Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Cover Reveal and IWSG September

It took nine months but I'm finally feeling sort of kind of maybe on top of things for a day or two. Shhh, I didn't actually say that out loud. *looks around nervously*

The Minor Years - a Narvan Novel has been sent of to the proof reader as of Monday morning. The cover is mostly done. The blurb is written. The cover? I should share that, shouldn't I? 
I'm excited to share this novel with everyone this fall. It's a companion novel to the main series, told from the point of view of the secondary characters and takes place in the gap between Trust and Chain of Grey.
An official release day is coming. Stay tuned!

Seeker: The Narvan Book 4 is hanging out in Canada with Stella. Check out her book and her book reviews while you wait for her to finish putting red marks all over mine. 

In other news, I'm working on a short story for a special project while waiting for another author to finish her edits so I can proofread her next book. And brainstorming on a proposed new co-authored series. Always plenty of projects. Never a dull moment!

Where can you find me this month?
Newaygo Logging Festival - Newaygo, MI - Sept 3-5
Frontier Days - Charlotte, MI - Sept 10- 12
Monroe Pop Fest - Monroe, MI - Sept 17 & 18
Berlin Flea Market - Marne, MI - Sept 25

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

Which brings us to... this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: How do you define success as a writer? 

Success is a lot of of things. Finishing a book. Your first book. Your next book. Sticking through any book through the editing process. Getting published. Doing your first book signing. Top of my list would be having readers come back year after year for my newest book. Readers make all the work worthwhile. Thank you, readers!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

IWSG - Spindelkin and Upcoming Books

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
August means lots more book signing events, new chapters of Spindelkin and progress on upcoming releases. 

This month, you can find me at:

 August 7 - Art in the Park - Holland, MI

August 14 & 15 - Blueberry Festival - South Haven, MI

August 17 & 18 - Manistee Co. Fair - Manistee, MI

August 21 - Arts and Drafts - Norton Shores, MI


New chapters of Spindelkin are available on Kindle Vella. The first three chapters are free. Vella is also still giving away 200 free credits if you sign up now.  

Princess Amira has heard wondrous stories about the kingdom of Katra, but her illness has kept her from seeing any of it. Her maids last only weeks and the king and queen are busy. When the queen gives birth to a baby boy, Amira hopes to finally have a playmate. But her bother is misshapen like one of the terrifying storybook forest creatures. He’s left alone to die. In order to save him, Amira must defy her parents and everything she’s ever known or face loneliness for the rest of her days.


I've been busy working through my projects along with everything else. The Minor Years is in line edits and Seeker : Book 4 of The Narvan is heading off to developmental editing this weekend. Yay for progress!

And now on to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group Question: What's your favorite writing craft book? 
Stein on Writing has been the most helpful for me. Lots of great advice for character and plot development and just enough humor to get you through the editing process. 



Wednesday, July 7, 2021

IWSG: July brings book news and more signing dates

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
Wherever you are, I hope you're enjoying your summer. I've been spending my weekends outside meeting readers, which really, beats doing yardwork any day.  

This month you can find me in: 

Allendale, MI at Out of the Barn July 9-11

Ferrysburg, MI at the Tri Cities Artist Incubator July 17

Grand Ledge, MI at the Island Art Fair July 31


Book updates:

Traveling Circus at the Skeleton Key (book 3) is now available at many online retailers. This was my first go at co-writing a book. I figured why not make it interesting by diving in on book 3? If you have any young adult readers, give this fantasy series a try. Magic powers, a circus, a mermaid, and so much more!

Spindelkin is releasing to Kindle Vella, which is due to go live at some point in the next week or two. The first six chapters are available with new chapters releasing every week or so (as my schedule allows). I'd hoped to have the whole book ready to go on Vella when it opened, but then life interrupted my ambitious plans with caring for my MIL for three months, health issues with my daughter, and then me catching Covid. Things are all better now, but now I'm far behind on my self-imposed schedule. Spindelkin is also a YA fantasy, along the lines of a dark fairy tale, intended for a younger audience than my current books but enjoyable for adults as well. 

