My Bookshelf: Rushed

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Title: Rushed

Author: Brian Harmon

Genre: Dark fantasy/science fiction

Amazon summary:
“Eric can’t remember the recurring dream that keeps waking him in the middle of the night with an overwhelming urge to leave, yet he spends each day feeling as if he desperately needs to be somewhere. With no idea how to cure himself of this odd compulsion, he decides to let it take its course and go for a drive, hoping that once he proves to himself that there is nowhere to go, he can return to his normal life. Instead, he finds himself hurled headlong into a nightmare adventure across a fractured Wisconsin as the dream reveals itself one heart-pounding detail at a time.”

My summary:
Eric starts having these dreams that make him drive out to the middle of bum-fuck nowhere and find a barn full of crazy chickens. He learns that there is more than just our world, and that there are fissures in the universe where the worlds collide. He walks along this fissure, meeting strange people and terrible creatures. He doesn’t know where he’s going, but he knows he has to keep going and find out.

Cheers:

  • I loved all the descriptions. I loved the other world bit of it, and the fissures.
  • The chickens get their own point. I really loved those chickens.
  • It kept me turning the pages. I would’ve read it all in one go if it hadn’t gotten so late.
  • It’s unique to me. I admit this might not be true for those who regularly read in this genre, but as the only think I have to compare it to is Steven King’s Under The Dome AND I think it stood up pretty well to that, claps for that.
  • This all happens in one day. 84,000 words, one day’s time. Like, shit. Way to keep me interested.

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • It’s not really horror, in my opinion. A little creepy, maybe, but not horror (as it’s labeled on Amazon). Very suspenseful though.
  • Cut the wife out, cut out all that “bah I hate cell phones shit,” and cut out the detour to Altrusk’s house and you’d have an excellent novel.
  • Overall, things could have been tweaked here and there to make it more believable, but it doesn’t really have to be that believable. Like, ghosts aren’t real, so why not just go along with the story?

Would I recommend it?
Yes! I thought it was a fascinating novel. If you normally read lots of scify and multidimensional stuff then you might be a little bored, but I really thought it was fabulous. I kept reading because the descriptions were so interesting and I just needed to know what would be at the end of the journey. Also, the e-book is free! (Yaaaaay for free things!)

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Rushed-Brian-Harmon-ebook/dp/B00AXTOIJM/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

Bonus:
He’s an independent author and self-publishes his work. He also does the covers for his own work and edits! See, I’m not out to get indie authors! I’m excited to have finally found quality self-published work, as you can tell by my exclamation points!!!!!!!!!! (But seriously yo, this shiz is exciting.)

Two Great Reads On FictionPress

I’m a really harsh critic when it comes to what I read. I want it to sound professionally written. I can get past only so much awkward phrasing, no matter how good the plot, before I’m ready to rip my hair out. After being disappointed in the last two Indie books I’ve reviewed (actually, I don’t know if The Boss is Indie or not, I say no) I decided that I would post the links to the only two novels I ever finished and favorited on FictionPress. (I used to use the site to post my own work until I had an entire novel of mine stolen and posted for sale on Amazon.)

But anyways, here are the stories. It’s always nice to have access to free novels~

Title: Glass
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Summary: “Beauty and the Beast retelling. When a selfish prince makes a bad decision, his entire staff suffers. Years later, a young woman affected by the same curse arrives at his castle to break the spell. Can she save him and break the curse on herself?”
Link: https://www.fictionpress.com/s/2428718/1/Glass
Comments: This made for a fun read. The writing isn’t quite up to publishing standards, but it’s good enough.

Title: The Silver Tower
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Summary: “This is not the tale of Rapunzel. There was no damsel in distress in the topmost room, mournfully waiting for her well built lover to gallop forth on his mighty steed. There was a damsel, aye, but she was an angry peasant girl whose name was Saran…”
Link: https://www.fictionpress.com/s/2366499/1/The-Silver-Tower
Comments: I thought that this was a brilliant plot. I loved the characters, loved the setting, loved the plot, and loved the ending. I so, so loved the ending.

