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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

Kindle Edition published 2013-08-14
Bestseller ranking: 713665

Product Description
Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

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Messages - Dennis Chekalov

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 14
Writers' Cafe / Re: Is the blurb doctor in?
« on: Today at 01:09:01 AM »
(1) The setting usually goes first, the main character second.
(2) About the word "mutant." Google this word. What do we see?
Extremely ugly, terrible, disgusting creatures.
Well, X-men and Ninja Turtles are mutants, too.
However, some readers (many/most readers, maybe) would think that a mutant = an ugly disgusting creature.
Even if your character is a mutant, maybe you shouldn't call her so in the blurb.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Risky 2nd Attempt at Blurb
« on: November 16, 2017, 04:54:32 PM »
Do you think its necessary to re-establish who Storm is when I already begin the blurb to Book 1 with a description?

Yes. Most of your potential readers never read the blurb to Book 1.

I could cut a lot out of the blurb by not doing that.

No. The main character is most important.
Make it short. Storm is [who is he?] who [what's his goal?]

Perhaps a pointer to Book 1 is needed at the opening of the blurb. "Book 2 continues the story..."

Yes. Your readers should know that it's the Book II.
It's always wise to say it in the blurb.

I won't use that cliched opener but perhaps it needs something of the kind?

It's not a cliche, it's just information.

To get around repeating things?

I'd say that you need to repeat some things.
Most of your potential readers never read the blurb to Book 1. - II

It's a bit of conundrum, isn't it? A lot of people reading the blurb to Book 2
will have read the blurb to Book 1 or quite possibly the book itself.

No. Just no.
People who have read and love the Book I will buy the Book II anyway.
The target audience of the blurb is people who have never heard about you and your books not mentioning reading them.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is the blurb doctor in?
« on: November 16, 2017, 03:31:15 PM »
People who know and love your series will buy this book anyway.
And what about the readers who have never heard about your series?
Your blurb sounds like The White Collar tv-series -- an insurance company, stolen art, etc.
So start with your character (so new readers get to know her), but short.

Libby [#Surname] is [#who_she_is]

What about your setting? Is it here-and-now? A near future? A distant future?
Here-and-now with the Mascarade, perhaps?

What are the stakes? Billions and reputations? Too low for a book.
Who is the antagonist? What does they want?
What's the main conflict?

Just my two cents.
Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Risky 2nd Attempt at Blurb
« on: November 16, 2017, 06:10:40 AM »
Earth is under attack.


Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, increasing in number and ferocity, should be raising alarm. The weather is so bad oceans can only be safely crossed by submarine.

Stop. We were told that Earth is under attack. Now we need to know -- who is the attacker? What does their want? How do people fight against them? Instead of this we get a disaster thriller. What about the attack? We understand nothing. It's strongly not recommended.

Only drones fly until foolhardy Storm and his companions make a dangerous journey across the state by paramotors.

Who are they? What do they want? Are they the attackers? Are they the defenders?

An overwhelming force of nature is about to reveal the real world to humanity. The return of the Sun's binary twin will change the entire solar system equally obliterating and creating.

(1) Oh well. Now we begin to understand something. But you've lost most of your readers already.
(2) Too wordy.

Yet the nefarious enemy within may be worse than the approaching threat they have hidden for so long.

What enemy?


Once again -- who is Storm? Is they male or female? A little boy or an old wise man?

isn't interested in who or what threatens the elites.

And what about common people? Does Storm care about them?

But if he was, he would be a whole lot safer.

(1) Way too vague.
(2) Now we know that he is he. This should be explained much earlier.

What he wants most of all is to protect those he holds closest.

Yes, it's naturally. For a simple man.
But Storm is a main character of a disaster thriller.
So his goal is way too selfish.
He must save the world or at least save people.
That's what main characters do.

If it were some another character...

John Blazek is a common man, middle-aged, with crappy job and three children.
He always was a loser. He always was a coward. He always was a quitter.
But now he's ready for everything to save his family.

You see? For poor John Blazek it's a goal.
But for the character called Storm -- it's too selfish.

Only he can't. Not yet. At the request of a friend who stood by him in a time of need,

Too wordy.

he and his soldier buddy attempt to save the lives of millions.

(1) That's much, much better. Saving the lives of millions is good.
(2) Maybe the word buddy doesn't fit here.

They strike a bargain with revolutionaries.

What revolutionaries?

First, they must convince the people to leave the coast and head inland without delay.

Interesting. But maybe this could be made shorter.

Second, they must help their hosts survive a looming attack by government forces.
In return, they will be escorted safely past the brutal security circling the city.

Wait. So the goverment is evil. What's your setting?
Most readers would suppose that you are writing about USA.

Storm discovers too late he is a pawn in a game with multiple levels.

Good. Should be said earlier.

One where even players unseen are themselves being played.

We know this already.

A trap is set. He must choose who and what to trust or else the choice will be made for him--and what lies ahead is like nothing Storm could ever imagine.