The Minor Years: A Narvan Novel completed major edits and is now in the nitpicky editing phase before getting a out loud read through and then heading off to the proofreader. This one is on track for a fall release.


And now.... This month's IWSG question: What would make you quit writing? 

Quit as in never start back up again? Probably nothing short of loosing my facilities or death. I write for me as much as for an audience.  However, there are things in life that have made me take a break from writing such as: having babies, a divorce and other stretches of super stressful situations, and illness. I suppose that's good news for those of you waiting on the Book 4 of The Narvan. :) 



Wednesday, June 2, 2021

IWSG June - Meeting readers and a new upcoming release!

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and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
 Are we seriously halfway through the year already? It seems like every time I write one of these posts the

 time that has passed seems to have flown by in a blur. At least I'm back out at events. It's been great talking to people in person again. I've done a renaissance faire and two craft shows since my last post and met a lot of readers. And got sunburned, even as I sat there this past weekend on a particularly chilly day shivering after it being nearly 90F the weekend before. Ah Michigan weather.

June brings more book signings. I'll be in Charlotte this weekend, then Holland, White Lake, and finally, Muskegon at the Lakeshore Art Festival. There's also a free virtual book festival going on this month through Pages Promotions. Meet several indie authors every night and get entered to win free books just by attending. I'll be a guest on June 25.

I hope to have another book release date announcement this month. This time, I've co-authored a young YA fantasy novel, Traveling Circus and the Skeleton Key - book 3 of a series. 

And now onward to this month's IWSG question:

For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Currently, now that I've written around fifteen full novels (some of which you'll never see), I only wait a few weeks to a month between rough draft and first edit. Usually I go on a binge reading fest or hit Netflix as way to cleanse my writer brain of what I've just written so that I can review the story with fresh-ish eyes and get to cleaning it up.

That said, I also have books that are still in first draft from when they were written years ago that are waiting for their chance at a re-draft. Most of the time those books are ones that are missing something. That could be a middle or ending, have a major plot issue, or maybe just that spark that drives me to dive back into the story and clean it up with the first edit. I'll get to them eventually.

Overall, I'd say writing lots of books helps refine your process so you churn out a cleaner first draft, know how to productively approach your redraft/first edit, and learn just how much time you need to read that first draft objectively.


Thursday, May 6, 2021

IWSG: May brings book signings!

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
 As usual, time is flying by and I missed my post by a day, but I'll squeak this in anyway because that's how life is going right now. Life beyond writing is highly interrupted, drama-filled, and hectic. As you may imagine, that's having an effect on writing things too...like keeping up with blog posts. 

In lighter news, festivals, craft shows, and book signings are finally happening again! Hooray! You can find all the places I'm going to be along the side bar over there ---> In addition to those, I'll be at the Bluestocking Bookshop in Holland, MI this Saturday with my newest books: Not Another Bard's Tale and Bound In Blue - Book 3 of The Narvan. June will also be super busy as I'll be taking part in the Pages Promotions Reading Regatta along with 50+ other indie authors. If you like winning free books and meeting authors (virtually), stop by and get all the details.


And onward into this month's IWSG question: Have any of your readers responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? 

I can't say as I've had that come up yet, but I have had a few amusing comments here and there. One interaction that comes to mine is from a young woman I met at a book event early last year. She'd purchased one of my books and then turned up grinning at another event later that year to tell me that she'd loved it. It was dark just like I told her it would be. Unfortunately, that didn't narrow anything down for me as to which book she'd purchased because they all have a dark side, but I'm always happy to hear readers enjoy my books, no matter which one it might be. :)


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Release day: Not Another Bard's Tale

Not Another Bard's Tale sprang to life during NaNoWriMo in 2008. The story languished on my hard drive for several years without a middle and then for many years after it was finally complete due to the lack of time to devote to applying the finishing touches and editing. Guess what? It turns out a pandemic that causes pretty much everything to be canceled for a year offers a writer a lot of unplanned 'free' time.

Look for a lot of new books in 2021. Authors have been busy typing away in their socially distanced writing caves. Not Another Bard's Tale is the second of five books on my schedule to release this year.