My Bookshelf: The Bard’s Daughter

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Title: The Bard’s Daughter

Author: Nicole Shepard

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Alexandria Findahl was five years old when she decided her future; she was going to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a bard, traveling the country and sharing her musical talent with the world. Her mother rails against her decision and her father is amused, encouraging her once he sees that she really does have talent, maybe even more than he does. The people in her town openly shun her, she has no friends except one, Daniel Thacher, the son of her father’s best friend and a young wizard. As she grows older she realizes that what she thought of as friendship is quickly turning into love, love she can only hope he returns. Spurred on by a steamy kiss shared between them one summer, she finds herself dreaming of a life with him and forgetting, however briefly that she wants to become a bard, that she is not interested in marriage or a life filled with children and boring domestic duties. After he fails to pursue the relationship she realizes she was wrong and renews her vow, determined to become the most famous Bard in all of Adelay.

Three years later she is accepted at the most prestigious Bardic school in the land and firmly on her way, but on the eve of her graduation she finds that her father has gone missing. She finds herself drawn into a deadly world in order to save him. Forced to seek help from Daniel, a member of the secret society that has caused her father so much trouble, she enlists the help of her two new best friends and they set out on a danger-filled journey to save him. Alexandria thought she was over Daniel, but her reaction to him and her inability to forget their one embrace makes her realize she has been living in denial. Daniel has been the only man to encourage her in her dreams and knows secrets about her, some she doesn’t even know, and whenever she looks at him she finds it hard to remember what exactly she was so determined to do. Will she be able to enlist his help and find her father or will she give in to her passion only to find death waiting at the end…”

My Summary:
A girl is going to Bard school and ends up getting drawn into a dramatic death plot of some sort. There are also sex scenes apparently?

Cheers:

  • I made it to chapter 3 before quitting. That’s something, I guess.

Jeers:

  • The writing is very juvenile. It’s obvious that this is self-published because no publisher would put this out there in its current state. The phrasing of some things is terrible. It read like the rubbish I wrote when I was 14.
  • I hate the setting. I thought it was supposed to be like in medieval times (but a fantasy version) but there were doornobs (invented in 1800s) and a “modest” house had two stories and the MC had her own bedroom with a bed and a dresser. The setting just seemed lazy, like the author wanted to write it as fantasy but didn’t want to do it fully. The author told me it was supposed to be an alternate fantasy universe, but I just wasn’t feeling it.
  • I don’t think Bards made as much money as she seemed to think they did.
  • The author relied heavily on cliches. Like, “…his gaze was so intense it was almost if he could see into her very soul.” Also, we have a halfling elf, a Mary Sue character, and a lot of focus is put on the ol’ “I’m a girl but I want to be a warrior, not domestic!” shit that gets real tiring after a while.
  • More on the Mary Sue-ness: She has violet eyes (the author said this would later become relevant, but that didn’t make it better in my opinion), she is SO VERY ATTRACTIVE that all the other girls HATE her out of jealousy… yeah… and she just comes off as a bitch, but an unintentional one.
  • Do you like tell, not show? Then this is for you. She calls the coachman judgmental for NO REASON and we’re just supposed to accept it because she said it, not because he acts like it. It’s just little things like that.
  • Finally, the author doesn’t use the Oxford comma. It’s a disgrace.

Would I recommend it?:
Absolutely not. I couldn’t force myself to continue reading. I got a free copy of the book when the author was complaining on Facebook about being turned down for a publisher. She wanted to know if it was bad or if the publisher just turned it down for no reason. Let me tell you, it was bad. Had I paid any money for this I would have been livid. I’m disappointed once again to have to give a bad review to a small publisher (self-publisher, actually). No wonder people have a negative view of indie publishing. (As a side note, the author was very ungracious about receiving an honest critique.)

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Bards-Daughter-Nicole-Shepherd-ebook/dp/B006UX39O0/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398799321&sr=1-3&keywords=the+bard%27s+daughter

A new curse!

