Anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE Mark Henwick fan – his Amber Farrell novels, set in Denver, are marvelous. Of course, I admit to something of a prejudice in that regard, as I helped him out with forensic and police sciences for the area (sort of hard for a Brit to get everything exactly right when you are writing about Denver!)
Sounds like I will be curled up in my favorite chair with a pot of tea and a quilt on Monday while I immerse myself in the next edition of the trials and tribulations of Amber Farrell!
Saturday night report 🙂
All structural edits done.
Tomorrow, I have one pass through the text for minor edits which I have accumulated (with lots of help from Jessica), and then the final read through.
I’ve done the cover titles, but I still have to write the cover copy.
That should mean that I press the publish button on Amazon sometime Sunday evening, and it should be available sometime on Monday.
I’ll post again when I’ve pressed that button.
Next up in our Turning the Tables interview series, we sat down with Leiah from So I Read This Book Today and found out exactly what she loves about indies and what she’s looking for in her next great read.
Also–she edits. So, be sure to check out her blog when you’re done here!
Don’t forget, if you have questions you want added to the next blogger/reader interview, email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add them to the next interview! Now, for Leiah’s Q&A-
Are you a writer?
I am not. Though I do admit to living in another world in my head, where dragons and shapeshifters are real – does that count? 😉
Um, Yes. =)
______________________ Do you have aspirations of publishing a book someday?
I don’t. I think the reason is that I am very much a reader, rather than a writer. What is it they say? Those who can’t, teach? Honestly, I very much admire those who have the skill, nerve, and fortitude to write. Writing is a lonely journey, one that needs encouragement from others and a great deal of self confidence within one’s self. I derive great enjoyment from immersing myself into the worlds created by these strong, intelligent people. Awww, thank you for the compliments! While we writers do tend to have a certain amount of confidence (or ego), at the same time, we’re prone to bouts of self-doubt. We love hearing how awesome we are.
__________________________ What is your overall opinion of self-publishing?
Good and bad. The good is that I have found multitudes of wonderful writers whose work I would never have had access to had there not been self-publishing options. Publishers tend to lean towards what “sells” rather than what is actually good writing. And when they find a book that sells, such as the “Fifty Shades” series, and others, no matter how bad the writing is, they purchase others of the same ilk, ignoring exceptional writers whose work may not fall within those strict boundaries of “if you like that book, then you will like this newest book that is just like it . . .” The bad, of course, is that some authors are so desperately careless with their work, paying no attention to grammar, spelling, and other requirements of truly good writing. That is irritating and frustrating in the extreme – especially when an author has what could have been a well written story that is ruined by carelessness. 3 for 3 on the “Indies need to do better with editing” answer. Tell you something???
________________________ Do you read self-published books?
Nearly exclusively now. I also edit and proofread for several self-published authors. She edits!
_______________________ What is one thing you like about reading or working with indie authors?
They are not “entitled” unlike a lot of the professionally published authors. They listen to their readers, pay attention (usually) to feedback, and there are a lot of books out there that never would have been published by a publishing house – and yet the books are marvelous.
________________________ What is one thing indie authors are doing well?
They are putting works out there that are above and beyond the boring repetitiousness of the works published by the industry. Many of the authors are writing with true intelligence instead of cranking out the mindless, boring pablum that is readily available though the publishing industry. It seems that the industry, rather than finding authors that are capable of stimulating the mind, instead focus on the “YouTube” mentality of “the lowest common denominator.” I love the originality that comes with having publishing control!
__________________________________ What is one thing indie authors need to work on?
Paying attention to the technical aspects of the writing process. I often feel as if some authors don’t even have their friends or family proofread their work, much less a professional editor. Poor grammar, spelling, use of the wrong context for words (reign/rein) and other English grammar issues are frustrating and will ultimately make me put down a book within a few pages and discourage others from reading the authors’ books. She means Critique Partners and beta readers. If you don’t have those, get some. If you don’t know the difference, email me and we’ll talk.
