Review of A Flicker of Steel by Steve McHugh.

Over a short amount of time, I powered through Mr McHugh’s the last three books of Hellequin Chronicles and then straight on to the first book of The Avalon Chronicles. After reading A Glimmer of Hope and seeing that the second book was up for pre-order, I was extremely excited.

So I have finished A Flicker of Steel, and now want to read the next one… but I have to wait until November…

I guess I should start with this review. Where was I? Oh yes, A Flicker of Steel. FoS expanded a lot from the last one, it been two years since the previous book and is set after Scorched Shadows (So now I understand the timeline), we pick up with Layla as a full-time agent. As this expands what happened after the takeover (if you want to know more read Hellequin Chronicles) and catch up Tommy, Oliva, Cassy, Chloe and Harry.

Seeing how they have grown and have been dealing with this new status quo and how they all need desperately need a win. There is not much I can say about this book without spoiling the heck of it.

The growth of Layla from the first book to the end of this one was marvellous to watch. In the first one, she thought she was a monster like her father, in this one she has accepted that darkness exists within herself, but you don’t need to lose yourself.

The book is action-packed and fantastic.

And again my hat goes off to Elizabeth Knowelden’s narration as it allows the humour, excitement, emotion and characters come to life. Her skill to give the listener/reader the full picture from her use different tones, accents and pitch. Miss Knowelden is brilliant and brings the level of the book beyond five stars!

Just like Mr McHugh has written so far, every book builds on the previous books and finally this book it connected to the larger storyline. Which make me want to read the next book, to see what happens!

5 out of 5 stars! (With Miss Knowelden 10 out of 5 stars!)

 

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The Day I meet Raymond E Feist.

This day has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, obviously meeting Mr Feist was a high point, while that dip was heading into the bookstore by the name of Pulp Fiction. Being attentive to Raymond’s Q & A today reminded me to stick to my guns and continue to write and create.

After leaving the Gold Coast for Brisbane, I continued to listen to Kevin Hearne‘s book Hounded: Iron Druid Chronicles, narrated by Christopher Ragland. While listening to the audiobook and I had a plan before heading to Mr Feist’s Booked Out. First was to go to Book Face Orion then to Pulp Fiction, to see if either bookstore would stock my books on their shelves.

The trip was long, but I was glad to be distracted by a humorous and enjoyable story by Mr Hearne (and I love that Irish Wolfhound!) Once I arrived at Book Face, it was a simple exchange, and my books were picked up by some incredible people; just love people being friendly. Book Face being my third bookstore stocking Lake Merrin and FableLands Interrogation was terrific.

On a high, with my books being taken and later heading to the event I thought it would be perfect that Pulp Fiction would be the fourth. How wrong I was!

At this point was my drop from sky-high to the darkest pit of despair. Now people might think, ‘you need to have thick skin.’ Surprisingly the retail representative at Pulp Fiction told me as such after ten minutes of berating me with why I wasn’t a real author, as I am independently published by Ocean Reeve Publishing.

I won’t go into what he said or that he wanted me to buy a book about the 42 reasons why you will never be an author and the 11 that would. All I could remember that I was asking if he would grab my book, and he was rude and disrespectful to me. I used to love this store, now it is dead to me.

Now I was angry and sad by the ignorance of this retailer, who wanted to lecture me on the subtler points of publishing. Which he has little or no idea, and with his own words doesn’t have the attention span or skill to be a writer himself. They say ‘those who can’t do, teach’; I wish to differ now, those who can’t do, bully those who can.

Being at my lowest for the last few days, which was a feat with my mother in the hospital. This was remarkably changed when I stood in line outside of Brisbane’s City Hall waiting breathlessly to listen to one of my favourite authors, Raymond E Feist.

Being in the presence of Mr Feist, showed me that this was a master of the written word. His casualness of being an author of a book series that spans thirty novels was wow! When he talked about writing, all I could do was nod dumbly to his every word. It was fantastic and what happened before was just a fleeting memory.

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His start in the fictional word was similar to the writing of Lake Merrin, started as a Role-playing game and evolved into a fantasy novel. The number of rewrites you need to do and the ability to cut away things to make sure your story is strong.

Then I lined up for him to sign my book, and while waiting in the line, I happened to start a conversation with a fellow fantasy fan named Jeremy. This became the most amusing thing of the evening that he was wearing a Machine Head’s shirt and as we approached Mr Feist, I was dumbstruck by him, Raymond notices Jeremy’s shirt and goes off on a chat about the band and then reminisced about a concert with the main attraction The Who. I just didn’t care as he was looking at me and I was a part of a conversation with RAYMOND E FEIST!

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All in all, it was a great day, minus the encounter with that bully of a retailer. Now I will send off a signed copy to my sister in Canada, as that was my last goal for the day.

5-star review of Hand and Talon by Melonie Purcell

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I grabbed this book for Rose Montague’s 12 days of Bookmas, but after being suck in after the first few pages, I was hooked!

Ms Purcell has marvellous creativity, her grasp of the lore she created for this book was fantastic! From the Callers to mages to the fae and most of all Kyrni, each was given a perfect amount of time to drip the information into your imagination.

I did also grab the audiobook, and the narrator Kristan James was spot on with her tone, pace and brilliant skill of bringing Melonie’s book to life.

This is a book to remember, and I might delve into it soon. Highly recommended!

