Friday, March 22, 2013

Per Q's Request - A Pirate Review

Six cannonballs (out of five) ;-)

A Caribbean Spell by Maureen O. Betita

So, it ain’t normal for an author to review her own book and make recommendations. But I figure if I do it outright and above board, I shouldn’t stir up too much controversy. I’m not doing this with an assumed name, I’m not going to wax poetically and pretend I’m not talking about myself – despite the long tradition in literature for authors to do just that!

Nope, I’m gonna put it right out there.

A Caribbean Spell is a charming beginning to what is to be a very long series. I hope to publish 30 books, but it could go longer. It could also die if the interest does. Or if I do. Things happen.

With ACS, the reader is introduced to the main characters, Miranda – the time traveling witch, who restores her magical energy through sex and Jake, a wily pirate captain who really enjoys helping Miranda restore her magic. These two will sail through every single book. Yes, one couple. Though there is a supporting cast of hundreds over the series’ life. I promise to take the reader places and into situations that will surprise them, thrill them, perhaps disgust them… I’ve never been known for playing it safe. At some point, I will kill the dog. Sorry.

Regarding this first volume. I show promise here. 

Let me start by addressing the critics. Yes, you will complain of too much passive voice. I did my best, but sometimes it just fits into the narrative I’m creating. I know it’s there. Was I lazy about digging it all out? Maybe. Or maybe I just didn’t want to change the character of the book. I’m a bit old school and grew up on a writing style that is different than what is the norm now.

But trends change and it could come back. So maybe I’m ahead of the trends. So, there.

Yes, I do juggle POV. Even lapsing on occasion into the deadly omniscient, or narrative, POV. I know. I did it on purpose. Really. It fit. I’m sorry if it offends. (Not really.)

Show vs. Tell. Ah, how I long for the days when a reader didn’t really know the difference. Because, I don’t always know the difference. Which is why you’ll find that slipping in here and there.

Anything else I could address that would be considered negatives?

Sometimes, there is purple prose. I think. I’m not entirely certain.

The plus sides! Oh! Action, adventure, sex, pirates, a really deliciously despicable villain, a side story to anchor the reader in the two worlds Miranda and Jake will balance between; the wild seas of the Caribbean and life aboard the pirate ship, Moonstone, and the more prim and proper world of Port Royal, Jamaica. 

Miranda is a woman of our century, but she’s been slipping through time and space for twenty years giving her the savvy and know-how to survive wherever she lands. She can’t control her travels. Reynard is a clever pirate and his world holds a practical viewpoint regarding magic and commerce. Him? Well, it's all about the profit. And keeping his ship and crew flourishing.

This is not a historically accurate world

Yes, critics, it isn’t accurate. At all. In the least. It’s made up. Totally. The world is smaller, the ships are cleaner, the people are tolerant, the pirates are…Hollywood pirates. 

We start with a standard tiny bit of back story, an arrival, a challenge…and more challenges. Lots of challenges. Miranda appears on page one, Jake appears at the end of the first chapter. What can I say about the story that will convince you to read it?

It’s Maddy and Dave if they’d survived having sex. It’s Hart to Hart on the high seas. Add in adult situations and vocabulary. Danger that doesn’t mince words and violence that is real, and causes actual pain, sorrow and anger. But there is also lighthearted fun and simple romping, friendships, secret relations, the comedy of a fish out of water…and magic. Good and bad.

It’s a story that moves fast and will sweep you away. Cast a spell upon you and invite you to come set sail in this Caribbean, on this ship, with this series! A Caribbean Spell is book one. Red Sean’s Revenge is the second and will be available in June. Next is The French Gambit followed by Twice Trapped! And that is for 2013. Four more in 2014.

I fell in love with Jake as I wrote him, I fell in love with Miranda. Jake’s only complaint is he wishes he were taller, while Miranda has forgiven me much. I believe they love me back.

So, authors, if you could be the critic, the reviewer…what do you think will be loved or loathed about your book? Ever read multiple reviews where the same thing one person loves is the thing another person hates?


quantum said...

Well done Maureen
I endorse the 6 cannon balls and am adding another one of my own .... for both book and review. LOL

I think I said somewhere that Miranda is a heroine that I could fall in love with. With 29 books to go this could be a long exciting and torrid affair de coeur. How can you possibly end such a series. Nations will weep!

Interestingly some healing therapies (eg Quantum Touch and Theta Healing) involve drawing energy up through the body, stimulating the Chakras and getting the mind to that quiet place where healing is possible. These techniques were known to the ancients and are now being re-discovered. I think Miranda may have discovered a variant of the process which should be studied more using the insights available from modern science.

A heroine to savour!
A review to boggle the mind!
29 books to long for .... if I have that many birthdays left!

Bosun fire the cannon! LOL

Terri Osburn said...

*covers ears, pulls cord*

*gets back up*

There you go, Q. Cannon fired. Though Gunner is going to be mad we just wasted a shot.

I LOVE this review. Though I'm totally crushed about the dog. How could you?? You have always been your best sales person, and this is why. You bring your stories to life just talking about them. I cannot wait until life settles so I can read this. It's already on the kindle.

Marnee Bailey said...

I've been waiting to dig into this until I'm done with these revisions. But I'm excited to start. :)

It sure does sound action packed. And fast paced. I'm looking forward to it.

Maureen said...

Q, it should only take 7.5 years for all of them to come out, you'll be fine! I mean, they'll be four of them this year alone!

