Essays

Interview with Dyane Forde, Indie Author

Many thanks to Lela Markham for interviewing me about being an indie author, why I decided to go it alone, and about my books, including the release of Wolf’s Bane! 🙂 Stop on by!

aurorawatcherak

Dyane FordeMy friend Dyane Forde visited me following her decision to end contract with her publisher. She is now fully an indie author. Check out my earlier interview with her here.

Talk a bit about the Purple Morrow and where the sequel is in process.

The idea for The Purple Morrow started a few years back when I wanted to explore themes related to loss, redemption, and moving forward. The story of a man unable to deal with the past while being thrown into a crisis demanding that he settle things and move on seemed a good place to start.

Purple MorrowThe Purple Morrow started very simply; I’d intended it to be a solo book. But as the story developed and the characters matured, I knew the full tale had to be explored. The world of Marathana blossomed, becoming multi-cultural, each people group following their own cultural or religious beliefs. Magic and…

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Book Review

Book Review: The Beholder

The BeholderThe Beholder by Ivan Amberlake

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb: 

Around the world, people die under mysterious circumstances. Each has a sign. Each is a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. A NYC interior designer Jason Walker receives a message saying he is the final piece.

Emily Ethan, a startling beauty with supernatural powers, appears and tells Jason that powers dormant within him are about to wake. He is the only person who can prevent darkness from enslaving the world. He is the Beholder whose advent has been awaited for many years.

Setting out on a journey with Emily, Jason discovers the world he could have never imagined, but the greatest surprise arrives the moment he realizes he has fallen in love with Emily.

Review:

Jumping into the world of The Beholder began with a refreshing jolt. No easing the reader into the back story, no time taken to explain the current context. Right from the opening scene, we are thrust into the midst of action. And what action! I was also happy to note that the writing itself was smooth and easy to follow, and the pacing of events unfolded at a good rate.

What I enjoyed the most about the novel were the following: 1) Amberlake describes some very difficult, abstract events quite well. Things like, experiencing the stopping of time, what energy bursts look like at night, how to ‘cut through’ space and time, as well as his general use of metaphors and similes, are all very well done. For most of the book, the imagery is quite strong; 2) as mentioned above, the pacing was good. There was rarely a dull moment, as the reader is taken to various local and international locations, meets new characters on both sides of the Good vs. Evil coin, and is plunged deeper into the mythology and the back story connecting the characters. There is no room for boredom in this book; 3) I also enjoyed Amberlake’s spin on magic/special powers being rooted in Energy, which the way it is described in The Beholder, is a refreshing change from a lot of books out there.

I did struggle with some things in the book. 1) In contrast to point number one above, sometimes I felt certain details could have been elaborated on. Lack of information left me feeling disoriented in time and place, and which ultimately impacted general comprehension. For example, at times it wasn’t clear where a character was, or when or how they got there, requiring me to scroll back to situate myself. Another example is, towards the end of the story, when I had difficulty differentiating dream from reality. 2) The basic rules of Energy were not always clear, so it was difficult to measure one Sighted against another. When Emily does something amazing, how does that measure up with what Pariah can do? With what Jason can do? What are the limits to Energy? Are there any weaknesses or an Achilles heel to using this power? Some of the explanations were not detailed enough for me to get a good basic grasp, which left me feeling as though some of its uses were random or convenient. 3) I would have liked to have seen more character development, as we don’t know that much about more about Jason or his friends by the end of the novel than we did when we first met them.

My over all feeling is that The Beholder is an exciting, swiftly-moving novel that brings something new to urban fantasy. The characters are young, fun, and dynamic, and Amberlake’s usage of language, imagery, and pure unbridled imagination all connect to create a good, solid, enjoyable read. This book is recommended, and I expect the sequels will be equally entertaining.

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Essays

Book Review: Compis

Compis (Five Tribes, #1)Compis by Kate Copeseeley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:

After thousands of years, male after male, finally —a female COMPIS is chosen. The peace of a nation seems secure, yet beneath the facade turmoil boils among its leaders. The innocent children, raised in ignorance all their lives until the Initiation of their seventeenth year, have no idea of the true face behind their High Council.

Why has a girl been chosen? Why is she special? Will she be able to do what no other Compis has done and bring the hypocrisy to an end?

Book Review:

Compis is divided into two parts, The Initiation and Aquis. The book itself is mostly quite well-written. There are some very nice descriptions of landscapes, and the writing itself is smooth and easy to read. Pre-teens and teens should find the reading experience enjoyable. Adults who enjoy a quick read might enjoy it as well. The characters each have their own personality and they are who they are: inexperienced, self-centred and sometimes reactive adolescents/young adults.

I did have issues with specific things. The Initiation section was too long and the events mostly occur in the same place. There is very little action or tension in this section which is loaded with orations and explanations of this and that aspect of tribe life, sometimes repeated throughout the section by different characters, and the result of the ceremony is telegraphed early on so that the end is no real surprise. I also found the retelling of the same event 3 times from different perspectives to be too much. Also, the romance between Zyan and Nikka is sweet but feels very, very adolescent, even for adolescents.

