Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Phoenix Curse: After - Part One

Drumroll please!
After - Part 1

It is done. Many tears of joy were shed this day.

Without further ado, I give you part 1 of Afterbook 1 in The Phoenix Curse.

I actually uploaded last night, and was VERY happy to see Part 1 was already accepted into the premium catalog this morning. This means that the book will be going out to iTunes and Barnes and Noble in about two weeks.

I am still working on getting everything ready for upload on Amazon, for those of you that prefer the kindle. The formatting for Amazon is a total bear! Smashwords was incredibly easy compared to this! I figure it will still be a few days before the book is ready to upload.

Now that I know more about Amazon, I have decided to hold off a bit to enroll Part 1 in the KDP Select program, if I ever enroll it at all. I did find out I have to list it at .99 cents, and eventually Amazon will lower the price to match the free cost I have listed on Smashwords, but I have no idea how long that will take.

All that aside, I am very excited! I hope everyone enjoys the novella as much as I enjoyed writing it. I am eager to get to work on the rewrites for Part 2, and I'll be getting back to dedicating one night a week to Dreamland.

For those of you that have been with me from the beginning, I'm sorry you'll still have to wait a little bit longer for some story progression, but I do think the changes I made to Part 1 is worth a reread.

Thank you all!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Last Threshold, By R. A. Salvatore

Before I get into the 'review', a quick, happy update on After. All rewrites are now done! I am just going through one final read through as I format to fit the Smashwords specifications, and then Part 1 will be uploaded!

I am also working on the cover for CreateSpace and formatting for Amazon. I DO plan to enroll in the KDP program with Amazon, which means I will have to remove the Part 1 novella from Smashwords. If Smashwords is your preferred reading format, I apologize for the move, but I feel this is best for me at this time, and the marketing the KDP program can give me. All I can say is grab the format from Smashwords as quickly as possible.

Also, the book will be a free download while on Smashwords, as well as after I move it to Amazon.

I did suffer a minor hiccup Friday night, which perturbed me to the point that I shut off my computer and picked up a book. A small storm was blowing through, and we suffered a brown out after I had been working on my 'From the Author' for about an hour. Yes, I have my auto-save set up, and this is normally why I use Yarny or Evernote to write with, but I had JUST copied out of Notepad to clear formatting, and pasted it into Word.

*FLASH* Aanndd, it's gone.

I know it's not the worst thing that could have happened. I've lost full chapters before, but for anyone that's written anything, it's still very annoying. Especially since I've been chewing on my author's note for quite awhile now. The funny thing is, I know no one ever reads those! So, with an eye-roll to that minor annoyance, I move on.

My Copy
That night, I picked up The Last Threshold, the 4th and last book in R. A. Salvatore's Neverwinter Saga. I was only a quarter way into the book since I had been reading it on the plane the week before, but as soon as I got into it, I did what I normally do when I read books. I couldn't put it down and I finished it yesterday afternoon.

And when I say I can't put these books down, it is quite literal. Even though I have a signed copy from Salvatore himself, that precious copy is put away in a safe place, and I was reading it on my kindle app on my phone. So I'm reading it as I'm walking around the house, walking to the car, and in the passenger seat as my husband drives. This quirk I have annoys him, but he tolerates it. After all... it's Drizzt Do'Urden we're talking about here.

It will be difficult for me to review this book for those unfamiliar with the series. Salvatore has written quite a few books in the Forgotten Realms D&D world, and I have to look at is as just one part of the whole.

Is it the best book he's ever written? No.
Is it a must read for the Drizzt fans out there? Yes, yes, yes, absolutely yes!

The relationship I have with this series of books is quite unique for me and any other book series I've ever read. To keep it short, my husband was the one who introduced me to the books shortly after we had gotten together. During road trips, we would take turns reading the books to each other, and then would discuss them at length afterwards. Our shared love for the books brought me closer to the characters.

At first, my husband was several books ahead of me in the series, so when I finished the Ghost King, I couldn't let him know. I was devastated and wasn't able to talk about it for a few days. Now I have finished The Last Threshold before him, in fact we were pulling into a parking space yesterday to pick up our pizza when I finished the last word.

I clicked off the phone and threw it into my lap.

He turned to me, saying something about the pizza, saw the tears and just turned to get out of the car. I heard him say "crap" as he shut the door.

Based on my reaction, he is now scared to read the book. Now I have no one to talk to about it! I'm sure he'll pick it up soon. He's still helping me with the final edits on After, so I'll give him a pass on The Last Threshold for awhile.

I do need to update my Shelfari, but here are the books I have in line to read next.

Choices - A Time Travel Novella, by Cate Dean
Forever Road, by Catie Rhodes
Breaking The Devil's Heart, by H.A. Goodman

And I eventually plan to get around to reading the Dead series by TW Brown. I have read his Zomblog series, and really enjoyed it. I just fear that as soon as I start a series, I'm going to get lost in it for weeks and nothing productive will get done!

My next post should be the announcement that After - Part 1  is live on Smashwords. Not long to wait now!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Time to take a short break from the furious editing pace I've set lately. Need to make sure I finish on time to
release Part 1 at the first of June as promised. Things are going well! I've rewritten then ending of Part 1, and
now just have two scenes left to fill in and edit. Then it's time for one last re-read. Woohoo!

Also, another little bright point of interest, I am over 13,000 words into Dreamland. Not bad for a book I'm not dedicating any serious time for! I have shelved my work on Book 2, though, at least until I finish the edits for Part 1 of After.

Now for a little story. This actually revolves around something that happened to me yesterday morning, but first I need to flashback to about 18 years ago.

