Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Write On! Indie Book Review #4 Great Beginnings

   I know I've promised more reviews, so I'm getting to it! I've got a few books to get through, so I've decided I'm going to keep the format I began in Write On! #3, so let's get started! Today's reviews are all first books in their respective series and are all highly recommended by me.

 Fate: The Legacy Book #1 by G. G. Atcheson
   As you know, I love vampires and I love science fiction. Fate mixes the two in a fun, yet tense adventure that follows LX (who is referred to as Alex), an alien who finds himself stranded on earth with a damaged ship. The first person he meets is a woman named Mellie, who we quickly discover (long before poor Alex does) is a vampire. What do vampires and aliens have in common? They are both hunted down by the government, of course!
   Alex is a pretty smart alien. Having observed us for a while, he speaks several languages and is familiar with most of our customs, but he is not without his moments of (hilarious) confusion. Slang, idioms, and regional colloquialisms trip him up every now and again. He's not perfect and he knows it. For an alien, Alex is pretty relatable.
   The government is portrayed as one would expect; an institution of scared and sometimes sadistic individuals who fear all that is different. Despite Alex's insistence that he means us no harm,the government decides that he's too far in advance of us to be allowed freedom.
   The story is told well. Atcheson keeps readers on their toes with all kinds of plot twists and oh-so-close moments. At just $0.99 and over 300 pages, this book is a very worthwhile investment. I've begun the second installment and it looks like the action continues to keep us guessing. Grab this title if you like your SciFi with a dash of fantasy.

The Earl of Brass: Ingenious Mechanical Devices Book #1 by Kara Jorgensen
   Many years ago, I wrote a blog post asking what steampunk was. I concluded that it was a style I would totally get into if I was much younger and still had the energy to put an effort into my wardrobe. Soon after that, I found some steampunk novels and decided it was not a genre that translated well into written word.
   Until I read The Earl of Brass, that it. The difference here is in the storytelling, which is impeccable and does not rely of the showiness of the steampunk elements. The story begins with Eilian Sorrell, a nobleman who loses an arm when the airship he is on crashes. Losing an arm is bad enough, but Eilian  isn't content to live the fussy life of the aristocracy and worries that his adventurous life as an archeologist is over.
   Enter Hadley Fenice. Hadley has taken over her family's prosthesis business after the death of her brother. Using his last designs, she creates a mechanical arm for Eilian that allows him to continue the work he began. Hadley is truly the character who lured me into the story. Despite the setting of Victorian London, Jorgensen uses the steampunk/alternative timeline device to give us a strong female character who does not require a man to define her.
   If I'm being vague about the story itself, it is because it is an interesting adventure that I cannot do justice to in a few paragraphs of synopsis. Fans of both Jules Verne and Jane Austen will enjoy this first installment of what is shaping up to be an enjoyable series. The price is just $3.99 or free with Kindle Unlimited or Prime, meaning you have no excuse not to check out this up and coming series.

Travel Glasses: The Call to Search Everywhen Book #1 by Chess Desalls
   Isn't time travel interesting? When done well, it leaves the reader wondering what they would do, where they would go, and if they would survive. Travel Glasses does all of this and more.
   From the very beginning, this feels like a different world and there's a reason for this. You, the reader, are seeing the present day through the eyes of Calla, a teenager and an outsider who has shunned technology after a horrible experience with online bullying. Almost immediately, we meet Valcas, a mysterious stranger in dark glasses who seems to come from out of nowhere and just as suddenly rips Calla from her safe, if somewhat limited world. And from there, it's one adventure after another.
   We learn that Valcas uses his sunglasses to travel through time. What we don't learn, is his agenda. All we know is that Calla doesn't trust him (with pretty good reason since he basically kidnaps her), and steals his glasses to escape. But... It seems that using the glasses to travel through time is not without consequences. We meet an interesting cast of interconnected characters and begin to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding the glasses, but for each answer, we get more questions.
   Being time travel, there is some science involved, but nothing so heavy that it detracts from the story. Fans of fantasy, sci-fi, and adventurous young adult will love this book. Amazon price is just $2.99, another great bargain from another fantastic indie author.
   As always, keep reading Indie authors,support Indies on social media, and for heaven's sake, leave a review!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tagged! The World Book Blog Tour

  The World Book Blog Tour is an invitation to share not only an author’s work but also the work of other authors/writers. Then the idea is to pass it on in hopes of authors reaching authors and readers across the globe. Thanks to all of you who jumped on board to participate in the fun!

