steve merrill recent comments

written 121 days ago
cherry

If it's true you wrote this in four hours, I can only say "wow, just think what Adam could do in 6 hours!" In all seriousness, you have a real talent for writing humor. You could make money doing this! view book

written 276 days ago
cherry

Marrisa, A space has opened up on my bookshelf, so I am putting your book back on my shelf. You have a talent for hooking a reader, and your prose is excellent and beautiful to read. I enjoy the details, such as how the grandmother's house smells of lavender. Best of luck, and I hope my backing pushes you a little closer to the ed's desk. view book

written 411 days ago
cherry

I remember backing this book long ago under the old system, and am putting it on my shelf once more. Superior prose, charming characters, great title. view book

written 563 days ago
cherry

Entirely fascinating. Your choice to use the story of the brother being taken away was a good choice for the prologue, as it immediately pulls the reader into the story. We want to know what becomes of Pietro.

A little rough in spots. Paragraph 5 of Train to Hell, you write "Finally the train was finally left smoking . . ." I would write simply "the train was left smoking . . .", but you should omit at least one of the "finally"s. Paragraph 6, I was confused by the line "so nearly tripped over." I understood later what you meant when you wrote "we left in tears, unaware that my brother was only yards from where we were standing." That says it all. I think you should omit the line "so nearly tripped over.

While I found myself wishing for perhaps more details about the allied air raids, overall I believe the details in the prologue were well chosen. We see the cruelty of the German officer, the bravery of the mother, the daughter's fear, the danger, and the uncertainty of what was to come with the allied army so close. Historically significant and a wonderful human story that makes me want to read on. view book

written 592 days ago
cherry

I have only read you're first chapter, but would like to offer my thoughts. I think there are some strong points, and a few weak ones. First I would like to say, taken as a whole, the chapter works very well as a beginning chapter. I see that this is one in a series of books, but not having seen them, a reader would still get a good idea of what the story is about. Marrisa is a half vampire who keeps her identity secret by moving from school to school. As a half vampire she has powers and senses greater than humans, but she is not as strong as a full vampire. And I think you have effectively hooked the reader, Marrisa is hurt, and at the mercy of a full vampire. We won't know what happens to her without reading on to the next chapter.

I have a number of picky criticisms. Perhaps a little too much telling, for example you do a very good job showing what Marrisa is experiencing when she sees the three strange students. suspicious of them but holding back her power so as to not reveal herself. That's great. There's no need to explain she was "freaking out" because we see it. Another issue is, I'm not sure what Marrisa's true age is, but she does say she is older than she appears, and lives alone, so that when your write "Eek! she thought as fear flooded her" it comes across as almost comical. I can't imagine anyone but a child thinking Eek! when they fear for their lives. Or for that matter saying, kill me already my head hurts, or thinking of rolling one's eyes. There was not the desperation I woudld've expected in such a circumstance, missing an oportunity to make a tense scene even more tense and dramatic. We need to know the fear she feels, and eek! doesn't really express that. But your last paragraph, "Wake up or you'll die!" That's what you're looking for. That gets it!

I hope you will take the small criticism as constructive. I believe you have a talent for storytelling which only requires a little refinement.

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written 616 days ago
cherry

I've read the first several short stories. It reminds me much of when I was a kid reading Eerie magazine. Surreal and quirky, I'm not surprised that these stories have each been published. After reading the first three chapters I wondered if there wasn't some sort of wheelchair motif connecting the stories; I'm not sure it was intended. My favorite so far is For Murder Just Add Water. You have a twisted (in a good way) and original imagination. view book

written 627 days ago
cherry

Baby bird is funny and charming. "R's baint scared." I can see children absolutely falling in love with that character, because she isn't all sweetness. She's grumpy and feisty, like real kids can be. This is the kind of book parents and kids can enjoy reading together.

Having read on for another two chapters I just want to add, the other bird characters are equally charming and funny and distinct in their own way, which you achieve in each bird's dialogue. Children would like this book a lot, and identify with the characters who face the same sorts of fears and challenges as the bird children at St. Twitters. view book

written 684 days ago
cherry

The first chapter is excellent, and skillfully sets up the story, both short term, we're left to wonder what's to come of this meeting with the psycho brother, and also the longer term; his violent father is getting out of jail soon. I feel you've described to the reader who Ash is, what makes him tick, and also his world and hook the reader into the story by raising those short and long term dramatic questions in the reader's mind. Well done; it's obvious you've put a lot of time into crafting this first chapter. Some will object to the language and sex in a YA novel, but you're up front about it so I don't see it as a problem. view book

written 694 days ago
cherry

I've just read your first chapter and enjoyed it very much. The setting in Cornwall and description of the grandmother's house create an almost gothic atmosphere, fitting for a ghost story. There's a lot going on, a young woman uprooted and put into a strange environment which she must now negotiate, an estranged father, a grandmother she was at least at one time a little afraid of, (Cruella DeVille). The main character Saira strikes me as having a mind of her own, capable of taking care of herself, but has chosen this path for reasons she doesn't fully understand herself. I think all these elements serve to draw a reader into the story.

