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The Most Unlikely Beginnings
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message 1: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Maltman (jamiemaltman) | 156 comments Mod
The Most Unlikely Beginnings by K.P. Merriweather
The Most Unlikely Beginnings
by K.P. Merriweather

Genre: Science Fiction/Action Adventure

Blurb: James Russell is just an ordinary desk jockey grinding away at a dead-end job with dreams of becoming a highly paid computer programmer. When he decides to duck out the office for an early lunch break, everything changes through an event of sheer chance -- he obtains a mysterious power called The Signet! Now gifted with the most powerful weapon in the universe, James learns that the fate of his planet rests on his shoulders. Struggling between coming to grips with his newfound skills, battling alien assassins, dealing with foxy women and not losing his job, James realizes the hard way that the only way to get his life back normal is to fight for it... that is if he lives long enough!

Excerpt link: http://www.majestikmultimedia.com/sig...


message 2: by Sue (last edited Nov 15, 2014 12:50PM) (new)

Sue Perry | 175 comments VOTE: thumbs down, for now.

NOTE: I went over all this quickly, as I would when considering any new author. Consequently, I may have missed or misunderstood something.

COVER: What's missing from the cover - and needs to be there - is the humor that the blurb and excerpt convey. I recall, with fondness, my kids' Pokemon cards - those drawings had a sense of humor. Also, is this series called "Signet" or "The Signet"? (Why does blurb use the latter while the cover uses the former?)

BLURB: Good blurb! It gives me a feel for the book. I like the tone, I like the level of detail. I wanted an extra phrase that lets me know how James feels about his new power and lifestyle.

EXCERPT: I enjoyed James' character, he's complex and unpredictable and kind of an ass. But you need to reconsider your opening sentence and first several pages. The book starts too slowly and I fear you will lose readers with all that detail about his boring job. Start with something interesting, then scatter reduced boring details later.

For example, you might consider starting with your current page 6 e.g. "Rumors around the water cooler had it that the park existed to give employees who couldn't take it anymore a space to shoot themselves. This morning had made it clear why Parsons and Parker was mostly famous for its employee suicide rate." ... and then throw in a few of the details from previous pages... and then bring in the accented voice, which is when things really start to move.

Your writing - in the excerpt and the blurb - proves you are capable of a more grabbing opener.


message 3: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments thanks for your comments! woot you understand James to the letter. a lot of people were turned off by the dude. lolz

the book gets okay ratings because of the MC. anyways i wish i had someone more critical went i sent it off to review 2 years ago. if i had known that i would've rewritten the opening to a faster pace.


message 4: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments i commissioned the cover art and that's what she came with after reading the synopsis. i didn't have much choice and after sinking that much cash for custom art i ran with it. -_-


message 5: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments yeah the setup was to show james in his usual element before his life drastically changes. it's been in print for a long while now would these radical changes affect the book where i have to make a new edition?


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Thumbs up from me.
The Cover: I have to agree, it doesn't feel right. It reminds me a bit of Astro Boy, so I would be expecting something YA-ish.

The Blurb: My only complaint would be the exclamation mark. Other than that, it's catchy.

The Excerpt: My only confusion is where and when this is. I get an eighties vibe from the mention of break dancing and discotheques, but the computer speak makes me think early nineties.
Like Sue, I got that we weren't supposed to immediately like James, but that he is interesting enough that we want to follow through and see what happens. This also reminded me of The Green Lantern somewhat. At least, the guy from space saying 'join us' and marking him did.
The writing is good, the pace works for me, and the premise is interesting. I would definitely read more.


message 7: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments thanks for the comments and lolz yeah you're not the first to notice that. (the timeframe is supposed to be an alternate 1986. ) there is a lot of hidden geeky stuff in there if you know where to look (someone who reviewed it in the past took time to find them all wtf. he was persistent . XD ) we decided to keep its quirkiness as it was. it might irk people but i didn't think it was important to slap a date on there - then i'd have history to contend with. getting the science right took all of my time.


message 8: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments i know the cover! such dissonance! i paid 300$ and after 4 revisions that was the best i got. sob...


message 9: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments lolz! never read green lantern... gotta check it out sometime


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
I wondered if this was an alternate timeline!


message 11: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments lolz you got a good eye Christina!


message 12: by Sue (new)

Sue Perry | 175 comments It is tough to feel at the mercy of a designer and it often seems to happen. Fortunately, this is not a bad cover it just doesn't quite capture the book. As for new editions - I wouldn't think that was needed for a few pages worth of revision but of course your first step is to do nothing until you amass more comments. My reaction could be an outlier.


message 13: by Sue (new)

Sue Perry | 175 comments It is tough to feel at the mercy of a designer and it often seems to happen. Fortunately, this is not a bad cover it just doesn't quite capture the book. As for new editions - I wouldn't think that was needed for a few pages worth of revision but of course your first step is to do nothing until you amass more comments. My reaction could be an outlier.


message 14: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments well the series is a send up to pulpy sci fi novels (in this case poking fun at 80s superhero storylines that was popular in comics). that's the reason for the painted cover and the writing style.


message 15: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments no prob at all sue i just now realize the concept would be lost on most readers


message 16: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments It's tough to parody a genre that was so fond of its own extremes. Like trying to parody Monty Python.


message 17: by Sue (new)

Sue Perry | 175 comments Richard 2060 wrote: "It's tough to parody a genre that was so fond of its own extremes. Like trying to parody Monty Python."

