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Old 01-25-2013, 02:57 PM   #1
sufue
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Self-pubbed continuations of previously print-published series

This thread, if it becomes a thread and not just my three or four posts, is meant to discuss/recommend self-pubbed continuations to previously print-published series. And maybe, to keep it from being ridiculously narrow, this could also be a place to discuss self-pubbed books similar (i.e. same genre or style) to previously print-published books by a particular author, even if not clearly in a “series”.

The idea for this came to me while reading the “Mystery Freebies” thread in the “Deals” forum, when the OP of that thread said that she wouldn’t like to see self-pubbed continuations to previously print-published series in her thread, and I thought, “but wait a minute, me, I WOULD like to hear about such books!”

I find that my tastes don’t always necessarily mesh with what big publishers seem to think is viable, and so series sometimes get ended too soon – at least IMO. Now that authors can self-pub, some of these previously defunct series are being continued, but it can be hard to find out about the new self-pubbed titles and whether they are really any good.

To provide a bit of a filter on the huge amount of self-pubbed stuff out there, I would like to ask that the poster have actually read the book, or at least a good chunk of the book, as well as at least one other in the series (or other similar books by the author), so they can provide at least a teeny bit of a review of the book and how it compares to others in the series. I’m going to post a few recommendations that I can think of, and then if others want to participate, cool. And, if not, this will just dwindle away into the land of unread posts!

[edit] BTW, although this started in the "Mystery" part of the "Deals" forum, I don't mean it to be just for mystery series or authors - all genres welcome as far as I'm concerned...

Last edited by sufue; 01-25-2013 at 06:40 PM. Reason: add clarificatio
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:02 PM   #2
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Bodies Politic & No Cause for Concern in the Marcus Corvinus series by David Wishart

No Cause for Concern and the ebook version of Bodies Politic are self-pubbed continuations of the Marcus Corvinus historical mystery series by David Wishart – numbers 13 and 14 in the series by my count. Bodies Politic was briefly print-published by Plashmill Press (?), but there was some sort of messy situation, and the author somehow managed to get digital rights, and so the ebook is self-pubbed. Bodies Politic is a full length novel. No Cause for Concern is much shorter - to me it’s more of a novella. But it does continue the story line nicely.

This series is a sort of take-it-or-leave-it series – I suspect you’re either going to love it or hate it. The main character, Marcus Corvinus, is a sort of wise-cracking Roman from the time of Tiberius onward towards the end of the Julio-Claudians. I like the wise-cracks – I figure there were probably both wise-crackers and poets back then just as there are today. But one of my friends really hated the style. I also love the descriptions of the places and times – when we visited Rome a few years ago, I felt like I already knew my way around.

There are two sorts of books in the series – some are very political (Ovid, Germanicus, Sejanus) and some are more light-hearted (Food for the Fishes, A Vote for Murder – the scene with Dassa the sheep at the end of Vote is IMO priceless). I slightly prefer the political ones, but overall like them all a lot.

Now, about the self-pubbed ones. I liked both of these, aside from the fact that No Cause for Concern is pretty short. I felt they both ran true to the form of the previous books in the series. I noticed a few typos, but I’ve noticed a few typos in e-books by major publishers too. The writing didn’t feel noticeably looser, and Corvinus and others retain their same characters.

If you haven’t read any of the earlier ones in the series, I suggest you start with the beginning (Ovid) and see if you like the style, which is quite distinctive. If you have read some in the series, and liked them, you’ll probably like the self-pubbed ones. And, of course, the converse is true too – if you didn’t like others in the series, you probably won’t like these.

And, just as an aside, I took a look at the author’s website, and he has announced that he has signed with Severn House to do two more books in the series, with the next, Solid Citizens, coming out in October 2013. So these may be the only self-pubbed ones in the series for a while.

Last edited by sufue; 01-25-2013 at 05:39 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:09 PM   #3
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Tribute of Death in the Yaotl mystery series by Simon Levack

Tribute of Death is a self-e-pubbed fourth book in the Yaotl Aztec mystery series, set in the time right before the conquistadores showed up. It was previously print-published many years ago, although I didn’t realize this until I just looked right now, by a print-on-demand (?) press, but I think it sort of sank. I had not seen or heard of it until it became available as a self-pubbed ebook a couple of years ago. The first three books in the series were all published by major publishers and the first one, Demon of the Air, won a Debut Dagger award.

The Yaotl series was intriguing for me to read because it is set in a time and place not usually chosen for historical mysteries. The setting and culture can be a bit hard to take. There’s lots of bloodshed – and blood shed – in the service of the gods, in addition to the odd murder or two, and if you can’t get over that, you probably won’t like these books. But Levack handles it pretty well, IMO, and Yaotl is a great protagonist with a keen mind and a couple of (nearly) fatal flaws to make him human. As I write a couple of these reviews, I’m discovering that a big part of what I tend to like about historical novels is the sense of time and place, and this series gets that across very well – I really felt like I was poling along the waterways of Tenochtitlan or gazing up at the pyramids with their temples on top.

