Werewolves discussion

Lonely Werewolf Girl (Kalix MacRinnalch, #1)
This topic is about Lonely Werewolf Girl
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Past Group Reads > Summer 2017 Read: Lonely Werewolf Girl

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message 1: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments What a cool cover! The book for our first season, the summer of 2017, looks to be a lot of fun.


Scott It is very funny without being too silly.


message 3: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments My copy of Lonely Werewolf Girl just arrived in the mail. The first thing I notice about it is it's thickness. Oh my gosh-- 561 pages! How can a werewolf story be long? That's just crazy! Stephen King had to bring in an illustrator and put in lots of white on his pages to get his werewolf story to almost 100 pages. King is not known for brevity.

The other thing that strikes me about the book is the range of reviews it gets. They're all over the place. So many 1-star and 5-star ratings. I've seldom seen a book elicit such passion for and against it.


Scott Werewolf politics!

I hit page 400 last night and if I were to rate it now I would give it four stars. It feels maybe a tad longer than it needs to be, but I don't know what I would trim. The bits that might seem less essential are the most entertaining.

Also, being broken up into so many very short chapters may make it "feel" longer, somehow.


Scott Dan wrote: "The other thing that strikes me about the book is the range of reviews it gets. They're all over the place. So many 1-star and 5-star ratings. I've seldom seen a book elicit such passion for and against it."

I'm baffled that so many people mention bad writing. I thought the writing was terrific. There are a lot of typographical errors, but that's bad proofing not bad writing.


message 6: by Dan (last edited Jun 26, 2017 10:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments We are going to see books going to press this century with many more errors than we've ever seen before. That is because there are more small publishers than ever before. Many, probably even most, books from most publishing houses sell 1,000 copies or less. For a book to be at all profitable with that low a print run, publishers save anywhere and everywhere they can. They hire editors for a typical fee of $75 to $150 for editing an entire novel. At say $15 an hour as a reasonable fee this means an editor should spend 5-10 hours total with the book.

Since that is how long it takes to read a typical novel, never mind making edits to it, editors, needless to say, are not well-paid and therefore not always completely conscientious about their work. I've worked with five different authors as their editor and been paid, not always a given considering how fast publishers go bust. No author has much idea how to write in standard, ready-to-publish English. I typically made 20-40 small changes per page to their work. Change this sentence to active voice. Paragraph break here. Spell out number there. Break off overly long sentence with a period there. Authors have little idea how to write prose economically either. The writers from English-speaking countries other than the U.S. constantly add unneeded words in their sentences and hedge: seemed to, might have, began to plus verb. They never declare anything straight out, and these were men! Delete, delete, delete.

I worked as an editor for the above rates and have edited five books. As proficient and fast as I am, I am sure I seldom put less than 50 hours of work into a book. I estimate I made less than $2 per hour. Any mistake that got by me and the writer had a better than 50/50 chance of making it past the overworked senior editor and into print as well. I estimate that even as perfectionist as I am, one small mistake per 30-50 pages got by me and into print. I think with most editors many more mistakes are not caught. This is why we now see so many editing errors in books and why it won't change.

On the plus side, books that would not have seen print at all a few decades ago now get printed. Good books will stand out even if the editing could have been better. Most books really reflect just the author's vision these days. Gone for the most part is the editor who is going to hack and hack say a Stephen King so that he has to come out with an unedited version of The Stand fifteen years later. (By the way, Stephen King is his own worst critic. I have compared earlier drafts of short stories he wrote to later drafts he himself edited and then published. You wouldn't believe how many changes he makes or what he now thinks is improved writing compared to his earlier effort. Smooth is not always better, but I digress.)

