Fantasy, Fiction, Self-help, Young Adult

Book #7 Geoffrey P. Ward’s Guide to Villainy

Last week I made a trip to the Life, the Universe and Everything Writing Conference.  I had heard about this conference from my writer sister-in-law who is in the know about these sorts of things.  As a birthday present, my husband surprised me with a plane ticket to go with Caren and not really knowing what to expect, I excitedly headed off.

I write.  Sort of.  I have mounds of thoughts and stories all squirreled away in different locations, including a few blogs, but no big projects, no books in the works, and no plans for any.  But I love writing and I love books (duh) and I figured I’d have something to learn from three days of classes, panels, presentations, and rubbing elbows with people in the arena.  I figured correctly.  I learned tons.  In fact, I’ll leave most of the details to its own post, since I have too much to say here.

One of the best classes I took was one on independent publishing.  Chances are you think of self-publishing when I write that, but after taking the class, I can see how the label indie publishing fits the bill better.  It’s more on an entrepreneurial take on publishing and, since I have an entrepreneurial spirit myself, it was right up my alley. The class was taught by Melanie Nichols, who publishes under the name M. A. Nichols.  Without rehashing what she eloquently puts on her website, I’ll just say her class was fascinating and I saw indie publishing in a whole new light.

Of course I had to buy one of her books.  Her class gave some legitimacy to indie publishing, but if her book was any good, she would have sealed the deal.  At the book signing, I bought a copy of Geoffrey P. Ward’s Guide to Villainy.  Think of a self-help book for fairy tale villains written by a villainy consultant expert to help them in their ambitions, whether they be to control the kingdom or raise a ruckus.  A very clever concept and surprisingly astute about the evil acts both villains and heroes commit.  Did you ever think about what heroes do in retaliation to the villains in their stories?  Me neither.  Nichols also spins traditional fairy tales around to make those villains not necessarily likable, but more relatable with a different point of view of the well known stories.

My only complaint about the book was not knowing more about Geoffrey P. Ward.  We get hints about his background and his journey from hero to villain, but I wanted more.  But aside from that, there were so many funny lines in the book, like when Ward is advising on the fortress or abode of a villain.  Make sure it’s not infested with small animals because they will burst into song and help the damsel in distress when you’re trying to carry out your plans.

It’s a great idea and I enjoyed reading it, but since it reads like a self-help book, I missed having a driving narrative to keep me turning pages.  I wish I had picked up The Drogue instead, the first in a series she’s written, to see if I like her storytelling style.  In all, a fun read and it gave me a good impression of indie publishing.  In fact, I’m hoping to find some more indie books to read and maybe move the cause forward a bit.

Goodreads rating: 3 stars for one proofreading error that caused some confusion, but the concept was fun and interesting and nearly pushes it to a four star.  3.75 stars?


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has written 287 articles on Red Hot Eyebrows.

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