Inspired by my teen-love for Monty Python's Holy Grail, and later enjoyment of John Moore's book Heroics for Beginner's, Not Another Bard's Tale leans heavily into the fantasy parody genre. 

Bruce Gawain has been between knightly quests for longer than he’d like to admit. In the town of Holden, he meets a seer who tells him where he can finally find his destiny. All he has to do is travel to the distant Wall of Nok in Gambreland. With only three coins to his name, Bruce isn’t getting much further than a barstool at the town’s inn.

As luck would have it, the innkeeper’s beautiful daughter Svetlana and her flock of troublesome god-gifted sheep need an escort to Gambreland. With a paying job, everything seems to fall into place for Bruce’s quest… except for Svetlana’s killjoy bodyguard sister, an evil overlord with looming prophecy issues, and a dragon threatening to eat the townspeople until its stolen treasure is returned.

Bruce sets out with his pan-wielding companion Mydeara and the negligibly talented bard, Harold to seek out the Wall of Nok. Will they find Bruce’s destiny, return Svetlana safely home, and save the people of Holden from the vengeful dragon?

Available in Paperback on Amazon and Ebook: Amazon / Smashwords / B&N / Kobo / Scribd


Excerpt: 
Bruce glanced toward the docks where several ships were moored, their masts bobbing madly as a sudden rush of heavy wind buffeted the sea-side market. Horse-drawn carts raced by and shouting came from the next street over. He gripped the rough wood of the stall and squinted against the blowing dirt to read the poorly painted sign: Holden’s famous Herman! The great seer of the West!

A hunched man in a faded blue robe adorned with what may have been golden stars and moons bared his scant teeth. “I see an auspicious future for you, knight.” He held out an age-spotted hand. “But the details require payment.”

His past hadn’t been all too profitable and presently Bruce was in a state he preferred to call ‘between quests’. If a single coin could give him a push in a better direction it would be well spent. He dug into the coin purse he wore under his armor. He placed a chipped copper disc with a hole in the middle onto the seer’s palm. “That’s one of my last. You better tell me something worthwhile.”

“You listen to old Herman now, my visions always be true.”

People hurried past, glancing over their shoulders. “Get on with it then. The day’s almost done and I need to find the inn.”

Herman cleared his throat with a great hacking cough, followed by a hesitant wheeze and another cough, slightly less phlegm-filled than the last. “Show me your palm.”

Bruce held out his hand, wondering what the old man hoped to see in the fading light. He probably had his prophetic line of mysterious words already on his tongue; the palm was all for show. He scowled, already wishing he’d spent his coin on dinner or a pint of ale.

“All right then.” Herman traced the lines on his palm with thin, wrinkled fingers. “What you seek lies at the Wall of Nok. You must travel far and the way will not be easy.”

A shadow passed overhead, like a brief sampling of nightfall, but then it was gone. Something crashed at the other end of the marketplace. The ground shook. Screams filled the air.

What a load of dung. Bruce yanked his hand away. The evening air grew warm, almost unbearably so within his armor.

The shaking of the ground became more intense. The wooden stalls creaked. A host of people ran by. Shopkeepers watched them. Several abandoned their wares and joined the running crowd. Herman eyed the coin with determination as it bounced about on the quaking counter of the stall.

Bruce made a grab for his coin.

The surprisingly spry seer snatched it up. “When you reach the wall, you will find—”

A giant, green-scaled head atop a long neck lined with wicked black spikes loomed over the booth. Two great golden eyes surveyed Bruce and then locked on to the old man. The dragon’s jaws gaped open to reveal two wicked rows of teeth.

Bruce screamed like a little girl.

The dragon snatched up the seer and chewed with what appeared to be great satisfaction. It swallowed and then picked at one of his dagger-length teeth with a claw. The copper coin fell onto the counter.

The dragon’s rancid, hot breath blasted over Bruce. “You wouldn’t happen to know where the nearest lake is, do you? I always find mystics a bit dry.”

Bruce pointed to the far end of town with a shaking hand.