The narrative finally picks up in Aquis, and even then only when Zyan begins to have dreams which lead him on a journey (at last) to save his tribe, and when Nikka finally decides to do something important in her new role. Much time is spent on Lukka and I’m not sure why—he seemed a minor character throughout until this point. I suppose he becomes more important later on, which is good because he did get one bad-ass animal spirit. That I would like to see more of. The ending came on quite abruptly—there was no preceding round-up, or resolution phase to ease me out of the story that had just begun to get interesting.

Personally, I would have preferred if The Initiation had been cut down and more time spent with Zyan and Nikka puzzling through their problems, and the reader discovering more about the political and social issues burdening the tribes, as that is really what this story seems to be about. However, the writing is good, the characters likeable, and the stage is set for an engaging story to come. For these reasons, I give Compis 3 out of 5 stars (3 1/2 if I could).

Author Interviews, Misc

Work-In-Progress Blog Challenge

A new challenge! This time I’ve been nominated by Vashti Quiroz-Vega and Jon Simmonds to participate in the ‘Work-In-Progress Blog Challenge’, and since it’s a challenge … well, I just had to do it. For this challenge, I must post the first line from each of the first three chapters in my work-in-process (WIP). Then I must select four other writers to do the same.

But before I get there, a few words about the people who tagged me…

Vashti is a long-time writer friend, blogger and all around great support so it was with pleasure that I received her nomination. She writes Suspense, Thriller, Fantasy and Horror novels and stories. Her book The Basement is available for purchase on Amazon and she is currently working on a new book called ‘The Fall of Lilith’ ,which is also the book she cited for this challenge.

Jon is a newer friend whom I met through my blog (Yay for the power of media!). Jon’s very smart and I like his blog posts—in fact, it was through his About page that I discovered that he authored Alice in Wonderland at the age of 7. Check it out and see what I mean. The WIP he chose to use for this challenge is Dark Energies which he describes as ‘a contemporary urban mystery spiced with a healthy dose of romance and quantum physics’. Nice.

So, for this challenge I decided to feature this beast of a WIP that has had me on the ropes for years, but which I am determined to tame: Wolf’s Bane, the sequel to my published fantasy novel, The Purple Morrow.

Wolf’s Bane continues Jeru’s tale as he struggles to grapple with the knowledge of who he is while Kelen contends with a new evil dogging his every move. The story takes the reader deeper into the conflict developing across Marathana, introduces new people groups and cultures and raises the overall stakes. 

The (working) blurb:

The Purple Morrow is destroyed. Guided by a dark ally, the Northmen push harder to conquer the Southernlands. Jeru, newly wed and desiring only to settle into a simple life, is forced to accept that his trials have just begun.

Revenge on his mind, Kelen must battle forces of good and evil as he tries to discern truth from lies while trying to save his skin.

Myth and Legend come to the fore and destiny reveals its hand. Jeru and Kelen, the Butterfly and the Wolf, will meet again. And when they do, no one is prepared for the aftermath.

 

And without further ado, here are the opening lines from the first three chapters. I took the liberty of including the line from the Prologue so there will be four sentences in all, but no worries. I tend to open with short lines, so it’ll be over before you know it. I’ve also added some visuals to whet your appetite. Enjoy!

Prologue: Baptism of Blood: 

The village burned.

From Infinity Blade: reckoning
From Infinity Blade: reckoning

 

Chapter 1: 

The summons came during Oren’s evening quiet time.

From dustin.wikidot.com
From dustin.wikidot.com

Chapter 2:

Oren hurried to the Naagra-Oni’s chambers.

 

Chapter 3: 

If ever he made it up the cliff, Jeru had a few choice words for the divine being who had called him there in the first place.

From www.desktopwallpapers4.me
From http://www.desktopwallpapers4.me

 

And there you have them! To keep the ball rolling, I am tagging the following writers.

Phil Partington

Su Sokol

Lindsay Llewellyn 

Piper McDermot

Please check out their blogs, drop them a line, and find out more about what they are working on. You never know. Your thoughtful words and support might be just what they need to finish their labor of love.

Essays, Misc

Submitting to the Submission Process

So I’m submitting again. Short stories. Yes! I can’t wait for the rejections to come flying my way!

pinicchio

Okay, truth be told I stopped submitting for that reason, actually. Yes, it’s lame. Yes, it’s defeatist. But I’m just human and the string of “No’s” was getting brutal. Like, “I suck at this!” brutal.

So why have I started back up? Well, with the help of my new writing group and after a year of growth as a writer I feel like I have something better to offer. Old stories are being given new life as I go over them with fresh perspective and a new skill set I didn’t have before. And I suppose I’m curious to see what kind of reaction I get this time around.

Probably more “No’s” but I won’t know for sure until I try. 🙂