Yesterday, I got notification of a new review of my novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom. When I finished enjoying it (because it was by someone who really enjoyed the book), I glanced at my email, and lo, there was another new review.
So I clicked over to it, ready to enjoy, only to find the closest thing to a bad review I’ve gotten yet (out of nearly twenty).
It’s an interesting bit of happenstance that these reviews appeared at pretty much the same time, because they are from two very distinct viewpoints: that of someone who knows and loves pulp adventure stories, and that of someone who isn’t familiar with pulp and seems not to care for it. Continue reading
My latest interview is with Lisa at Enchanting YA:
I love adventure stories. Always have.
I was recently thinking about this very question, about why this is the sort of thing that my mind comes up with (as opposed to, say, suburban divorce stories), and it occurred to me that most adventure tales are tales of optimism. The heroes face difficulties, and almost always manage to overcome them. Adventure stories are usually considered escapism, a retreat from our daily reality, but I think instead they actually motivate us subconsciously to engage reality. They give us models of perseverance and hope.
The rest is here.
Bill Crider, a well-regarded novelist writing mainly in the mystery genre, but not exclusively, provides the latest review of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom. Something tells me he’s a longtime pulp fan like me:
Looking for a Doc Savage pastiche and a Lovecraftian adventure all in one? Look no further. Tim Byrd has it for you right here. Doctor Spartacus Wilde and his two kids, Brian and Wren, are plunged into action almost from page one when they learn of the disappearance of Grandpa Wilde. They go from the top of what’s obviously the Empire State Building to the South American jungle, tangling with all kinds of weird frogs, not to mention frog-men, along the way…
It’s all in good fun, and you should know by now if this is your kind of thing. If it is, you’re probably already waiting for the sequels, which should come along very soon.
The whole piece is here.
rating: 3 of 5 stars
Far from King’s best. It was an engaging enough story, with some creative (if cartoonish) elements, but if ever there was a book crying out for the Reader’s Digest Condensed Book treatment (which is something I generally despise), it was this one. Nearly 800 pages used to tell a story that really should have been told in 300-400 at most. Way too much incidental detail, too much authorial wool-gathering.
Old Bat’s Belfry, which earlier reviewed my book, has now posted an unusual interview with me, with decidedly non-standard questions:
What quirky habit do you have that often gets you teased by your peers or family?
Well, being a writer, and not having to report anywhere to do my job, I am routinely derelict about shaving. So I maintain varying levels of scruffiness, sometimes all the way up to what many call a beard, but I deny that, telling them it’s not, it’s just a really deep five o’clock shadow. I don’t like beards. They itch and they’re soup magnets.
For the rest, go here.
A new review of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom has been posted, this time at Enchanting YA:
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM, but the story quickly drew me in within a few pages. Immensely detailed, it soon felt like I was on the trail of Grandpa Wilde right along with the family. The mystery element was strong throughout the entire book and the characters of Doc Wilde and family are bigger than life…An interesting start to what should be a very entertaining series, readers looking for something different will no doubt enjoy this tale.
The rest is here.
For the writers among you, or anyone just curious about all the ins-and-outs of the publishing business, I highly recommend a longish essay called “The Truth About Publishing” by Australian writer Ian Irvine.
It’s very comprehensive, and I’m not too proud to say I learned a lot from it that I didn’t know.
Here’s Ian on the statistical odds of getting a book published: Continue reading
I did a short interview with MOVParent.com, the website of Parent Magazine, and think it came out pretty well…
MOVPARENT: If you could go back in time and tell your high school/middle school self one thing, what would it be?
BYRD: “Keep your eyes on the prize and write, write, write.”
I decided to be a writer when I was five; forty years later, my first book is coming out. I procrastinated, put lots of time into things I didn’t get much satisfaction out of, and didn’t have enough faith in myself. So I’d encourage the younger me to get on task a lot sooner so he wouldn’t have to struggle quite so much, or at least could struggle instead to build a longer writing career.
The full piece is here.
I love this review of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, from Mulluane at Old Bat’s Belfry…
The fun with this book starts with the front cover and does not stop until the very last page!
How can I not love this review? It was love at first sight!