Too wordy. And the closing line should be more strong.

Good luck!

Count me in!
What about basic developmental editing?
Let's say, 3 x 10.000 words. Short stories or first chapters.

Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blurb Help (critique needed)- Bookbub Ad Prep
« on: November 15, 2017, 02:00:05 AM »
Mishi and Taka

Says anime/manga immediately. It's OK.

live each day of their lives with the shadow of death lurking behind them.

Like any other people, actually.
It's too vague.

The struggle to hide the elemental powers that mark the two girls as Kisoshi

What's your setting?
Japan today? USA today? Medieval Japan? Some fantasy world?

separates them from the other orphans

What orphans? They were not mentioned before.

yet forges a deep bond between them.


When Mishi is dragged from the orphanage at the age of eight

Dragged by whom? Why?

the girls are unsure if or when they will find each other again

Would be OK if it were the main conflict.
But it's not.

While their powers grow with each season-cycle, the girls must come to terms with their true selves--Mishi as a warrior, Taka as a healer--as they forge separate paths which lead to the same horrifying discovery...

Too many words, too many details, still no main conflict.

The Roju council's dark secret is one that it has spent centuries killing to keep, and Mishi and Taka know too much.

Make it short.

The two young women have overcome desperate odds in a society where their very existence is a crime, but now that they know the Roju's secret they find themselves fighting for much more than their own survival.

1. Too vague.
2. The main conflict is introduced too late.

Book 2 - Traitor's Hope:

For centuries the Roju council silenced all who opposed them, spreading lies and killing innocents in order to maintain the status quo and ensure that female Kisoshi were little more than a long-forgotten myth.

Too wordy. Make it short. Start with your setting (always! unless it's here-and-now).

Now that Mishi and Taka have helped to depose the corrupt council

Spoiler. Spoilers must be avoided when possible. Here you can avoid it.

the land of Gensokai is reeling as it takes its first steps towards recovery. As the New Council attempts to corral the renegade allies of the defunct regime,


Taka is asked to take charge of a frontline infirmary,

Passive voice. Not recommended here.

putting her in the heart of the battle.

What battle? With whom?

To survive, she will have to rely on a person she cannot possibly trust.

Who is it?

Meanwhile, Mishi is asked to lure a vicious band of mountain raiders into the open

Passive voice. Not recommended here. - II

--a mission that has proven fatal to all who have attempted it so far.

Just say - a suicide mission. Brevity is the sister of talent (Chekhov).

Making matters worse, Mishi's mind keeps betraying her

Too vague. What does it mean?

and she fears that her kiso and katana will betray her next.

Most people don't know what kiso is.

As the two friends fight to re-establish the peace in their homeland,

Who is the antagonist?
What's their goal?

the only question is where the next betrayal will come from, and if Mishi and Taka will have the strength to survive it.

The final line must be stronger.

Just my two cents.
Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Calling blurb doctors [Epic fantasy] Do your worst!
« on: November 14, 2017, 10:52:40 AM »
Do you suggest I cut out the last part about the assassin monk?
He's one of the bad guys and doesn't neeeeed to be in the blurb, I suppose.

It depends.
If he's one of the main characters, keep him and remove someone (or something) else.
The problem is that we know nothing about the Duenoro royal family as well.
If he isn't one of the main character, maybe you don't need him here.

Oh, and I'm not clear on the part where you say "just say: to save Havenglade". Say this instead of what, exactly?

Something like this: "must find the Blood Cauldron to save Havenglade."
Or maybe you could keep these details and remove something else.

Just my two cents :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Calling blurb doctors [Epic fantasy] Do your worst!
« on: November 14, 2017, 10:32:27 AM »
Blood will flow.


In a world where magic stems from crystals and blood


the sadistic and beautiful sorceress queen

I'd rephrase this.


Are you sure?

plots the imminent invasion of Havenglade from high atop the haunted tower of Xanith Castle. In one fall swoop she will overrun Havenglade's bastion of defense, The Outpost. A series of stone walls which have guarded Havenglade from the threats of the Kastig Badlands for generations.

Too many names, too much irrelevalnt information.

Laurena came to the badlands under the guidance of her teacher, the legendary wizard Unai but when Unai mysteriously vanishes


Laurena must decide if the cruel and barbaric ways of the badlands are something she can believe in.

A bit too vague.

As rebel groups multiply the queen's harsh responses will test Laurena's limits. And beg the question, is Havenglade really the enemy?

Too much of everything.

The Crown Prince Trium is on the run.


After slipping away from Gradur Castle and the monotony of life at court he embarks on a dangerous journey.

We know this already.

With the help of an aging wizard and a team of rough outcasts Trium must find the Blood Cauldron.


A mysterious magical device that allows the minions of the badlands to shapeshift. They must destroy the Blood Cauldron before the assassins lay waste to the leaders of Havenglade.

Just say: "to save Havenglade."