Of the five books I edited I only asked one author to make anything resembling serious content changes to his plot and this was to suggest that nothing was gained by killing off a particular character, his most enigmatic one really, and that a sequel if he were to do one could be with this character as the protagonist would be promising. The novel was a military sci-fi novel with zombies that I somewhat guiltily actually liked the best of the five novels I edited. The author at first disagreed with me, which was fine. I felt my idea was good, but it's his name on the cover as author, so I let it drop. A few days later, the author wrote to say he liked my suggestion after all and made the requested changes resulting in a much better book. Editors who suggest plot changes, especially ones that are actually good, will become an increasing rarity because of the work (for both parties) involved. Successful authors are getting better at getting it right the first time on their own.

What I have read of Millar's writing so far is good, serviceable technique. I have seen nothing outstanding either towards the good or bad in his writing. He blends his dialogue in with his narrative and action sequences very well and is very clear. I seldom have to reread a page to get his meaning, unlike say Kaaron Warren's work, not that I'm being critical of her writing, but it is more challenging. I'm perfectly capable of being critical of bad writing. John Scalzi, for example, is the worst writer in terms of technique I've ever seen who made it big. Martin Millar's writing is fine.


Scott Very interesting! Thanks for expounding.


Scott How is everyone progressing on this?


message 9: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments I put this aside temporarily to read something else. I should take it up again.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments I recently joined this group ... recently as in 5 minutes ago. When will you be discussing this little gem? I'm excited to see a smaller group where horror/werewolf genre is read and discussed.


Scott Welcome, Pamellia! This read is scheduled to end on 9/21, so I suppose at that point we will begin discussing it in its entirety.


message 12: by Dan (last edited Sep 05, 2017 07:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments Hi Pamellia. What a unique name. I have picked the book back up and resumed reading. It is a huge book, and contains lots of good family drama. We can begin discussing the book now, but I would request no spoilers until summer has ended please.

Two things making this book challenging for me:
1) I find it hard to be sympathetic to a protagonist who is a drug addict. Good people who are trying, but have bad things happen to them are the easiest in the world to have sympathy for. Self-harming addicts who (so far) have shown no redeeming personal qualities, not so much.
2) The author gets to 561 pages by rambling. I put the book down temporarily in the first 50 pages because the author rambled on one chapter with some side-character who designs fashionable clothes for a hard to please fashionista diva. Who cares? This has nothing to do with the protagonist (other than that the fashion designer is her sister) or the plot so far as I can see.

Four things that keep me going for now:
1) Short chapters. I get a sense of such accomplishment when I finish one.
2) It's our book of the month. I gotta read it!
3) Interesting family dynamics. Everyone has an opinion about the other family member, and there seems to be good reasons (that is, history) to have those opinions and they are worth exploring.
4) There is a central plot with some suspense. Namely, many family members want to capture and bring the protagonist to justice, or just kill her. A few relatives--she has no friends--sort of don't mind helping her avoid capture. Despite being a brain-addled, self-centered addict who makes nothing but bad choices, like pawning her most valuable assets to get more drugs, she has some interesting fighting capabilities. Will her family succeed in bringing her in? How much does she even care about herself to resist their efforts to do so?


Scott Kalix becomes more likable as the book goes on. I thought she had a really good character arc, actually, though her development might seem slow.

The Fire Queen becomes more important to the story, as well.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments Wow, thank you, Dan and Scott. I'm finishing up Breeds 3 by Keith C. Blackmore, and will most likely start your Book of the Month, then.

I was looking at the list of werewolf books on Goodreads and am disappointed to see a large amount of them seem to be romances. Well, yulk!! I normally do not care for romances. Any way, so far haven't seen the Breeds trilogy, but I haven't gotten through the whole list.

The Fire Queen should interesting!!


Scott Pamellia, I felt the exact same way when I looked at that list. There's also a bunch of Twilight on there... I'm aware that there are werewolves in there somewhere, but isn't it mostly about vampires? If you know of anything that isn't on the list, please do add it. I added as many as I could think of, even a few that I haven't read (which I don't normally do) just so that other people might discover them.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments Scott wrote: "Pamellia, I felt the exact same way when I looked at that list. There's also a bunch of Twilight on there... I'm aware that there are werewolves in there somewhere, but isn't it mostly about vampir..."

