind, the dragon swooped low. As razor sharp claws jabbed at the women, Naamah lunged to the side, and Lilith rolled through the grass. A single claw caught Lilith's long black dress, ripping it as the dragon lifted toward the sky.

Naamah jumped to her feet and helped Lilith up. The dragon made a sharp turn in the air, and, with its jagged-toothed maw stretching open, charged back toward them.

Lilith pushed a trembling hand into the pocket of her dress. "Only one hope left," she said, panting. Pulling out a handful of black powder, she tossed it over her head. "Give me darkness!" she cried.

The powder spread out into a cloud and surrounded the women. Naamah coughed and spat. The noxious fumes blinded her and coated her throat with an acrid film. A hand grabbed her wrist and jerked her down to her knees just as another flaming cannon ball passed over their heads.

"Crawl!" Lilith ordered.
For the rest of this chapter, click the FIRST link above.