___________________________________ What’s your preferred genre to read in?
I am extremely eclectic in my reading, but often love “urban fantasy” the best when I am simply reading “for fun.” I first found the genre back in the late 1980’s through the works of the first great authors of the genre, Charles de Lint and Emma Bull among them. However, no one is ever any more surprised to find me with a heavy science tomb in my hand than they are a Russian novel or a “cozy mystery.” Eclectic. I like it.
____________________________________ What kind of story are you most excited to read right now?
I just finished proofreading Trinkets, Treasures, and other Bloody Magics an Urban Fantasy by Meghan Ciana Doidge which I truly enjoyed. I am waiting for two more Urban Fantasies by two other indie authors, Mark Henwick and J. K. Walker, that I will be editing soon. Other than the UF genre, I am currently re-reading the whole Dave Roubichoux series by James Lee Burke, a wonderful Southern mystery series that pulls at my “lyrical prose” heartstrings.
______________________________________ What’s your prediction on the next “hot” genre?
Honestly? I hate trying to answer that question, as I very much dislike the “hot and heavy smexy” that seems to be the current “hot” genre. While some “smexy” is at times welcome in my reading, the current recitations of the same regurgitated story lines is boring in the extreme. My hope for the next “hot” genre would be books that harken back to the underpinnings of great literature – rather than being a focus on one “genre” I would love to see works of great, lyrical prose become the next “hottie” whether they be mysteries, straight fiction, or any other genre.
Thanks for all of your feedback, Leiah! We appreciate your opinion and expertise SO MUCH! Come back anytime!
I have been a reader all my life. The first book I remember reading was my cousin’s Greek Mythology high school textbook when I was six. Growing up in Arkansas, I never had a lot of access to books, so I read what I could, when I could, including the backs of cereal boxes (I know, cliche, right?) School was the discovery of a world of wonders that I had no idea existed. Especially for a fat girl with glasses and braids. I spent the next several years wandering around with my nose in books, from fiction to physics and everything in between. (Hey, I still do that!) These days, I am home most days, after surviving stage-III breast cancer. After two solid years of ATC chemotherapy and a long stint of radiation, I just don’t get out as much as I used to. Of course, that leaves me even more time to read so who really cares? Yoga keeps me from turning into a lump, and the dogs make me get out and walk, so life is good! My favorite reads are Urban Fantasy, mysteries and many, though not all, paranormal works. I can still get into a lot of other genres, and do, but everyone has a favorite child, even if they don’t want to admit it, right?
I have been a quilter for years, am going through a “knitting jones” right now, and absolutely love doing home renovation – not something I can do very well anymore, but hey, at least I got that stupid fan up! I love animals, the environment and food (even though my cooking consists of box brownie mix these days . . .)
Technically, I have a Masters Degree in Forensics and a Bachelors in Math as well as a Bachelors in English Literature from long ago in a land far, far away. I utilize my Forensic Degree doing police and forensics consulting for Indie Authors and my Literature degree as an Editor for up-and-coming Indie Authors in a variety of genres.
The Urban Fantasy field used to be a lot more interesting. Strong storylines, terrific, strong female characters with heart and mind and soul and strength. A lot of fighting, a bit of sex – it was fantasy writing at it’s best.
I don’t know when that changed – I know it was before “50 Shades of Horrifically BAD Writing” but since then, it seems that the world of Urban Fantasy written by women has become UF written by stupid, sexist, hormonal women with no taste and less capabilities. Basically really badly written porn.