Language may be an issue for a YA novel, but perhaps standards are different in the UK. My only criticism would be the prologue. Because it's brief, but important in setting up the novel as a ghost story, little things count. I couldn't picture a fire tickling feet, sparks from the fire perhaps, but not the fire itself which would more likely burn than tickle. Also I can't picture drunken boys "squealing." Shouting perhaps. I know, nit picky stuff, but as the first thing a reader sees it could make a difference. view book

written 1313 days ago
cherry

A truly riveting and important story. I hope my backing will help keep your book on the editor's desk. view book

written 1313 days ago
cherry

Something tells me, if you get this published, you will make a lot of money. view book

written 1320 days ago
cherry

What a charming place and collection of people you describe in your book. We're all a bit quirky when you think about it, but the individuals you write of made me smile. It makes me want to visit such a place. view book

written 1323 days ago
cherry

I can see you have spent a good deal of time polishing your book. You do a good job describing the setting, and there is a wonderful sense of menace in the first chapter which skillfully, in a very compact way, explains who Hayley is and what the story is about, and serves to draw the reader into that story. The stakes are high, there's a threat of violence, all the elements of an entertaining thriller. Well done. view book

written 1334 days ago
cherry

You have an elegant prose style which is a pleasure to read. view book

written 1367 days ago
cherry

It's clear you've worked hard to polish your book. The pace is excellent. I had some reservations about the shifting between first and third person narrative, but the simple use of "Stonefish" or "the subject" worked just fine, and I found I liked the switch.

There are so many great lines, my favorite being "we already knew he had a roo loose in the top paddock." Though Stonefish is cold-blooded, you deal out small bits of his background, a tiny bit at a time, which serves to humanize him and make him a sympathetic character. The subjects, on the other hand, more than deserve what they get. While in real life we probably wouldn't favor that kind of vigilante justice, these guys are so vile that at least wihin the novel we're on Stonefish's side, rooting for him to get those evil bastards. Using a shark to take out Tindale was brilliant. It will all look like an accident.

And then there's the mysterious Lobo. Who is he, and why does he want to get Stonefish? There's trouble for Stonefish on the horizon.

It was easy to be drawn into this story. I like the international settings, and Stonefish's crew. I can see this as a succesful series.

Steven Merrill (Running On Empty) view book

written 1387 days ago
cherry

More philosophy than science fiction, and prophesy as well, which is unsettling because I find your ideas plausable. view book

written 1395 days ago
cherry

One of the funniest books I've come across on Authonomy. Hilarious characters and dialogue. view book

written 1419 days ago
cherry

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever." Dana, your book has been on my watchlist for a long time and I've just now gotten around to reading some of it. I love the narrative voice. The first few paragraphs hooked me, the narrator wondering how Keats would react in a plunging airplane. She makes for an interesting and likeable character, and I can't help wondering about the drugged Lucas sitting beside her, oblivious to the situation.

I see you've been absent for 40 days now, so perhaps you've given up on authonomy, but I hope your book is succesful, either here or in the real world view book

written 1419 days ago
cherry

The combination of of the fantastic and mundane, a battle of supernatural powers in the aisles of Wal-mart, a djinni in a Zippo, make this a really funny book. The chapter titles by themselves are a hoot, and the writing is full of funny lines like "you know zombies, all they ever do is moan." Yeah, I hate that about zombies! Pure fun and action. Evie should have her own television series.
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written 1428 days ago
cherry

I'm impressed at the quality of your prose. The descriptions of the house, the truck, the land behind the house, give the reader not only a picture of these things, but also a hint at Vivian's feelings about them. In the opening chapter I got a sense of Vivian's uncertainty about this new life, and a vague sadness about what's being left behind. The dialogue between husband and wife is believable, and tells us much about them by what's not said between them, that they are not neccesarily in agreement about the future.
Your pacing is just right, as Vivian goes about uncovering this new life, and the mysteries that follow. Well written. Great prose style. Great title. view book