“Thank you.” The dragon flapped its wings, knocking flat the booth and all of those surrounding it, sending the goods flying in all directions.

As the dragon lifted into the sky Bruce’s reflexes finally kicked in. He drew his sword. Another rush of people, scattered in their efforts to pick a direction in which to flee, flooded through the decimated market.

A young man stopped, gazing up at the dragon and then following its line of ascent to Bruce and his sword. “You scared the dragon off! You saved us all!”

“I don’t know about...” Bruce glanced at the sword in his hand. If he meant to change his fortune, he was going to have to up his advertising game. “Yes. Yes, I did. Fearsome beast, but no match for a knight like me.”

“Behold, our savior!” the man called to all who passed by. 




Wednesday, April 7, 2021

IWSG April: Upcoming Release - Not Another Bard's Tale

It's April, the weather is awesome. It's finally warm! And there is sunshine! Why am I inside??? Oh yes,  must work to pay the bills. 

Spring is busy doing it's springy thing around here. there are flowers, I've got the itch to finish out my flock with a few new chicks and my ducks are now a year old and are busy being happy ducks. I've also been writing. Well, editing, mostly, but that still counts.

April also marks the upcoming arrival of my next book, Not Another Bard's Tale. NABT was first drafted in 2008 as my third NaNoWriMo novel. It's gone through some significant revisions over the years and sat in the cold dark of my hard drive for long spans until finally Covid shut everything down for a year (and then some) and hey, I had far more 'free' time than usual. So I was productive and did a lot of writing as well as editing to get several books ready to release this year. 

Not Another Bard's Tale is a comedic fantasy novel following Bruce, the not-so-esteemed knight, his plucky side kick Mydeara, and the negligibly talented bard Harold as they journey to a far off land to find Bruce's destiny. Along the way they face an evil overlord with looming prophecy issues, a hungry dragon, and a love-sick troll. This adventure through fantasy tropes will be out at the end of the month! 

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
Funny that this months' IWSG question is: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

Because yes, I do like to experiment with different things with my novels. That's the nice thing about doing stand alone novels and short stories, they're far easier to try out new POVs and styles than delving into an entire series. 

Not Another Bard's Tale is different than many books as it's told through a progression of POVs. Each of the characters get to carry the adventure for a chapter. Some of the core characters repeat in the second half of the book, other do not. The chapter lengths also vary greatly, but are geared toward giving everyone the part that best conveys their character's part of the story.



Wednesday, March 3, 2021

IWSG: March Project Updates

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participating writers.
It would seem I'm celebrating (does one celebrate this mess?) the one year anniversary of Covid disrupting our lives by getting the news that all of my upcoming April, and almost all of my May events are being bumped to 2022. I'm so very sick of all this disruption!

In other, more positive news progress has again been made on my 2021 project list:

Bound in Blue was released last month! Hooray!

Spindelkin has been relegated to a summer project.

The Minor Years will be back from beta read this month.

Seeker has also been bumped to a summer project

Not Another Bard's Tale is back from the last reader, has gone through voice read, and is now the first of two last edit/polish passes by me before heading to the proofreader. 

Why have a couple projects been pushed off? It would seem I was sailing along too free and productively. Life decided to hand me my 90 year old MIL to care for 24/7 for several months before we can get her into an assisted living facility. While I do still have a little free time to work on writing, my brain is mostly mush from the lack of sleep and disruption in my daily schedule/sleep disruptions. So I shall plod along as time and energy allows.

I'm also happy to announce that Trust won an award this month.


This month's IWSI G question is: Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice? 

Well, before I was handed a house guest, I'd been doing a little recreational reading for a change. It had been awhile since I'd had time for that. Glad I jumped on it in the little window that I did. While I write Science Fiction and Fantasy and enjoy reading both of those, I also enjoy reading Paranormal Romance and Historical Fiction and pretty much anything that falls under the Speculative Fiction umbrella. I'm also not opposed to mystery and general fiction. If the story sounds interesting, I'm in a mood to read, and the book is in reach, I'll probably read it.

