Can I Critique a Man Booker Award Winner?

NarrowRoadDeepNorth

Sure! Just like anyone can critique your books and my books (and boy have they!). It’s really that simple, right? In a country that loves to tout it’s freedoms, there’s an abundance of people willing to give you their $0.02. Sometimes that criticism is based in knowledge and understanding. Sometimes it isn’t, but the fact remains that it’s everyone’s prerogative to provide commentary on the written word.

So, mine happens to be about a Man Booker Award winner and the book is The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Let me start out by saying that the book is written very well. The command of language is clear and the author’s ability to describe emotion and conflict is outstanding. Really well done. The story deftly jumps back and forth between present and past and closer past. I was really enjoying it. Then, this historical fiction suddenly became a romance. Was it part of the story? Yes. But, it became so flowery and fanciful that it really pulled me out of the flow.

It hasn’t stopped me reading. In fact, it pushed me to get back to the good stuff and I’m glad I did. Flanagan has a lot to say about life. But, now that I’m 4/5 of the way through, I keep scratching my head about those 3-4 chapters. They’re part of a pivotal plot point, so it’s not like they’re superfluous. It’s the approach I didn’t like. It was the sense that I’d started reading another book in that section and the all-too-obvious ending fell flat.

I started reading this because one reviewer made a comparison to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, one of my all-time favorites. Doesn’t grip me the way that book did, but it’s still a fine read. It’s subject matter isn’t pleasant though, so be careful. WWII POW slave camps described in every wretched detail. It’s horrific and haunting. If you do happen to read it, or have already read it, let me know if the romance throws you off as it did me.

Christmas is only 3 days away! Can you believe it? 😀 

Dream Movie Casting

Don’t deny it. All authors do it. You’ve got your dream cast members for the roles in the movie of your book. Well, so do I. So, I had a little fun today and, for Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon, here’s my dream cast. The only character I couldn’t find an actor for was Ollie Cline. They just don’t have a lot of teenage man-child actors. 😉

Grayson Russell

Grayson Russell – Danny Dirks

Terence Stamp

Terence Stamp – Edward Pendrake (Danny’s Grandfather)

KevinMcKidd

Kevin McKidd – Ted Dirks (Danny’s Father)

 

Saoirse-Ronan

Saoirse Ronan – Kara Brennan (Danny’s next door neighbor)

Iain Glen

Iain Glen – Bob Brennan (Kara’s Father)

Rade Serbedzija

Rade Serbedzija – Maximilian Brennan (Kara’s Uncle)          

MackenzieFoy

Mackenzie Foy – Katie Dirks (Danny’s Sister)

Terry Crews

Terry Crews – Marcus Donovan (Danny’s mentor)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, who’d play the lead in your book’s movie? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 😀

Last Day for My Kindle Countdown!

Just a quick note that today is the last day to pick up Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon for just $0.99 over at Amazon.

Mulraney_PENDRAGON_BOOK1_EbookEdition

Happy Book Birthday!

Mulraney_PENDRAGON_BOOK1_EbookEdition

It’s been a long time coming, but Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon is now live and available for purchase through Amazon. It’s a fun story that I’ve really been excited to work on and refine for publication. If you’ve been following along this summer, I’m sure you’ve heard me ramble on about it. I hope it’s the first of many good books I want to produce in the YA for boys vein (though I think girls will enjoy this story as well). I look forward to getting it out into the wild and continuing my work on its sequel… the next book you get to hear me ramble on about… Danny Dirks and the Heir of Mordred. Thanks for all of your past and continued support.

P.S. Sharing this news with your friends and colleagues would be the greatest gift you could give my book on its birthday. Thanks! 😉

Need book swag on the cheap? Wait for a coupon.

Vistaprint

Always wanted a banner with your book cover on it for those shows you do at the local library or independent bookstore? Maybe you wanted postcards, or a brochure, or something fun like a handle bag or custom pen? That stuff can be expensive, but if you use the Groupon going on right now for Vistaprint, you can get $70 worth of stuff for just $27.

I’ve used this method in the past for getting book swag. Banners, magnets, bags, pens, etc. My only disappointment is that they don’t do bookmarks. However, I’ve heard of folks making postcards and cutting them in half. As an independent author, it’s important to budget your marketing spend accordingly, and you can get quite a decent amount of stuff for $70. This one looks like it’s only for a limited time, and it can be regional, but it’s something I definitely recommend you keep an eye out for. I know Groupon is a good source for these coupons, but Living Social can also have them and if you’re looking to make a big swag purchase (t-shirts!), it can put a major dent in your bill.

Know of any good deals on book swag? Or have you done this yourself? Leave a comment below and thanks for reading! 😀

I need a hug

With a new book about to launch, I should be riding pretty high right now. But I’m not sure I’ve ever felt this low in my writing career.

So, you know how, when you’re writing your book, you get super paranoid that someone else has or will do it better than you? Yeah, we all get that. I’ve brushed it off in the past. I’ve seen similar books to mine, with similar plot points. Nothing enough to shake me. That is, until last night. It’s official. I’m shaken. Almost to a point of nausea, and I’m not normally that kind of guy.

For those of you who know, my upcoming YA fantasy, Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon, is about dragons living among us. There is an ancient pact between man and dragons threatened by rebel dragons. There is also a love interest between the main character and the girl who lives next door, who turns out to be a dragon. It’s also a twist on the Arthurian legend. Don’t worry, I’m not revealing anything I haven’t revealed in the blurb. It’s not an original concept, but I thought it had enough to separate it from a lot of the YA fantasy that was currently out there. Silly me.

Enter Talon, by New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa. Here is the blurb:


The series revolves around dragons with the ability to disguise themselves as humans and an order of warriors sworn to eradicate them. The dragons of TALON and the Order of St. George have been at war with each other for centuries. The fabled creatures, whose existence is unknown by the general public, are determined to rule the world. Their foes, a legendary society of dragon slayers, are equally bent on driving the fabled beasts into extinction. However, when a young dragon and a hardened slayer unknowingly befriend each other, it has severe repercussions for both organizations.

Yeah. It’s different, but damn it’s about as similar as I’d ever want to get to another book. Plus, she has a huge following, a 7-figure book deal, and to top it all off, THEY’RE ALREADY IN PRODUCTION ON THE MOVIE!

I know. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I can’t help but feel a bit sick. I sat on this book for four years before deciding to self publish. I wanted it to get the best treatment, which it has. And now, at the point I should feel most triumphant, I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. Maybe I have it completely wrong. Maybe my book will gain traction because of hers, especially if its theme is popular. Heck, maybe we’re setting a trend of dragons-among-us stories. I sure hope so. It’d make me feel a lot better than I do right now.

Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon releases September 1st. Talon, by Julie Kagawa, releases October 28th.