Very exciting news. At least, it’s exciting if you’re me. I finally reworked the curse in Kiss of the Fey and got it to a point where I like it. It might undergo a few minor revisions between now and when I’ve finally finished editing the novel, but for now I am happy with it.

Babe who’s not yet seen the world
Babe who’s not yet boy or girl
Ice will flow throughout your veins
I’ll make your parents feel my pain
You’ll kill your parents in my place
And until then I’ll keep you safe
But unless with warmth your heart does beat
On your thirty-first birthday it shall cease 

So that’s that. Onward to more editing… and writing… and school work… and becoming a pokemon master…

A Game of Madness

I had a lot of free time, okay?

I had a lot of free time, okay?

May be the title of my untitled novella I’m working on. It will be eventually turned into a novel and hopefully I’ll be as proud of it as I am of Kiss of the Fey (Woman of Fire, Man of Ice). I’m hoping to write it for Camp Nanowrimo in April. My goal is 20,000 words in April. If I finish the novella in that time (because it doesn’t have to be long, I’m basically using it as an outline because that worked really well for Kiss of the Fey) I’ll just start on the novel.

I’m still working on editing Kiss of the Fey. Like, I ignored it all spring break. In my defense I’ve been feeling like poo.

Here is the shitty description I currently have for the camp nano page:

Wren has worked on a farm all her life, working the land of a Lord of Iborek.  After a late frost kills their crops, Wren’s family finds themselves unable to pay their Lord his dues. To save her younger sister, Wren allows the guards to deliver her to the castle and learns that her fate is to be the plaything of Lord Acton. That is, until she meets Acton’s brother.

Wren doesn’t know how the king has allowed such evil to continue or how the other girls in the castle are so contented with their fate. After a late-night encounter with a ghost and when Wren starts to hear voices, the once-steady farm girl must question if she’s going mad.

But eh. I’m excited for it. Even though school is going to kick my butt.

Also, everyone should listen to this.

More Covers

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I’m done, I’m done. I’ll pretend like this is the final cover and the final title. My friend pointed out that if it’s accepted by a publisher that they’ll probably change the title and the cover. I’m not so sure that I’ll be able to be published, but I am going to submit to at least two or three publishers before deciding to self-publish. I think I already have decided to submit my novel to one specific publisher, so my plan is to have it all edited and finished in time to send it to them before summer (mostly because when at school I can print all the submission pages with my school print credits and not pay for ink (well, not directly, I’m still paying thousands in tuition)).

But since I’ve been mucking about all day (really, all I’ve done is nap and use fake photoshop for covers I won’t use) here is an excerpt from Woman of Fire, Man of Ice. Or rather, Kiss of the Fey, now. I just don’t know.

Xenos scowled as he looked down on the beach. Orion was standing at the tide line, teetering along on his staff and looking every bit the old fool that he was. Deep wrinkles ran down his face, and his skin hung off of his bony frame. He was tall and stooped, with hands so gnarled they looked like claws. Even at a distance, Xenos could see the bright blue eyes, framed by bushy white brows, that denied all knowledge of the advancing age of the face upon which they sat. The eyes could have belonged to a newborn baby.

Scowling at the twinkle in those blue eyes, Xenos slowly led his horse down the cliffs until he reached the sand. At his command, his men waited for him above as he approached the old warlock. By the time he had ridden down the beach Orion was bent over leaning heavily on his staff, looking, apparently, for seashells.

“Why hello! The beach is always lovely this time of year, wouldn’t you say?” Orion asked, his deep voice booming. His robes were in surprisingly good condition considering his long journey. His sandals, however, were in poor condition, and Xenos wondered if he would need to give Orion his own shoes before they made it to the nearest village to buy some. The old fool was constantly inconveniencing him.

“You’ve gone too far this time,” Xenos said, riding up and dropping from his horse. Lovely indeed. He hated the beach. His kingdom of Malum was cold year round, with snow covering the ground seven months out of the year. Orion had fled so far south that they were in the kingdom of Blairford, the southernmost kingdom on the continent. Malum was the northernmost kingdom. Xenos had not enjoyed the chase, nor did he enjoy the climate. It felt as if he was swimming through the air, and already he could feel the sand from the wind getting all through his clothing. The horses didn’t like the change in weather either, and their progress had slowed the further south they’d gone. They were mountain-bred horses, meant to stay in the mountains. Xenos himself felt sure that he hadn’t been meant to leave the cold peaks either.