Here's what I read last month:




Saturday, February 20, 2021

Release Day: Bound In Blue • The Narvan • Book 3

Release day for Bound In Blue is finally here! 

Join Vayen as he returns to the Narvan to clean up the mess left by those who took over while he was away in the third book of this space opera series. He's advised the Navan before, pulled the government and economy out of a tailspin while dodging bullets, and dealt with the manipulative High Council. It should be easy to do it all again, right? 

Plagued by PTSD, a lack of lucrative income, and dealing with a partner who's got his own ideas and another he can't stand make things tough. Then his worst nightmare shows up. Can he protect the Narvan, his family, and retain what little hold he has left on his sanity? 


Excerpt:

“I hate to complain boss, but it’s been eleven days since anyone has tried to kill you. No one’s even threatened. I’m getting bored,” said Neko. He’d been my ever-present shadow since Stassia and I had decided to bring our family back to the Narvan six months ago.

“Sorry, I doubt the Premier is going to make things any more exciting for you.” Granted, he was five minutes late for our meeting, but I wasn’t going to get aggravated over that quite yet.

The door opened, allowing the Artorian Premier’s secretary to bustle in. “Please accept our most sincere apologies for the delay, Advisor Ta’set.”

He bowed and sat in the chair to the left of the Premier’s desk. The Premier joined us a moment later, his usually crisp and pressed shirt appeared rumpled and his thick silver chain of office hung askew. He wiped at a stray grey hair on his lined forehead and gave me a tight nod.

“Do we have a problem?” I asked.

“We need more funding. All this scrambling and juggling is going to fall apart any day. Work will grind to a halt and protests will spring up. It’s all downhill from there.” He shook his head and took his seat. “Your designated replacement drained us dry.”

“He has been dealt with.”

Merkief. The stench of burnt flesh made me gag. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“And I appreciate your advice on recovering our losses, truly, but it’s not enough.” His hands fidgeted on the desk. He licked his lips. “We’re going to need a loan.”

“A loan is only a bandage. We need to address long-term solutions.”

And I had no credits to loan, not after financing Jey’s reclaiming of the Narvan from Kess and then relocating my family during my imprisonment. Stassia’s income on Pentares had given us a little cushion upon our return, but on a good day, with a couple years worth of Kryon payouts thoroughly and wisely invested, I would have been hard-pressed to hand over the amount that it would take to bail out an entire planet’s financial problems.

“We’ve already addressed those solutions. Progress is being made, however, it’s not working fast enough.” He licked his lips again.

I rested my oversized grey replacement hand on the desk, mere inches away from his. His gaze darted to the ugly black nails protruding from the thick grey fingers. Stassia had suggested that I get a more fitting replacement now that we were back home, but I’d grown used to this mismatched one. It fit me just fine.

“You’ve enjoyed a long term of office,” I said.

He sat back in his chair, nostrils flaring. “This isn’t my fault. We did what was asked of us.

We’ve always given what you and your people ask for. Always. Because you’ve treated us well. You’ve helped us recover and grow and expand faster than we’d thought possible. I’m asking this one thing, this one time, for your people. We need this loan.”

Damn all the High Council manipulation and infighting between Merkief, Jey, and Kess. They’d created a hellish mess of the tidy and productive package I’d left behind. Jey had been making strides to set things right during my long absence, but there was a lot of damage to recover from. The Premier was right. It wasn’t his fault, and my people shouldn’t have to suffer for it.

I sighed. “I’ll need details, where the credits will go, what you’ll lose if you don’t get them. On each and every damn program potentially affected. Got it?”

Hopefully, Stassia could help me figure out how to pull credits out of nowhere. When we’d destroyed the High Council, we also destroyed our source of lucrative income. Jey and I had been strategizing for over a year before I’d returned to the Narvan, trying to figure out how we could generate the income we were used to having at our disposal. Neither of us had come up with a sustainable answer.

The Premier nodded and then gave me a look like a man about to ask how I meant to kill him. “And the terms of the loan?”

“Will be discussed when I give you my answer.”

He stared at the desktop. “And when—”

“When I get to it. This might be my homeworld, but it’s not the only planet in the Narvan.”