My friend and I were out driving down a stretch of not-so-busy highway when I see what I think is a paper bag being thrown out of the window of the car in front of us. It's just a brown blur, and I really didn't think anything of it, except my friend gasps and stops the car in the dead center of the highway.

It wasn't a bag that was thrown out of the window, but a kitten.

Now, I'm not going to go into what a despicable person it was that did this. That's not what this story is about, but to this day I still remain horrified at the act of cruelty I witnessed.

So, we're stopped in the middle of the highway. The car behind us stops to check on us, not sure what had happened, and the Good Samaritan thought we might need help. My friend explains, and he fetches the kitten. Amazingly enough, it's still alive, although it's pretty much petrified from terror and pain.

I held the little thing on it's back in my cupped hands. The only thing he moved was his eyes. He was alert, and obviously panicked. He had bitten through his tongue and had a few other minor injuries, but the worst was his right shoulder. It was pretty much shattered and completely useless.

It was late in the evening already, and I lived very very far from civilization. This was before cell phones, kiddos, so I actually had to get back to my house before I could start calling any local vets. That also meant pulling out the old yellow pages. Remember those?

Not actual pic of Lil'Bit
Anyway, we had no luck finding someone that could help the poor thing until the next morning. I patched him up as best I could for the night, making a little splint and harness for his injured leg that secured it to his chest. We were't even sure if he'd live long enough to make it to the vet. He managed to surprise us, and was actually moving around the next morning a little bit.

Then the vet recommended we put him to sleep.

Really? Not acceptable. If I had been able to get a second opinion, I would have, but our options were very limited due to how rural our area was. So I nursed him back to health on my own, and he made a miraculous recovery. His shoulder never healed properly though, so he never regained the use of his front right paw, but he managed to get around just fine.

He was very feral though, and never got over his ordeal. I had two other cats at the time, and he wouldn't get near either one of them. The only person he would tolerate was me, and that was only on his terms. One day, he got out of the house, and that was the last time I ever got close to him. I saw him occasional, and always set food out for him, but he was no longer under my protection.

When it came time to move back to civilization, I couldn't catch him. I hope he lived a happy life up there in the wilderness. I had always called him Lil'Bit.

Flash forward to yesterday morning.

I was driving to work, and had glanced at my radio for a sec. When I looked back up, I saw the car in front of me swerve and a brown flash of fur flying through the air. It looked like the car could have possibly clipped him, or maybe he had just jumped out of fright, but it was a fuzzy little kitten. It hit the ground and darted off the road into the field. I slowed down and tried to spot him, but he had already disappeared in the grass. I hope the little guy was all right.

Then, at the next light, I pull up behind the little mini cooper that had almost hit him, and this is the kicker.

The personal license plate was "L'Bit."

So, there's my little story of cosmic coincidence. I can only hope for happy endings in this story; that Lil'Bit lived a long, happy life in the woods, and the little kitten from yesterday morning is fine and has learned his
lesson about roads. I thought the story worthy enough to share.

Now it's time to enjoy the weekend now, everyone! I'll have my nose to the grindstone again soon enough. I may not update much while I'm working on the last finishing touches, but the timeline is still looking good!

Get ready, everyone!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Back Home!

Sorry for the lack of updates this past week, but I was on a business trip out in CA. First time I've ever been over by the LA area, but unfortunately my time was pretty much monopolized by day job stuff, and I didn't get to see any sites.

I also only got to spend a small amount of time on editing, but I still managed to get through a good chunk.

I am totally exhausted, and was super happy I got to sleep in my own bed last night. It feels so good to be home!

Going to recoup a little bit today, and then get back to it. It's still looking like I'll be able to hit the timeline.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Shara and the Haunted Village, by Jeffery Getzin

I just finished this little novella last night and have to say it was an enjoyable read. I give this book a solid 3 1/2 stars.
The reasons I liked it;
  • It's a quick read with a nice fast paced adventure.
  • It's very reminiscent of a D&D scenario campaign. I've read a lot of D&D books and I enjoy them, although I know not everyone does. To me, it always feels like you're part of the adventure.
  • The story had a nice, neat ending - the kind of ending you would expect for a story like this, and I found it gratifying and clever.
  • The demon gets a full 5 stars, and she's reason enough to read the book if you enjoy a good fantasy novel. IMO, she was the star of the show.
The reason this book didn't get a higher rating.
  • There were some scenes/errors in the book that pulled me out of the story, making it hard to get 100% absorbed.
  • The main male lead reminded me of a certain rogue leader of Bregan D'aearth, and he never really broke out as his own character until towards the very end. (Edit: See Jeffery's comment below! Very interesting.)
Now, the issues that pulled me out of the story I believe could be fixed with a bit more polishing. That would make this a stellar fantasy read that I would recommend to anyone. As it stands now, I know some people don't have a high tolerance for these types of errors, and I would be afraid to recommend this and then have the reader be turned off from the author. 

That being said, is this book worth polishing when the author could be working on new novels? I would say no, it's fine the way it stands now, and precious time could be devoted to writing new adventures. 

As for myself, I would gladly pick up another book from this author, particularly one that would revolve around Shara again. I could see her going on another adventure, one even further from home, and she has a ton of potential character growth.

Jeffery Getzin has his own webpage. You can find him here.

~ ~ ~ ~

NOW, on to a little Dreamland blurb. I know I skipped writing last week in favor of a much needed break, but I picked it up again this week and I got to finally introduce two main characters for book 2 to Joss. It's so exciting and I loved finally seeing them take shape in the words. They're exactly who I had rumbling around in my mind for these past few months.

Editing is also still going well. No hiccups or delays to report there. Nothing exciting either! Editing is so hard, but I'm done whining about it for the night. I'm satisfied with what I accomplished today, and I'm ready to start the weekend. Yay!