Now for the (semi-) self-pubbed fourth book, Tribute of Death. I felt this continued the characters and the general story line quite well. The writing seemed a bit less “tight” than the previous three books, but I wasn’t too distracted by it, since, as mentioned above, I was largely into the setting and time. I did see some production problems with font sizes that seemed to just vary willy-nilly throughout, but those were somehow magically fixed somehow in the process of running it through Calibre and to the fbreader app on my Android phone. YMMV! As with the Corvinus series in the previous post, if you liked any of the earlier ones in this series, you’ll probably like this one, and if you didn’t, you probably won’t…

And, BTW, Tribute of Death is only 99 cents at Amazon US. It’s much more at BN.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:21 PM   #4
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Bloody Twist in the Lupe Solano series by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera

I debated for a while before adding this one, but decided I narrowly came down on the side of recommending it.

Bloody Twist is seventh in the Lupe Solano chick lit/P.I. series set in Miami, self-pubbed (or at least very small-press-pubbed) after a hiatus of many years. Although I’m not a princess, and not really usually into chick lit, I enjoyed the earlier books in the series when they came out in paper. I especially liked Lupe’s antics as she tried to combine being a pampered Cuban-American from a wealthy family with being a private investigator.

I was happy to find Bloody Twist, but somewhat less happy after I read it. Somehow it felt to me as if this book were trying a bit too hard to be funny and cute, maybe even arch, rather than letting it happen naturally. The whole thing felt forced to me, enough that it got a little in the way of my enjoyment.

I think if you really loved the first books in the Lupe Solano series, you might still like this book, so I’m putting in a sort of tepid recommendation for it. But for me it came down pretty much in the middle – I could have taken it or left it.

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Old 01-26-2013, 03:41 AM   #5
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Thanks for the recommendations, Sufue! I'm tempted to try he David Wishart series, in particular. I must say that you've picked a very difficult sub-genre to be infatuated with-- mysteries taking place in both a different time, and a different culture.
I'm usually somewhat intimidated by such a combination. It seems like the author must be very good to keep true to both a time shift and a culture shift, and still manage to make it accessible to a reader who may not have previous familiarity with either. I do enjoy tackling one or the other (radically different period, or culture), but can only think of a few that did both. When an author manages to do both well, and tell an interesting story on top of it, it's quite a feat.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:55 AM   #6
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Historical whodunnits are a very popular genre, Kent. There's a very large number of such books around.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:01 AM   #7
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Just a comment to say 'Thank you.'

This is being done with class. Bravo! I like the fact that you emphasize the reading of the book (or a major portion of the book) before making a recommendation, which - after all - is the reason for the post to begin with.



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Old 01-26-2013, 09:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KentE View Post
Thanks for the recommendations, Sufue! I'm tempted to try he David Wishart series, in particular. I must say that you've picked a very difficult sub-genre to be infatuated with-- mysteries taking place in both a different time, and a different culture.
I'm usually somewhat intimidated by such a combination. It seems like the author must be very good to keep true to both a time shift and a culture shift, and still manage to make it accessible to a reader who may not have previous familiarity with either. I do enjoy tackling one or the other (radically different period, or culture), but can only think of a few that did both. When an author manages to do both well, and tell an interesting story on top of it, it's quite a feat.
KentE
Definitely just try one of the Wishart books first, if you decide to try. The wise-cracky language does seem a bit out of place at first, but I'm not sure if it's just out of place with our ***ideas*** of how Romans during the early empire spoke or really out of place. And, since historical evidence tends to be biased in favor of the elite, who were literate and could write, whose speeches got recorded, etc., I doubt we'll ever really know. I can say that the historical background in these seemed pretty good - I didn't see anything in a museum in Rome that contradicted anything historical in the books, and a lot that was consistent. And Wishart provides pretty good historical notes in the books and on his website.

In a larger way, and I'm not sure where you are from, I have found that historical mysteries (with a few exceptions like Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels or Anne Perry) seem to be much less popular in the US than in the UK. I picked up the habit when I had a job which took me regularly to the UK once or twice a year, and when that job ended I had a very hard (read: expensive) time feeding my habit for a while, until the advent of ebooks...
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:43 AM   #9
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Just a comment to say 'Thank you.'

This is being done with class. Bravo! I like the fact that you emphasize the reading of the book (or a major portion of the book) before making a recommendation, which - after all - is the reason for the post to begin with.



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And thank you. Now we'll see if anyone else is interested in this, or just me!
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:19 PM   #10
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Historical whodunnits are a very popular genre, Kent. There's a very large number of such books around.
I'm sure you're right Harry, and I think Sufue is also right that they're more popular outside of the USA (where I'm from, and where we ,apparently, have little respect, awareness, or interest in history-- at least in comparison with my overseas travel.)
I've read a number of historical mysteries, and enjoy them. I've read a number of "different culture" mysteries, and enjoyed them. I haven't tackled many that do both simultaneously. (The Name of the Rose comes to mind, which I really enjoyed, but even then the cultural shift was far less for me than it would have been for historical Aztec, historical Asia, etc.)
I should be braver-- I think it takes a larger commitment to reading, rather than my typical "pick it up for 10 minutes at a time" reading style, if one is to immerse oneself in a different time & culture.
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