Yes, Scott, I will add the Breed trilogy and one I don't remember the name, but it's very good...Moon over the city or something like that. I read it in another group.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments Started this one last night. So far so good!! Wish I didn't need to clean house today, otherwise I would read all day...hmm...maybe I will clean tonight.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments 35% in which I think puts me around page 200. I have a question and don't know if others will be reading so spoiler alert! (view spoiler)

Additionally I thought the editing was lacking. At first I didn't notice any issues, but now it's as if someone was adding typos. Desert instead of dessert? And what about beta readers? Cost no more than a copy of the book. When my goal was to read every zombie story published for kindle I was in a world of bad writing, grammar, editing...so I decided early on if the story was worth the effort.


Scott The clothing issue is addressed later in the book.

Yes, there are numerous typos in the book, probably due to it being from a small press publisher. I wouldn't hold it against the author, though.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments Scott wrote: "The clothing issue is addressed later in the book.

Yes, there are numerous typos in the book, probably due to it being from a small press publisher. I wouldn't hold it against the author, though."


I guess I don't hold the typos, etc against the author...but then who is ultimately responsible for the book. I believe it is the author. If it were a piece of music I had written and I made a mistake and editing didn't catch it and the music was published that way, I might want to blame the publisher, but it ultimately would be my fault, in my opinion.


message 21: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments Pamellia wrote: "I guess I don't hold the typos, etc against the author...but then who is ultimately responsible for the book."

I noticed some of the many typos too, about one per eight pages I estimate. I sort of addressed the reasons why in my long-winded message #6 above. I think it would be a misunderstanding of responsibilities to place the blame on the author. Writing fiction is a different skill than editing or even proofreading. Some of the best writers of the English language in history can't spell, are grammatically incorrect, and are too absent-minded to pay attention long enough to proofread a paragraph, much less a book. These authors are still very much worth reading.

I place the blame at the feet of the publisher. The smaller ones pay editors next to nothing. Editors at small (or online, same thing) publishers typically work for less than half minimum wage, significantly less if they're conscientious. Many of those editors are either unqualified to edit themselves, or they are being paid so little per hour they don't bother to seriously try to catch everything, or read any text twice. All that said, for every page that has an error, I promise the editor caught and corrected at least 19 others. You truly wouldn't believe how error-filled an author's submitted text is. Very few authors proofread their own text well, or are any good at it even if they try. They don't have to be in order to be published.


Scott Even if you have perfect spelling and grammar you are still going to make mistakes while writing. And when you proof your own writing, you often see what you want or expect to see, not what's really there. That's why editors exist.

I wouldn't give the author a pass if the writing itself was poor, but that's not the case here.


message 23: by Pamellia (last edited Sep 12, 2017 07:32AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments I'm not saying the author can't be a good writer and make a lot of mistakes for one reason or another. But I do feel the author is ultimately responsible for his own work. I think the only exception to that is publications after the author's death and then his material just gets basterized beyond belief!

Also it makes no difference to me how much someone is or is not paid. If one agrees to do a job then one should do their very best. When I beta read I do not receive any payment, but I do the best job I can. Actually I have always received a free unedited copy of the book, but I have never received anything that was just full of errors...probably less errors than is what I am reading in our current read.


Scott Don't ever read anything published by Cemetery Dance.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments Scott wrote: "Don't ever read anything published by Cemetery Dance."