“Or not far enough,” Orion said. He turned and smiled at Xenos, holding a large seashell in one hand. “It is your first time here, is it not? Perhaps you should enjoy yourself.”

Xenos grit his teeth. The waves of the ocean were choppy and full of white. The sky was overcast and there was lightening in the distance. Xenos felt satisfaction in the fact that the weather was reflecting his mood rather nicely, even if that meant that there was a good chance he and his men would be caught in the storm. “Must I use force to move you?”

“No, no, of course not,” Orion said, smiling. He started handing the seashell to Xenos. Xenos almost took it before he saw the gleam in Orion’s eyes. His eyes said “yes, trust me,” but the gleam said “trusting me could be your biggest mistake”.

“What have you done to it?” Xenos asked. Old, dried-up warlock that he was, Orion still had some magic in him. In his prime, Orion would enchant various objects with very powerful spells. He could enchant a crown to induce obedience from a king’s subjects. He could make a ring that would transport the wearer to any destination he wished. Now, Orion had the ability to enchant a seashell to give a nasty shock to whoever touched it. Xenos had learned to be wary.

“Nothing, nothing at all,” Orion said unconvincingly. He shoved the seashell into Xenos’s hand. “Just a trinket, that’s all. Wouldn’t you carry it for me? It’s amazing what you can hear with it.” Nothing happened, so Xenos slipped the shell into the pouch hanging from his belt. Nearby, his horse made a noise as it studied the waves curiously. “I’ve missed the sea. It’s so pleasant here.”

“Is it? I hadn’t noticed.” Xenos looked out at the waves as the wind whipped up and sand blew into his face and hair. He shivered and ignored the look Orion gave him. Even there, he was cold. He had never gone so far south because he had wanted some hope left that the heat could warm him. Yet at a temperature that would make any other man sweat, Xenos and his frozen heart were completely unaffected due to his curse.

“So, have we any plans?” Orion asked pleasantly as Xenos lifted the old man up to his own horse.

“Yes,” Xenos growled. “We’re going home.”

“Oh, certainly not.” Orion shook his head. A lone colorful bird flew overhead, crying out and drawing Xenos’s attention. The south was a strange place.

Writing Prompt: Anger

Objective: Write an emotional arc for a character to move through.
Objective: Explore the use of voice in conveying emotion.

Ferran paced back and forth between his bed and the wall. There wasn’t much space, barely enough room for him to stretch his legs. His bed was but a straw pallet laying on the ground, on top of which sat his new… present. Wren.

“Are you alright?” the girl asked cautiously.

“Am I alright?” Ferran asked. He turned to face her. “Do I seem alright to you? Do you have any idea of the problems you’ve caused me just by coming here?”

Wren stood up. Though Ferran was very tall, Wren was only barely shorter than him. “I’m sorry. Truly, I am. As you know, I chose to come here to never see my family again. I chose to put myself at the mercy of Lord Acton. I simply begged for him to throw me away to one of his servants to use as a toy. Yes, these were all things I chose.

Ferran shook his head and collapsed onto his bed, hanging his head in his hands. He allowed Wren to tower over him. “I’ve been working for years to free my sister from this place. Years.” He hated Lord Acton, hated him with his entire being. The man was scum, not worthy of the throne he sat on. Given the chance Ferran would kill Acton without a second thought. The only problem was that such an act would prevent him from helping his sister. He couldn’t just throw everything away like that. 

“I’m sorry,” Wren said after some time had passed. 

“I am too. No one is to blame but Acton. I just want to get Anna out of here.”

“And what if she doesn’t want to leave?” 

Ferran sighed. “Why do you think I’ve been here for so long?”

A short excerpt from an untitled novel I’m working on written for the above prompt.