He stiffened. “Thank you for your kind offer, Advisor Ta’set. I’ll get that information to you shortly.”

I stood.

“Where to next?” asked Neko through our linked connection.

“Home.”

Hopefully no one would want to kill me there either. Neko might be bored, but I’d had enough of dodging bullets for several lifetimes.


Available in E-book and Print at all your favorite online locations including:

Signed paperback direct from me:

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Upcoming Release: Bound In Blue

The third book in The Narvan series is nearly here.

Bound in Blue is available for pre-order!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble Kobo

Or buy the paperback direct from me and get a signed copy shipped to you.

Release day is Feb 20.

Vayen’s quest to keep the Narvan at peace has left him scarred both inside and out. Struggling to hide his hallucinations, memory loss, and flashbacks from everyone, he’s been advising the Narvan on a consultant basis from the distant colony of Pentares, but he longs for the comfort of home.

When Anastassia thinks she might again be able to host a link, she’s eager for them to return to the Narvan. Stepping back into the advisory position they’d both left behind, now side by side, is a dream come true. Except home doesn’t offer the ease Vayen had hoped for. Surrounded by reminders of Merkief and the High Council, his PTSD becomes impossible to ignore. He’s falling apart inside.

The Narvan is attacked by an enemy Vayen prayed he’d never face again. His nightmares come alive as havoc spreads across the system. Now he must face his darkest terror before everything he loves is ripped away.

 



Tuesday, February 2, 2021

It's a New Year!

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participating writers.
I'm attempting to be optimistic. However, so far, 2 of my 3 first events of the year, in April, no less, have already been canceled/postponed. This means one of my 2020 rollover events is now bumped to my list for 2022.  😢 

You may notice I'm not even posting my event list for 2021. Once I have confirmation that an event is really happening, I'll post it.

Productivity trudges onward despite the cautious outlook. Eventually, stuff has to open up, doesn't it?

Updates from last month: 

Bound in Blue has a release date of February 20!

Spindelkin has editing notes and is next up on my list.

The Minor Years is still out with a beta reader

Seeker has seen no progress.

Not Another Bard's Tale is DONE and now out with a reader! That only took thirteen years...

On the other end of writing, I have some editing to do for two other authors and a formatting job in the wings. Busy busy!

And now onward to this month's IWSG question: Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

Indeed! In fact, if you're commenting on this post, you're likely one of those people. Very likely one of the people I meet blogging years ago when I was much more active on this platform. I appreciate you sticking with me and when your name comes up in the comments section, please know that it makes me smile. 



Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Welcome to 2021!

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
Thankfully the dumpster fire that was 2020 has burned to a close. Let's hope this next year is a whole lot better. Just in case, I'm sharpening my machete and stocking up on canned foods, getting ready for the zombies. 

Normally, I'm announcing my one word for the new year in this post, but I don't have one this time around. If I were being optimistic, I would say: Better. But jeez, why tempt fate at this point in the crappy game we're stuck playing? Instead, I'm going to sit quietly over here and use this downtime productively so that when we can get back to being in person again, I have even more to offer.

Bound in Blue is formatted and waiting on a print proof and release date.

Spindelkin is ready for second edits. 

The Minor Years is out with a beta reader

Seeker is ready for round three of edits.

Not Another Bard's Tale is going through yet another round of edits in slow motion, but progress is being made. 

And there are several other projects in the wings.

I've also been busy sewing multi-pocket dice bags - because I found a pattern I liked and I have so much fabric sitting here from my days when I worked at a craft store. I look forward to seeing all the gaming folks at comic cons and renaissance faires soon.

After being off Netflix for two months of high productivity, we've taken a short dip into Hulu. I'm working my way through a few shows there while sewing. I must multitask! 

And, as this is my monthly blog post, it's time for an Insecure Writer's Support Group question: Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?

Since I'm not limited to one, here's my top two:

1. Head-hopping without a clear pov change marked with a scene or chapter break.

2. A cliff hanger ending. Dangling a few unresolved subplots is fine if it's a series, but end your damn book!