That is something I never imagined but now want to see.


message 18: by Ryan (last edited Nov 18, 2014 12:30PM) (new)

Ryan Guy Feedback on the blurb:
I am always in favor of saying thing in as few words as possible without sacrificing clarity.

I took out a few words which, to me, didn't add anything to the blurb. (a couple of thats, just, decided to).

I also took out the part about him struggling not to lose his job. If I was gifted with the "most powerful weapon in the universe" and learned the fate of the planet rested on my shoulders, the last thing on my mind would be keeping my dead-end job. Besides, ending with "foxy women" sounds way more interesting.

I also took out the part about him learning the "hard way". To me it was too vague in the blurb. I don't know enough yet to know what the "hard way" is insinuating.

Blurb: James Russell is an ordinary desk jockey grinding away at a dead-end job with dreams of becoming a highly paid computer programmer. When he ducks out the office for an early lunch break, an event of sheer chance changes everything. He obtains a mysterious power called The Signet. Now gifted with the most powerful weapon in the universe, James learns the fate of his planet rests on his shoulders. Struggling between coming to grips with his newfound skills, battling alien assassins and dealing with foxy women, James realizes the only way to get his life back to normal is to fight for it-- that is if he lives long enough!


message 19: by K.P. (last edited Nov 19, 2014 01:52PM) (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments Ryan wrote: "Feedback on the blurb:
I am always in favor of saying thing in as few words as possible without sacrificing clarity..."


Thanks for tightening it up further. I had a blurb critique before and that (current) was the best rewrite (?!). -_- geh can't win em all... i'll update it once i get on a puter

hey gotta keep some kind of job to pay for partying with foxy ladies lolz


message 20: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments I have to say I've been on the fence about this one for a few days.

Cover: I don't like it at all. You said you went to someone with a description of your book and they custom made it for you. Did you get any input in it at all?

Blurb: I like Ryan's take on the blurb. You're right that it's much tighter.

Excerpt: I'm giving it a thumb's up because I liked the excerpt and would want to read more.


message 21: by K.P. (last edited Nov 19, 2014 04:43PM) (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments Yeah i got input. I gave her plenty to work with. So im not sure what the problem is of why the cover is disliked so. Everyone i showed it to (magazine editor, college art department, comic store, local book store buyer, librarian) thought it was cool. Only on GR i got the most shade (???). But meh i guess it only looks good in print lolz. The same artist did The Viewer! and its art got good remarks (?????) So im not understanding the disconnect...

in regards to astro boy, never read it (blasphemous i know!)


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
K.P. wrote: "Yeah i got input. I gave her plenty to work with. So im not sure what the problem isof why the cover is disliked. Everyone i showed it to (magazine editor, college art department, comic store, loc..."

Blame Astro Boy for my shade. ;)
Honestly, the art is good, I just think it isn't representative of what I read.


message 23: by K.P. (last edited Nov 19, 2014 05:56PM) (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments Lolz it's all good. Art is subjective and what you think is cool someone else dumps haterade. :D artists are a weird bunch. Distilling a synopsis into something "cool" is vague at best and gives the artist a lot of leeway into what they feel best represents the overall subject. I couldnt draw the style i wanted hence hiring out someone.


message 24: by Richard (new)

Richard | 490 comments Mod
The Most Unlikely Beginnings: thumbs down.

Cover: I've been trying to figure out what it is about this cover, because it's puzzling - although I do (sort of) like it. The guy does have a Huck Finn-style straw hat on his head (you know how it is, once you see something like that it's impossible to unsee it again). Or perhaps it's the flames: James looks like he's soaring towards the top left, while the flames make it look as if he's plummeting to the bottom right. On the other hand, there's plenty about it I like: I love the colours, and the comic-book superhero idea is right too. So is it, maybe, the title and author name: the font looks straight sci-fi rather than pulp fiction - should they be done in a more in-your-face comic-book style ("Pow!!" "Wham!!!" etc)? Or maybe in those rectangular speech-boxes they use in comics ("The Most Unlikely Beginnings!!!!..." box top right, "...by K. P. Merriweather!!?!" bottom left)?

Blurb: By contrast, the blurb is dead-on, a lot packed into a short piece which sums up the feel of the book.