And thanks for the encouragement! Miranda certainly does know how to use energy within the body to heal - oh, yeah. Personally, I was a long believer in sexual healing before the song came out... ;-)

Maureen said...

Bosun, I'm sorry...I'm a heartless writer and yes, I kill the dog. Not on stage, happens. I will do anything to move the plot where I want to go and have no qualms doing terrible things to my characters and those they love... It all serves a greater purpose.

I promise.

Maureen said...

Marn - Thank ye! I know you're looking at yer calender and hoping...we all are...

Revisions, be done! Ah, if only it were that easy...

MsHellion said...

I'm not sure I would have gone with all the things "readers would bitch about" first. Sets them in the wrong frame of mind. Always start out with the action, adventure, sex, love, romance, heartbreak, drama--and then say, "There are some occasional POV shifts and author omniscient within, but I promise you I did that on purpose." Otherwise, very naked of you, Mo! *LOL* But then again, I think you're our most persistent streaker on this ship.

30 books in almost 8 years? Holy crap! That's impressive!! I hope they sell like hotcakes!!

Me--what will they love about my books? I think people will like my flair for the absurd or funny--or as Sin put it once, "I can't read that scene with Adam & Eve because it sounds too much like a real life argument and I want to strangle the stupid bastard." And it wasn't the kind of ugly fight; it was the kind where you're pushing each other's buttons on purpose...I guess that's what a lot of my writing is about: pushing buttons. You do not want me in charge of the codes. I will set them off because I can.

What they'll hate. Possibly my heroes. I have Lucy--who is no hero, but I'd love to give him a romance for the hell of it. (Get it? For the hell of it?) Ben--he was married and that automatically cuts him out as the hero but he was the hero. He's a tough sell. Adam is probably the most likable, but you'll have that cross-section of the community pissed off that I'm "playing irreverently" with Biblical people. Which yes, I play with everything rather irreverently. Brody might be my most "non-controversial" hero, so in that case, they'll probably not like the heroine for being such an unfeminine creature...and I have a lot of problems with heroines too, because my heroines aren't very...well, you know...not really into pets or children...or socializing...or feminine things. So I imagine readers will not like my characters, which means I'm screwed.

Wow, this was a GREAT exercise, Mo! Thanks for having it. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

Though I should say, I am rather confident SOME people will like my books, despite these handicaps and think my characters are cool. As Dumbledore would say, if you're waiting for universal appeal, you'll never leave the hut...and there are plenty of misguided people who think Harry Potter is overrated--and if they can think that about JK Rowling, they can think it about anyone. HOWEVER, she does have her rabid fans...and I think so will we.

Terri Osburn said...

Hellie reminded me I failed to answer the questions. I just got too excited about the review. LOL!

What will they like? Well, so far, readers have liked the humor. That's almost always the first thing they mention. And I think my heroes are hot and say the right things at times, but manly enough to say the wrong thing at other moments. Or a bit slow on the uptake when it comes to the romantic stuff.

Not sure if that will be a plus or not.

What will they hate? I'm worried they'll hate my first heroine because she's engaged to one brother but falling for the other. And when the book starts, she's a people-pleaser who hasn't thought about her own wants or interests for a long time. So they might see her as weak. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Then they could hate my 2nd heroine for totally different reasons. Sid is, well, a bit crass. But I love her. And my beta readers loved her too. Fingers crossed!

Maureen said...

What I find with reviews is that what one loves, the other hates. The exact same thing. The first time that happened I suffered a reality shift and let go of letting it all matter too much.

The same people who hate that yu're toying with the bible stuff...will be balanced by those who love that you're playing with bible stuff. I think sometimes even the same people will hate what they love...

Yeah, I probably should have written the review backwards...or forwards... Funny, but the stuff I figure will be hated just rose to the surface first...then ya dive in and it all flows away!

Maureen said...

Terri - I'm sure about the same thing. The up and the down will be the same. And what is loved from the first book will be disliked from the second book. It's just nuts...always is.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

BRAVO! If you don't love your book, why would anyone else? So WTG on the 6 out of 5 cannonballs, I'd give all my books the same rating. ;-)

You are also sooo right about people loving and hating the exact same thing. But the "reviews" I REALLY DETEST are the ones that start out "I haven't read this book yet, but..." That is NOT a review!

What do I think people like about my books? I HOPE they like the detailed settings. I try really hard to give an authentic flavor of a place (whether it is real or I created it). I do get reviews saying "...too much detail." I KNOW readers like my heroes, and so far I haven't had too many complaints about them. But that doesn't mean I won't. :-P

I don't think you should worry too much about "breaking the writing rules" like POV, passive voice and such. Seems to me that readers don't much care as long as they love the storyline.

GOOD GOOD LUCK with the series, Maureen! It sounds fabulous and I can't wait to get started reading it.


Maureen said...

Thanks, Auntie! I've enjoyed your books and love all the cruise ship details! The idea of someone reviewing without reading...

I mean, really! I figure those who don't like pirates shouldn't read my books.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

WAHOO! Love your review. :)

I'm not sure yet what readers will love with my stuff. I'd like to hope it will be my dark humor but I'm not sure if I'm really pulling that off yet.

My husband does always seem to be amazed by the crazy situations and story ideas I get. Especially with paranormal stories - which I didn't even think would be something I would write. So maybe readers will like the creativity of the world-building. We'll see.

Maureen said...

Hey-ho, Scape!

I lay odds the readers will love your dark voice...and hate it. Some will get it and some won't...

I totally love reviews, they are a total roller coaster ride!