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#Smashwords31 Days 12-14: Oops.

Well okay, I admit that I definitely implied this was going to be a recommendation a day. I didn’t promise that, though, and it’s my blog. Anyway, I’m afraid I rebelled on Friday night, all these promising beginnings, and never time to read the whole book. So on Friday I reread something that has no place in this series, and on Saturday . . . I’m not sure what happened to Saturday, to be honest, though the garden looks more like a garden than it did last week . . . and today I have three books for you to consider.

But first, for newcomers to this ill-conceived venture, a recap. Since I’m always banging on about Smashwords, and since they have a special offer on all of this month, and since I am painfully aware that a casual browsing of the site does turn up an awful lot of pap, I said that in July I would find 31 Smashwords books that I wasn’t embarrassed to recommend. Since I’m not always as good as I might be about looking for new books instead of relying on old standbys, and since I can’t read that fast, these aren’t necessarily going to be books that I’ve read – in fact, very few of them will be. All I’m saying is that I’ve read the sample (or that a friend whose judgement I trust has read the book – and anyone who wants to help me out in the respect is more than welcome to do so), and it seems to me that it’s probably worth a look.

And secondly, since it’s a subject that’s bound to raise its ugly head a fair bit this month, an admission about sex: I’m not necessarily the best person to offer advice or recommendations when it comes to sex scenes. Not having sex, now that’s interesting, but when it comes to the actual mechanical act, I’m just not that bothered. Ahem, how to rephrase that without giving you more information than you require? I used to enjoy playing hockey at school, but I don’t follow it – I’m not interested unless I’ve got a stake in the game. Of course, you can argue that what a good writer does is to give you a stake in the game, but I’ll only counter that by the time you get to the sex scene, the game’s over.

For me it’s like having a scene in which your characters have to go somewhere by car. My instinct, both as a reader and a writer, is that once we’ve established who’s in the car and (optionally) where they’re going, it’s time to cut away to something else, unless vital plot points are going to occur during the journey. I can understand that some people are more interested than me in the drive, that they might want to know if there was heavy traffic or the hero turns out to be a really good driver, or a surprisingly bad navigator. What puzzles me is writers – good writers, who would never describe an actual car journey in this degree of detail – who are suddenly determined to tell me about every change of gear, every glance in the mirror, every touch of the brakes. But I’m open to the possibility that other people are less bored by this than I am.

And finally, three books to make up for my lapse.

Mythed Connections is a collection of short stories by Michael G. Munz based on the premise that if anything in mythology was ever true then it still is. It’s a premise I’ve always had a soft spot for, and though I know that Tom Holt and Neil Gaiman do it splendidly already I’m sure there’s plenty of room in the market for more.

Black Scales White Fur by Kylie Chan centres around the smallest Snake Mother in the Demon King’s harem, and her hopes of escape. It’s also the piece that started me thinking about sex (or at least, sex in books). Is it going to turn out to be a thinly veiled excuse for a lot of sex? Possibly. Has it been engagingly readable so far, and amused me when I wasn’t really entirely in the mood for this? Absolutely.

Nightflower is about a teenage vampire, but please don’t let this put you off. She’s not at all sparkly. Cameron Vail plays with the concept of a vampire who is not all vampire, and appears so far to do so more successfully than most.


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