Sample: The reason for the thumbs down is the writing - I just found it difficult to follow (and there were one or two sentences I simply couldn't make head or tail of at all, e.g. "the faint crept up came quickly, blotting out James's surroundings"). I know it's a send-up of superhero pulp fiction though - and there's probably a lot of slang in it too which is just going clean over my head - and everyone else here who's read it likes it, so it's probably me who deserves the thumbs down, rather than the book.


message 25: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments sorry the pulp was too much richard! i understand that style of writing hasnt been popular since 54 (wut?!). so i'm definitely fighting an uphill battle with modern readers. i blame old books from a college prep academy growing up lolz. a lot of books i read no one would recognize nor be able to find! XD


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Read and reviewed. I got stuck on a few of the alternate timeline things that seemed too close to things I remember from my own youth. I'm quite curious to know what style music Powerline is supposed to be because the names of those songs were just a teensy bit too obvious. :)
My rwview:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 27: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments thanks! and the song names were supposed to be a tad obvious. you have a good eye! :D


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
With a name like Powerline, I was expecting they might sound either really funked out or more rock. Now that I think about it, an over the top funk version of Thriller might be interesting. Or very terrible.


message 29: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments lolz! depends how stank the funk is.... :D parliment/funkadelic comes to mind ;)


message 30: by K.P. (last edited Mar 11, 2015 06:50AM) (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments Christina, I see what you did there XD lolz i just realised the bond reference. lolz so you noticed the so beautiful its a curse i threw in there to offset the blessed with suck. awesome. my aim was to poke fun at those pulpy adventure novels where the hero can do no wrong. like this spy adventure thriller i've once read (title escapes me atm argh) most gave it poor scores but i thought the romp was meant to put a magnifying glass on the genre (but if it was serious, then it was the most trope filled schlock in the genre. *shrugs* dunno....)


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Well, naming him James was the perfect set up. ;)
I love poking fun at tropes and I love James Bond, despite his being the hero who can do no wrong and being 'cursed' with good looks. (I actually easter egg something about Bond into all of my books)
But I kind of wanted to shake a few of your ladies and be like, "Live your life, girl! You don't need this guy!" :)


message 32: by K.P. (last edited Mar 11, 2015 08:29AM) (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments Lolz! Yes, done on purpose. And yes, I put stock in names meaning something (so there is a method to my madness hahaha).

As an aside, if you really want my incessant ramblings on how my mind works for some convoluted reason when it comes to churning out these doorstoppers (again, thanks for putting up with it. how brave!), really don't ask. You'll be better off not knowing how and why I do what I do.

But in the end, one of em gets a clue (I hope I didn't make her come across as too airheaded. I was aiming for more absent-minded...) =^_^= one reviewer got upset when that happened, (in a good way) and I was like "yay, I'm doing my job. The reader was emotionally invested in my characters to actually want to punch James. Hard. In the balls." XD


message 33: by Ken (last edited Mar 11, 2015 09:16AM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Christina wrote: "Well, naming him James was the perfect set up. ;)
I love poking fun at tropes and I love James Bond, despite his being the hero who can do no wrong and being 'cursed' with good looks. (I actually e..."


If you love stories that poke fun at James Bond or other spy stuff with an invincible hero, James Coburn, one of my favorite actors, made a couple of movies in the 1960s revolving around such a character, named Derek Flint. The movies were "In Like Flint," and "Our Man Flint," both box-office hits. These movies inspired the Mike Myers's character, Austin Powers. I don't think I've seen any Austin Powers movies, but I remember that I liked the Flint movies a lot. Of course, I was young at the time...


message 34: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments i beat you to it ken :D i have seen them thrice now on the telly when they air. hadnt recorded it yet nor got my mitts on a dvd if any


message 35: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments previous post was in regards to the flint films not austin powers (already own them on dvd lolz)


message 36: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) K.P. wrote: "i beat you to it ken :D i have seen them thrice now on the telly when they air. hadnt recorded it yet nor got my mitts on a dvd if any"

Haven't seen those movies in years, but would love to go back and take a look. Just found one on Youtube.


message 37: by Hákon (new)

Hákon Gunnarsson | 283 comments Never seen the Flint movies, but I think I should, I always thought Coburn was such a cool actor. But I've seen all the Austin Powers and James Bond movies, even the american TV movie where it was not James, but Jimmy Bond.


message 38: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) To me James Bond was always Sean Connery. Stopped watching when it became Roger Moore. And I also think Coburn, along with Bogart, were two of the coolest actors who ever lived.


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
I'm going to have to look those up now. The names sound so familiar.

KP, I should also note that I loved the whole "Hey, I have superpowers! No idea what they do, but I'm totally awesome!" Very realistic. I'm sure if I was hit with gamma rays or bitten by a radioactive spider, I would spend a good long time just goofing off and freaking out before I even attempted to play hero.


message 40: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments lolz! christina you get a cookie. now i can crack open a bottle of celebratory sangria. you are the *first* reader who finally got the core of the story i was trying to convey . (i got sick of the same old superhero story, so i thought what if a normal dude suddenly gets dumped a fantastic power? and for a change of pace lets make him a jerkass. ) im sincerely happy right now. =^_^= \m/


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Yes! My superpowers are working! :D


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