…There is more then just nonstop action and adventure in this story, though it has those in spades, it is also educational. There are explanations for everything from nanotechnology to meditation techniques. This book was written for the 10+ age group and while I agree that some of the educational portions of the book (I loved those by the way) might be lost on younger kids, I still kept having the same vision. I kept seeing myself reading this book to my grandkids, who are 5 and 6 years old. Not them reading it themselves mind you, but me reading it to them, a few chapters at a time, explaining things myself if needed. They might not understand some of the more technical aspects but it would not matter, they would LOVE the story! And, possibly learn a few things along the way. This book would be perfect for bedtime reading, the chapters are short and there are plenty of cliffhanger chapter endings to keep them begging for “just one more chapter…pleeeese…” You may find that you have a hard time putting it down yourself!…
…It was perfect. Fast paced, fun, entertaining and even I learned a few things in the process. There was also a touching family quality to the whole thing that was priceless. It was one of those rare books that leaves you feeling really good once it is done. What a great story and a great way to end my day.
There’s more to it than that, so go read it here. How can you not? It’s a very loveable review…
I just had an epiphany. Continue reading
There’s a good short piece in the Seattle Times about the ethical/emotional lives of dogs. It’s not going to provide any groundbreaking insight to anyone who has ever lived with a dog, but it’s a nice break from the usual Cartesian philosophy that animals are guided entirely by instinct and have no emotions.
One thing I was very interested to find out:
“Dogs apparently laugh,” Page said. The same brain structures show the same activity in laughing humans and in dogs that are enjoying themselves. A dog’s laugh is a rhythmic pant.
I know that pant. You naturally know it means happy, but I had no idea it’s actual laughter, physiologically speaking.
Go here to read.
Here is a wonderful short animated film by UCLA student Joaquin Baldwin. It’s visually amazing, and the story is very moving.
The latest review of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is up at Reading Junky’s Reading Roost. It’s kinda spoilery, so I’ll just quote the important part:
DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM offers non-stop excitement, terrific special effects, and tons of science/geek information.
Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom came out last Thursday (May 14th).
Reviews continue to be AWESOME.
Friday evening, I did a reading at Glennwood Academy, the local 4th/5th grade school. I used to do a bit of acting, and in my twenties was a semi-pro storyteller for a couple of years, but this was my first public speaking event in years. I was anxious about it. I fumbled a bit. The kids didn’t mind; they were a mass of bubbling enthusiasm. And they loved the book.
Also, a good friend sent a gift with her daughter, who’s a Glennwood student: a package of quite tasty cookies shaped like frogs.
Saturday evening, we had the debut event at Little Shop of Stories, here in Decatur, GA.
At first it seemed the turnout might be small. Heck, at first it seemed there’d be no turnout. The weather was wettish, a good number of the local 4th and 5th graders had already seen me at Glennwood, and as anyone looking at the storefront would know, Rick Riordan (a kids’ book superstar) was gonna be here Monday. If folks were gonna turn out for me and my little first book or him this week, it wasn’t gonna be me. (And, indeed, apparently there were hundreds of people at his signing).
Then people started arriving. And then, we had a fairly good crowd. It was mostly adults, probably an unusual bunch for this store, and they were mostly people who knew about the signing from Facebook or my blog. Many were buying extra copies for kids in their lives, though.
Among the kids was a delightful girl named Emily, who was was there with her parents; she’d won an ARC (advance reading copy) of the book somewhere, and had fallen in love with it. She said she’d have read it in a single sitting except bedtime got in the way (I of course said she should’ve gotten out the flashlight). I’ve now heard from several girls who read and loved the book, which is heartening, because a lot of folks peg it as a boy’s book, but I think it’s great for both.
We had one tiny beautiful baby with huge cornflower blue eyes, carried by a couple of old friends. The marvelous writer/artist Elizabeth O. Dulemba was there with her husband. I saw old friends (some I hadn’t seen in years), made several new ones.
Because I’d been sort of nervous and fumbly at Glennwood, I’d been even more anxious about this event. But this time, once I was introduced and started talking, the stage fright vanished and I was as comfortable as I used to be back in my storytelling days.
I read the first five chapters and everyone was responsive and enthusiastic. Then I took questions, which took a lot longer than I’d expected because there were a lot of them. It all felt good. Really good.
Then we moved to the other end of the room and I signed everyone’s books.
A bowl of green gummi frogs was on the table. I’d gotten a rubber-stamp of a wicked looking frog and I stamped its sneaky smirk into each book.
A revisionary (and, from the looks of it, amazingly entertaining) take on Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson. Directed by Guy “Snatch” Richie!