Oops! Too late! Already have 😲


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments So The Fire Queen is an elemental. Interesting. Puts me in mind of the late Michael MacDonald's The Elementals. A Valancourt treasure. While not my favorite story of his, it's still worth mentioning. I can't help marrying these two worlds in my mind (that of The Elementals and Lonely WW Girl) and in doing that I believe I am finding our Malveria even more interesting...not interesting...so out of character from what I know of elementals. Now I am wondering if Valancourt has uncovered any werewolf stories. I will check into that now.


message 27: by Dan (last edited Sep 15, 2017 11:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments Malveria is my first elemental. I like the humor in that her personality seems absolutely ditzy and yet she's so militarily capable and ruthless off screen. Malveria has made me more interested in the fashion world than I ever thought I could be. I've even come to care about who is stealing Thrix's designs, and how.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments Dan wrote: "Malveria is my first elemental. I like the humor in that her personality seems absolutely ditzy and yet she's so militarily capable and ruthless off screen. Malveria has made me more interested in ..."

Where are you in the book, Dan? There is an explanation why these elementals are so into fashion and, indeed, gossip.

I'm still not sure how much I am liking or not liking this book. I've been reading several reviews to see if I might be like minded with some of my peers. So far, I'm not seeing it. I"m a little over 85% now.


Scott Cracks me up how Malveria always addresses Vex..."Detestable niece", etc.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments Scott wrote: "Cracks me up how Malveria always addresses Vex..."Detestable niece", etc."

Oh yes. Malveria is quit the character.


message 31: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments Approaching page 300 and loving it. I just have limited time I can apply to reading.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments I have finished and I wouldn't say I loved it. Wrote a review, but will most likely rewrite it....I was pressured by kindle.


Scott Don't be a slave to technology!


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments Scott wrote: "Don't be a slave to technology!"

LOL!! Yes, that's me...a slave to technology


Scott I just found the sequel in a secondhand bookstore!


message 36: by Dan (last edited Oct 18, 2017 02:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments I noticed it's a trilogy (so far). The ratings go up from book to book, but that's to be expected. I mean, why would you read the second if you didn't like the first? Pamelia, for example, won't be rating the second book, I bet dollars to donuts, but we will.


Scott I almost always like the first book the best.

You still haven't shared your thoughts, Dan!


message 38: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments Actually, I did in my review of the book, which was short (especially for me), and which you "liked". I plan to some day beef up that review by transferring comments I made during the reading here in this group to the review.


Scott Ah, true, I was just looking forward to discussion here. No worries.


message 40: by Dan (last edited Oct 18, 2017 05:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 189 comments Oh, I get it now.

I really liked the book. Rated it 5 stars, and I don't give many books such high marks, especially ones I've read recently because of my higher and higher standards.

This one had it all, including Scotland history, even if completely fictional. With the large cast of characters it almost read like a Nigel Tranter novel. I am glad I kept a character chart, as I have to when I read a Tranter novel as well.

I also liked all of the characters, imperfect as they were, though even by the end of the novel I liked the titular protagonist the least. Regarding her oldest brother, I really would have preferred to see him win the leadership role. I identified with him. As the oldest sibling in my family, I didn't appreciate the younger one trying to usurp my perquisites either, and I also don't have much regard for keeping up with the latest trends and dressing fashionably. The oldest brother is also the type of dependable, predictable, and competent person I'd much rather have on my side in a fight with enemies and rival factions.

Other reviewers of this book say Martin Millar is repetitious. He is long-winded and can move slowly sometimes, but I recall no parts where he repeated himself. He offered a lot of illustrations of characters' traits. If you offer more than one example that shows the same character trait, I suppose this could be redundant, but such scenes seemed to have another purpose that moved the plot.

Anyway, I am really glad this book is just the first in a series. These characters are rich enough to sustain more stories. In a month or two I will read the next book in this series.


Pamellia (michiganparents) | 43 comments Dan wrote: "I noticed it's a trilogy (so far). The ratings go up from book to book, but that's to be expected. I mean, why would you read the second if you didn't like the first? Pamelia, for example, won't be..."

I don't know about that Dan...the more I think about the book, the more I like it. I did really enjoy the Scotish connection. I do, however, recall some silliness going on. Like that queen from the other dimension...but then again, I kind of enjoyed that queen. So who knows, I may just find the time to read the next book.


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