Don’t get me wrong. There is still some really bad crap in Hour of the Lion by Cherise Sinclair. As well as some really bad logic on the part of the main character, Victoria. For a big, strong, Marine/CIA spy, she pulls some real boners when it comes to thinking things through. And, come ON people – can we STOP with the BDSM sometime? Like SOON?! This whole idea of “the guys love me so they are going to tie me up and beat the shit out of me and humiliate me as they parade me naked in front of all their buddies and people they never even heard of and then lets them screw me to prove it” thing is sick, disgusting, and makes me want to vomit. This book wasn’t on the ‘heavy’ side of the whole sicko thought process, but there was enough “I am going to hold you down and control you and force you to let me do whatever I want to do to you whether you like it or not, and you are going to like it (and, of course, she gets all hot and bothered and buys into the whole thing — gag) to make me roll my eyes and scream at the heroine. Stupid bitch. Took my original, ‘Oh, goodie, I may like her nearly as much as Kate Daniels” thought process and flushed it down the crapper. But be that as it may . . .
But, what I did like about the book is that it has a real storyline, with an actual setup, confrontation, and resolution. There are multiple plotlines without going overboard and being totally confusing, and the characters are, mostly, likable while the bad guys are truly bad, pointing out just how much humans may think the weres in the story to be monsters – but pointing out in great detail how it is humans who are truly the monsters. Monsters who should be put down with extreme prejudice as quickly (and painfully) as possible.
Vic is, as pointed out above, a Marine and CIA spy who is wounded in battle and, as happens in the military, is basically thrown aside as being, though previously useful, now damaged goods. Hurt, both physically and psychologically by the cold disregard of the mentor who she trusted, she finds herself going to the rescue of a woman under attack – and gets far more than she bargains for. Suddenly captured and at the mercy of sadistic humans trying to learn the secrets of previously unknown weres, Vic is thrown into the position of trying to rescue a young and very brutalized were. Rescuing him from the real monsters, she is forced to watch him die as they attempt to escape, his final words requesting that she travel to the home of his grandfather, to give word of his death.
Torn by her duty to her position and the dieing request of a child, she travels to Cold Creek, not knowing whom it is she is to contact, or what she will do when she gets there. The main storyline is exciting, well thought out mystery suspense, with a strong dose, of course, of UF, though at first the town seems entirely normal. As the UF storyline begins to grow, there is both good and bad to the story, as the weres try to retain their secrecy, and their safety, and Vic tries to decide if they are a danger to the US people, or if they deserve their privacy and safety.
The “Gathering” portion of the story, while logical in and of itself, was handled ridiculously badly by the author. I won’t even go into it. Suffice it to say, if you only read books for the sex scenes you will probably like it. If, instead, you expect logic and to have the main character going into a situation with good intel, well, sending someone you supposedly care about into a situation like that with as little intel as possible is not only stupid, but dangerous and again had me screaming out loud at the stupidity.
So, a better stab at good writing than normally found in this type of novel, but not exceptional. All in all, I wouldn’t recommend it to fans of ‘UF porn” as there probably isn’t enough porn to suit you, and I wouldn’t recommend it to readers of writers like Ilona Andrews or other exceptional UF writers because there is too Much porn. So, overall? Meh. I wish it had been better, though I am not surprised it wasn’t.
Frat House of the Dead is a great little novella which follows up on the happenings of Glacial Eyes (Book One of Salt Lake After Dark). If you have a previous edition of Frat House, you can download the new, edited version from your Kindle Library.
Glacial Eyes was one of my favorite series beginnings of the year. It was a requested review by the author, and I am tremendously grateful I acquiesced to the request, as it quickly earned J. K. Walker a spot on my “must buy immediately upon publication” list.
In Frat House, Jazz and her girlfriends attend a Halloween party – a party which will prove to be a lot more than they expected.
The story lines that make GE so good are included in this book, but we also learn a bit more about the ladies, especially Tammy, Jazz’s best friend, and Rachel the Technowitch. One of the things I really like about Frat House of the Dead is how J. K. weaves in a strong thread of humour through the story while not losing it’s edge. A feat that is missing in much of the Urban Fantasy books published today.
