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Review: Windwalker By Natasha Mostert

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I shall endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.
-Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.
William Blake – The Everlasting Gospel

 

 windwalkerHaunting and elegant. I have head Ms. Mostert’s works described this way before, by other reviewers. This, and so very much more, is the work of Natasha Mostert. For she has a voice that is deeply evocative, an exceptional, mystical writing style. Natasha’s turn of prose is both otherworldly and sensual, a voice that sends chills down my spine and reaches into my soul, making a home for itself in the sweet, dark recesses of my existence. Her writing comes to mind over and over, in the dark of night or the bright light of day, a paean to her brilliant style, as her ability to paint rich, intriguing portraits with words which steal into my awareness in the most common of moments. Words which bring me to my knees, to weep and sigh, to long deeply and without respite.

Kepler’s Bay. A remote and forbidding town in a remote and forbidding land, bitter and forlorn. Perched on the razor edge between the Namib and the sea, Kepler’s Bay clings to the edge of the world with barely restrained ferocity, much as do the creatures of the great desert upon which it backs. Kepler’s Bay. The melancholy call of the soo-oop-wa, the never-ending wind, maddens, takes piecemeal grains of the soul, eventually leaving behind naught but a dry, desiccated husk – a body walking with no spark within.

The Namib, oldest desert in the world, ‘The land God made in anger,’ say the San people. But he had always thought that only a god in pain could have imagined a place like this. And from this land of soaring dunes and brutal winds one day appears a wild man, filled with pain, with fever and madness. Madness and passion. Violence and death. Samuel Becket said: “All men are born mad. Some remain so.” And is madness not pain, turned in upon oneself?

Across the desert, in the lush green of the English countryside, a woman arrives. Lost and maddened in her own right, she arrive upon the doorstep of a sad and haunted estate. As she sinks into the stories of this place of madness, fratricide and pain, broken shadows and haunted rooms, one soon cannot truly discern where the house leaves off and the woman begins. Quiet desperation. Ghosts and haunting images through a camera’s lens.

They are so close, and yet so far apart. So very, very far apart. Has it been this way, lives upon lives, sinking into the past? And what of unintended consequences, the vagaries of fate and karma?

Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
‘Tis folly to be wise.
Thomas Gray – Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College

Through our lives, do our souls search? Do they seek desperately, yearning for that which was, which could have been, or which shall never be? And is evil merely the absence of good, demons playing bones with our lives?

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Khalil Gibran

Photo courtesy of Michael Van Balen All rights reserved.

How many paths must we walk, how many lives to be lived? How long must we suffer before paths may cross, before we might know peace? Do our souls wander alone, searching beyond ourselves for knowledge, deep in the rending silence of the night? A photography of insanity may be a shard of light. Questions and blood and dreams of deaths long past, pain and ancient desire. All are spread before us between these pages. Allow her words to reel you in, to touch and tease, sooth and savage by turns. To think. To dream. To sorrow.

To hope.

This book was provided to me by the author in return for a realistic review. It touched me more deeply than any of her works yet have – and those have been absolutely brilliant. I hate reviews that begin with “If you like the works of” to be honest, but if the interspersed quotes touch your soul, I strongly, very strongly, encourage you to read Windwalker. And then her other works as well. I don’t believe, once you have read this one, that you will be able to resist.

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Banging my head on the wall ….

createspace logo
Createspace – learn the rules here.

Or, how CreateSpace is going to push me to an early grave.

You see, I already have an author that publishes on CreateSpace. Erich had already set up his first book, and as his second was basically the same number of pages, the price was the same when I uploaded it.

Now, another author I am working with wants to print on CreateSpace too. OK, fine. The only thing is, she asked me what she should charge for her book. So me, being the helpful sort, decided to research the question and get back to her. And publish what I found here, since it is the nice thing to do for others, right?

banging-head-against-wall-11
Drawing property of Queen Procrastinator.
Click the drawing to go directly to her site.
All rights reserved for Queen Procrastinator.
Besides. She is really, really funny.

(Rubbing bruise on forehead from banging head on wall)

OK, so first I went to the Createspace site for information, right? Well, after 45 minutes of searching, going through “community” interactions and following links (which were, of course, mostly broken and took me exactly Nowhere, I think – (you notice I said THINK) I found the answers I need at:

https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/Index.jsp#content5

Now. Once you watch this video, you will note that it tells you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Sigh. OK, next step:

Calculating Your Royalty
       List Price (set by you)
–     Our Share
=    Your Royalty

Wow. OK. Helpful? Nope.

So, next step. What is “Our Share”? And how is it calculated? Hummmm. Well, let’s see. The Royalty Calculator is copied from the link listed above, so it looks a little weird, but I think you will get the idea:

Royalty Calculator*

Use the royalty calculator to figure out how much you’ll make every time your book is manufactured.

Print Options
Interior Type   Black and White
Trim Size   6″ x 9″
Number of Pages
List Price Channel Royalty
USD  $ 7.99

Amazon.com $0.75
eStore $2.35
Expanded Distribution -$0.85
Yes, suggest GBP price based on the U.S. price

GBP  £

Amazon Europe For books printed in Great Britain -£0.36
Yes, suggest EUR price based on the U.S. price

EUR  €

Amazon Europe For books printed in continental Europe -€0.25

So, looking at this, IT APPEARS that if my client charges $7.99 for her book, a pretty reasonable paperback price for someone who isn’t on the New York Times Bestseller List, she would make .75 cents in the US, but in Europe she is actually LOSING money every time someone purchases her book. . . Huh??? Wow. PAYING people to buy her book!

Monkeying around with the calculator, it looks like the least she could charge for her book and actually make money no matter where it sells is $11.99. That would net $3.15 in the US (unless she goes with “Expanded Distribution” which is something my brain can’t take right now, but she would only make .75 on the sale then) 1 pound 14 in England and 1 euro 52 elsewhere. I am not going to go into the conversions!

So, to break it down further:

Books
The royalty payment you receive for each unit printed to fulfill orders through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es and Amazon.it is the sale price less the per book charge, the per-page charge and our 40% revenue share. For information on book charges and our revenue share, please see our book Distribution and Royalties tab.

And note, of course, that in very light type at the very bottom of the page:

* Figures generated by this tool are for estimation purposes only. Your actual royalty will be calculated when you set up your book.

Sigh. I need a Single Malt and an Advil. And I have a Master’s degree . . .

So, are we clear here? I should have been able to find the info easily. Once I finally, finally found the right page, it wasn’t that hard, just play with the calculator. But apparently I am not the only one who was having trouble, as every website that I found out there gave conflicting information!

As for how they calculate their share, I found this page:

Understanding Royalties

That is a whole OTHER ball of wax that simply breaks down to where they get the figure they are calculating for “Their Share” and really isn’t all that useful in the long range, except that you do need to know what you are paying for.

I would love comments, thoughts, or whatever. . .

Oh, and just to CMA (Cover MY Ass) :  DISCLAIMER

All information on this page, whether copied or paraphrased or whatever, is the property of Amazon.com and Createspace.com and probably KDP.Amazon.com also. All information is provided as a service to my readers, and in no way is meant to reflect on Amazon.com or it’s affiliates. All links are directly to Amazon.com and/or Createspace.com and/or KDP.Amazon.com. All commentary is based upon my own experience and is not meant to reflect upon Amazon.com or any of it’s sub-companies or affiliates.

Whew. Think that covers it?

 

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