Meanwhile Razik the mysterious monk of the Black Dragon Order

Would be good, but you have way too many characters for the blurb.

plans a string of assassinations dead set on killing every last member of the Duenoro royal family.

Who are they? Why should we care?

A hero will rise... or a kingdom will fall.

Would be good, but you have too many characters; who is that hero? Laurena? Trium? Razik?

Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: I would love your feedback on my blurb!
« on: November 13, 2017, 08:52:03 AM »
Val had returned from his latest tour of duty maimed and scarred in body and soul. At an age when most kids were still in college, he had been fighting for his life in global hotspots no government official would dare admit to, with crippling wounds and horrific memories his only rewards for services diligently rendered. Barely able to walk and drugged to the gills for pain, he thought his killing days were finally behind him. He couldn't have been more wrong.

Make it short.

Endless, a hyper futuristic game where players could truly live another life.

(1) Make it italic.
(2) What's so special about Endless? There are hundreds of them.

Val's friend couldn't resist the siren call to embrace that thrill

There are about 1.8 billion gamer in the world today. What's so special about Endless? - II

and when she turns up missing

People play games all the time.
People gone missing all the time (alas).
What's the connection between this and that?
What's so special about Endless? - III

Val knew it was time for one last covert mission,


only to find that the game was far more than it seemed.


Far from being the masters of this grand new game of epic space battles, wizards, warriors, and intergalactic conquest,

The game must be described earlier.

the people of Earth were about to become its greatest prize.

What? We don't understand this, so we don't care.

Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Confessions...
« on: November 12, 2017, 01:18:08 AM »
I sometimes have to do so much googling that Google sends me a bot test.  :P

All the time.

I like "The Gabriel Ward Chronicles". It's simple, it's easy to remember (once the reader reads the first one and gets introduced to the main character), and it's pretty common for UF series to be identified by the MC's name. (And I like the name Gabriel Ward, so that would be more likely to make me pick up the book than some of your other series title options.)

^^ This.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blurb Help
« on: November 01, 2017, 09:35:11 AM »
a fairy is murdered

A good opening sentence.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Finding beta readers for a sf novel?
« on: October 30, 2017, 02:02:41 PM »
There are several beta reader groups on Goodreads (with free and paid beta readers).
When hiring a paid beta reader, always ask for a free sample.
Good luck!

I published a romance that doesn't fall easily into a subgenre category niche.

Maybe you could market your book not as a romance novel but as something else.
Remove it from all romance categories.
Try to choose something different (woman fiction, thriller, literature fiction).
Rework your blurb and cover with new categories in mind.
And no -- don't use it as a promo.

Any thoughts. Are they ideas with any legs? that might work?

If it were your one and only service -- no, absolutely no.
But you offer a lot of different services.
So why not?..
Just add these two (transcribing and rough editing) to the list.
Maybe no one will be interested for a long time, and then, suddenly, you'll get many orders.
Maybe not.
But it's just a few lines of text on your site. Just add them and see how it goes.
You lose nothing.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Prolific authors - how do you get feedback?
« on: October 19, 2017, 08:39:43 PM »

(1) Developmental editors. Kinda expensive.
(2) Paid beta readers. Affordable.
(3) Free beta readers.
(4) Critique swap.
(5) Publishing without feedback.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Devastating critique from my own dear Mama...
« on: October 19, 2017, 10:20:36 AM »

(1) New blurbs.
(2) New covers.
(3) New website and domain.
(4) New beta readers (or maybe you need a line editor as well).
(5) Kiss your Mama. Mama is always right  :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Black Moment Problem
« on: October 18, 2017, 07:28:13 AM »
Maybe this means that this scene just doesn't belong here.
Events have their own logic.
You think that you need The Darkest Moment scene (because everyone says so),
but maybe the story doesn't need it at all.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Excuse me, I just blurbed. Critiques please?
« on: October 16, 2017, 07:16:22 PM »
Keep it as it is.
It's perfect.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Professional, affordable editor needed
« on: October 09, 2017, 04:09:56 AM »
What kind of editing do you need?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Confidence
« on: October 08, 2017, 02:20:20 PM »

(1) Avoid writing by committee.
(2) Find two-three beta readers (or a dev editor) you trust and stick with them.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« on: October 08, 2017, 07:01:13 AM »
If I could get a top-notch developmental edit for only $1,200, I'd leap on it.

What do you call "a top-notch developmental edit"?
It's a professional interest.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What makes a good book blurb?
« on: October 08, 2017, 04:05:08 AM »
Customs Investigator James Winter -- no.
Ex-MI5 operative James Winter -- yes.

Clear his name -- no.
Save his career -- no.
Stop the terrorists and save the world -- yes.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Newbie
« on: October 04, 2017, 10:30:47 AM »
About your business

1. Start a promotional thread.
2. Add your services to the Yellow Pages.
3. Create a good-looking website.
4. Post some testimonials.
5. Offer a free sample to each and every new client.

About KBoards

1. Never discuss politics.
2. No, I mean it, never.

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