The book is clever, fast paced, and gives you a good overview of the female characters of the Salt Lake After Dark series. If you are considering the series, check out the novella. I have no doubt you will be as enthralled by the series as I am!
Looking back at my review of Cupcakes, the first in The Dowser Series, I realize that I talked more about the cupcake recipes that Meagan came up with. Well, the cupcakes sound awesome so who can blame me? But I never really said anything about the story other than how much I enjoyed it. And I should have, because the story is wonderful.
Jade is the daughter of a witch (father unknown), granddaughter of one of the strongest witches on the West Coast, and foster sister of yet another witch. Best friends all their lives, Jade trusts and loves her sister Sienna with all her heart. Happy in her life, running her bakery, “Cake In A Cup” and making ‘trinkets’ from bits and bobs infused with the magic of their former owners, Jade has a happy, calm, and peaceful life. Well, until the vampire shows up staring through her bakery window. And then, her whole life changes. Dead werewolves, blood magic, and other horrors change and twist Jade’s life. Yes, some of the changes are good, as she begins to grow into her strength, to become what she is meant to be. However, there is deep and cutting pain that must be absorbed, betrayals and hatred and horrors. Jade’s life will never be the same. But she grows, adapts, and begins the journey to her new life as an unknown power in the magical world.
You want to believe that there’s one relationship in life that’s beyond betrayal. A relationship that’s beyond that kind of hurt. And there isn’t.- Caleb Carr
There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Now, in the second edition, Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic (The Dowser Series 2) Jade continues to grow into her new Dowser powers. A magical ‘finder’ much like a water dowser, Jade tracks and finds magical objects – and apparently, also magical people. The story opens in the incredible Squamish forest of the Northwest outside of Vancouver as Jade enjoys her second to last piece of single-origin Madagascar chocolate and contemplates which of her two teachers, Kett the ancient vampire, or Kandy, the werewolf, will try to jump her this time as they teach her how to protect herself from the world of magic creatures. What they find in the forest is strange and new (to Jade) and proves her powers are even more than she first believed. Here starts a tale of yet more growth and change for Jade. And pain that she had only recently thought could not be more overwhelming.
More betrayal overwhelms her life in this edition, and yet there is also hope and new friendships, new discoveries about herself and her powers. Doidge weaves a tale with layers and depths not found in many of the other urban fantasy series on the market today. The beliefs that Jade has built her life upon are ripped out from under her feet, and nothing will ever be quite the same again. But as been said, and proven, over millennia, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – and Jade is coming into her strength.
There were some things I didn’t like about the book – Jade is much too forgiving of people who would dismiss and demean her, both as a person and a magic user. But that seems to be a theme with ‘family’ issues, where those who you thought loved you and believed in you truly don’t believe you are strong at all, who have no faith in your abilities . . . I wouldn’t be as forgiving as Jade was. However, I have a feeling that Jade will show that person that she is stronger, and “more” than anyone ever could have believed.
The end was shocking, and wonderful, and heartfelt. It has me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next volume. I highly recommend that you read Cupcakes first, then Trinkets. They can be read stand-alone, but you will enjoy it more if you read both. Then, when you are done and waiting for the next, I highly recommend that you read Meghan’s other works, especially Spirit Binder (The Cascadian Chronicles #1). The second of that series is another book I am drooling to get my hands on.
Again, highly recommended to anyone who loves Urban Fantasy, strong women characters, and beautiful writing.
My review for Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic
Meghan, Meghan, Meghan! I am expecting cupcake stocks to sail through the roof, and a run on cupcake ingredients at local markets just from reading this book. Whee!!!
OK, listen to this . . . Bliss in a Cup – peanut butter-iced fudge cake (did I say fudge cake? OMG wait a sec, I have to go get a towel . . . whew, there) Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Sex in a Cup – chocolate butter icing with a wallop of cinnamon and cocoa in the batter. Or, this particular favorite of mine, Buzz in a Cup – mocha fudge cake with mocha butter icing . . . oh, yes, I could go on, but I might swoon from pure overload. . .