Super huge thanks to Chess Desalls for this amazing chance to pay it forward by tagging me for this tour. I met Chess because she is one of those mysterious folks who understands how to use Twitter and decided (for reasons only she knows) to follow me. As it turns out, she's not just a really nice person, but also a great author. Chess is the author of Travel Glasses, Book #1 in her YA series, The Call to Search Everywhen. Travel Glasses is a unique time travel tale that I am currently engrossed in. Expect a review in the near future. You can see her answers to the following questions on her blog, which is here. Follow her on Twitter @ChessDesalls or on Facebook.

These are the question posed by the World Book Blog Tour:
What am I working on?
   At the moment, I am working on the second book in an overly ambitious fantasy series. The series, which is as of yet unnamed, revolves around a fictional Midwestern town called Blackbird, which would be a forgettable blip on a map if it wasn't for the supernatural creatures it seems to attract. The only thing standing between Blackbird and Chaos is a handful of agents who maintain Order. The series will be a bit dark and delve into many different mythologies, but there will be loads of humor to balance it out. I am hoping to publish the first book in November or December.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
   Mainly by not wanting to conform to a genre.
   So far, I've attempted to put a different spin on everything I've published. My series, The Eyes of The Sun, takes the vampire mythologies and reworks them into a plausible tale of genetic manipulation. I've given a similar treatment to Zombies in my novella, Going Green.
   For Kind of Like Life, I didn't have a clue what genre it was going to be. Yes, there is a scientific element, but the character's love of fantasy is what drives the story. This one is more of a what-if style that I came up with after noticing certain themes that crop up all over young adult genre. I wanted an adventure, but I also wanted to touch on difficult topics such as bullying and abuse.
Why do I write what I do?
   I write what I want to read. I've been a longtime fan of science fiction, fantasy, and more recently, urban fantasy, which is a subgenre I could have used as a youngster when I had to prowl through the horror section to find anything paranormal at all. I wanted to add my spin on these wonderful genres. I also enjoy a challenge. Some of my ideas started with a single phase or even a word. I am forever amazed at where my brain takes me.
How does my writing process work?
   Typically an idea occurs to me at the least opportune time, like when I'm in the shower or falling asleep. If the idea is solid enough, I write it down and then write a first chapter. If the chapter goes well, I might just keep writing until I run out of things to say. If not, I go back and come up with an outline. Either way, the finished product is usually so very different from the original idea that I hold on to the original thought in hopes that one day I might attempt it again.
   I am also a slow writer. I am easily distracted and getting into the zone is a pipe dream. I usually write anywhere from 1000 to 3000 words in a day, but there are many days where I write nothing at all. When the first draft is done, I read it, find many plot holes and meandering text that needs to come back. Once it begins to look like a book, I give it to a select few, who pick it apart and help catch my many typos.

**Next stop on the World Book Blog Tour?**
Kara Jorgensen Kara is the author of the historical science fiction/ steampunk novel, The Earl of Brass, book one of her series The Ingenious Mechanical Devices, which is amazing and a must read. Be on the lookout for a review in an upcoming installment of Write On! The second book, The Winter Garden, will be out next year. Kara is on Facebook and her blog can be found here.
Earl Chinnici Earl is the author of Maybe You Should Move Those Away From You, a self-help book about quitting smoking from his own personal perspective. Trust me, this is a subject that I know from experience is not easy! Earl has a blog on his website and is on Facebook.
Doug Schwartz Doug's most recent work is a collection of short stories titled Pickled Bananas and other Schwartz Stories. He is currently working on a sequel to Checkered Scissors that I can not wait to read. Doug is also the creator of the 20 Questions Author Interview which is another fantastic opportunity for indie authors to get their name out there. Doug's blog is here and he is also on Facebook.