Jade is a sweetheart. A nice young half witch, half human (maybe. . . ) with a nasty tempered foster sister, a wild earth witch grandmother, and a cupcake bakery. A very popular cupcake bakery with a reputation for ‘magical’ tasting cupcakes. She has a quiet life, happy with her baking, her trinket making and her quiet, apparently fulfilling life.
Then, of course, things change. And not in a nice way. Poor Jade. Life will never be the same. Apparently she isn’t who she thought she was. But then, who is she?
Cupcakes, hot werewolves, cupcakes, mystery, oh, did I mention cupcakes? Yummy, luscious, delicious, chocolate, fudge. . . Oh. My. Goddess. The hardest thing about reading the book? First, I am dying for cupcakes now. And second? Hurry! Hurry! Write the next one, Meghan! Please!
Is everyone ready? Here is one of the best Author Photos I have ever seen!
Awesome, isn’t it! SM (Sara) Reine just sent me a copy of her newest, Caged In Bone for review and I can hardly wait to start it! Of course, with the holidays it will be be after the New Year, but it is coming! The photo below of the cover is before the text was added, the final cover can of course be seen on Amazon. And what KILLER COVERS they are!!!!
If you haven’t found this wonderful series yet,Sac
Caged in Bone is a dark, gritty urban fantasy novel of 95,000 words. It’s the fourth title in The Ascension Series, so it won’t make much sense if you haven’t read the first two. If you’re new to the series, please go back and start with Sacrificed in Shadow: smarturl.it/sishadow
Sacrificed in Shadow: Sometimes, you need a demon to fight demons. Lincoln Marshall is a small-town deputy with a very big problem. Six members of his church have been found dead, killed by a rogue werewolf. He’ll have to make a deal with the Devil to save victims that have gone missing — maybe literally. Elise Kavanagh, preternatural investigator and exorcist, is the expert when it comes to violent deaths at the jaws of evil. She’s also among the most powerful demons that Hell has spawned. Elise jumps at Lincoln’s case, and it’s not just because of his down-home charm. Someone’s laid a trap for her in Northgate, and she wants to find out who. She’ll have to team up with Rylie Gresham, Alpha of the last surviving werewolf pack, to figure out who’s trying to blame the murders on werewolves. Only together can they stop the killings — and uncover the secrets buried in Northgate. Get it now! Amazon Kindle – B&N Nook – Kobo Books – Apple iBookstore
Oaths of Blood: Werewolves are immune to every illness and can heal any wound. It should be impossible for one to become possessed by a demon. But that’s exactly what Seth Wilder is facing: a werewolf gone insane from possession. He has no choice but to deliver her to the only exorcist in America, Elise Kavanagh, who also happens to be a powerful demon known as the Godslayer. Elise is in hiding when Seth and Rylie Gresham, Alpha werewolf, arrive seeking her help. She agrees, but everything has its price. What they learn about the possessed werewolf changes everything — Hell and Earth, the pack, and the future of the entire world… Get it now! Amazon Kindle – B&N Nook – Apple iTunes
Ruled By Steel: Elise Kavanagh failed to prevent the Breaking, and now Hell is spilling onto Earth. She’s delved deep into the City of Dis in an attempt to stop the infernal armies–but even the legendary Godslayer is unprepared to face Dis’s fiercest demons, not to mention the responsibility of liberating the humans they’ve enslaved. On Earth, rogue angel Nash Adamson is wing-deep in damage control after the Breaking, and his fellow angels don’t want to get involved. War is approaching the werewolf sanctuary. If Heaven won’t help them, he’ll have to turn to Hell for salvation. Everything hinges on who can control the City of Dis. Elise and her allies have no choice but to rule by steel… Get it now! Amazon Kindle – Apple iBookstore – B&N Nook – Kobo Books