Becoming a Quality Quantity Author

A post just went up in a group I am a part of, and the question was, are you a Quality or Quantity Author? After my disaster at the beginning of the year for my debut novel, Lake Merrin (and many weeks of depression) I realised that you need to become more than just a four-novel a year author, you have to produce four books but at high quality as well. Hence, becoming a Quality Quantity Author.

There were two articles for each argument to this, one by Lorraine Devon Wilke and the other by Dean Wesley Smith. Each has good points (links below), but being a fantasy writer and also talking to successful published authors like Kimberley Clark and Nick Earls, I came up with a different approach.

Producing four full-length novels (around 100k) would be hard, and yes the quality will drop but what about short stories or novellas?

By the end of this year, I will have published seven ebooks and three paperbacks, two of which are novellas. These short stories/novellas range between four thousand to 21 k each, some taking a week to write and others a couple of months. What this does is create a reputation as an author.

Each short story ebook cost me around $200, that is a cover artist and editor.  The novella cost me another $150 for formatting and my new cover for the book $120. So three months of releases, 200 a month (600 in total) and in the fourth month a paperback another 270. The grand total (excluding printing) $870!

How much will it cost me to produce a novel, that could fluctuate between people? So far (minus my lousy choice of editor at the beginning of the year) it has cost me 4 to 5 thousand dollars.

I am not a rich man, but I do have an imagination that can think and produce many different story arcs, so if I produce one novel and at least twelve short read ebooks which will make around 4 novellas a year, why not?

At Oz Comic-Con, an author of four books commented on my novella; FableLands: Interrogation Part One, as breaking all the rules. It because in one book, I have three short serial reads in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person and the first three chapters of my book Lake Merrin coming out in December. I responded ‘I became a writer, so I didn’t have to follow any rules except for the ones I deem important to my own creativity.’

The argument with taking your time with your writing will produce a good book, that is determined by your readers. I have raving reviews for my short reads, but if it all was based on one novel, I am not sure that I would have a similar following.

The more you write, the better you become. The more you push your boundaries, the more you can be creative. In the end, do what you want to do, not what the creative industry dictates you should do.

 

Links:

FableLands: Interrogation Part One, Website or Amazon

Dear Self-Published Author: Do NOT Write Four Books a Year by Lorraine Devon Wilke.

Don’t Be a Wuss, Write Four Novels a Year by Dean Wesley Smith.

My Novella, FableLands: Interrogation.

I skipped my blog yesterday as I knew my publisher, Ocean Reeve was dropping off my proof copy of FableLands: Interrogation Part One. Looking though it makes the whole process real! Only months ago did I start writing this short story series and soon I will be at Oz Comic Con as a published author. How time flys!
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This isn’t the final copy but having the book in my hand. Seeing my name on its cover is a dream come true. I would never think that two years ago that a book on mine would be on paper.

I have some other great news, next month, the fourth part of FableLands, Sammy Trickster will be out for e-book and a new series Favinonian Tales, titled Rise of the Green: Trinity which is based in the same world as my main novel, Lake Merrin.

I am heading back to expose my readers to the rich history of Favinonia, so they can live and breathe in Amsul (the world Favinonia is set in).

Another thing is that I have been helped by my father to finish Lake Merrin, so fingers crossed that it will be out this year. I have my editors booked in, and away we go!
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On the 13th and 15th of September, I will be having a book signing at BELLA’s Bakery in Southport Central from 11 am to 1 pm, see you there if not see you at OZ CON!!!

 

The Mind Hack book review.

The Mind Hack is written by Peter Summersby. I was surprised and just wanted to turn each page. It was a marvellous short story.

Like always I don’t talk about the whole book, just how I emotionally connected to it.

Peter’s book, The Mind Hack is pretty much a computer game where fantasy clashes with reality. I could not stop turning the pages! This need to understand and know what is happening was paramount. I have seen anime that have used this kind of approach, Sword Art Online and Log Horizon. Unlike these shows, Peter has blended the computer world with this one, and those lines are indeed blurred.

This is a plot driven story, the main characters are subjected to this running series of events. So many things happen, and your mind is nearly overwelled with the information in these mere 76 pages, but Peter balances it with curiosity and fantastical landscapes to keep your mind occupied and drawn into this story.

The more I read, the faster I had to read it. Very few books hook me into the plot so effortlessly as The Mind Hack. Hats off to Peter Summersby. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in computer games to fantasy books!

I give this book, 4.5/5 and look forward to his next book!

Peter Summersby: website|  Facebook| Amazon | Twitter

Eve, The Awakening Book Review

Merely minutes ago I finished Jenna Moreci’s book Eve, the Awakening. I am emotionally drained but at the same time just want to scream to the heavens.

READ THIS BOOK!!!!!

I have been following Jenna’s vlog for many a moon, each one insightful and entertaining. A lot of my knowledge of writing comes from this marvellous Cyborg. She has just taught me something new again and again. Now Jenna has shown me a new path, how to entertain and amaze your readers smoothly.

I can calmly say that Eve and her creator have made it to my top 20, number one authors of all time. Jenna has taken to the stage with the likes of Feist, Douglass, Eddings, Hobbs and Rowlings. I am glad I found your Youtube channel.

Now to the book. Eve is a creature with flaws and strength, and she is amazing. Someone I could meet on the street, except for one little thing, she is a chimera, a humanovus: the new human. This book is when it gets absorbing and why it is believable. Us, humans don’t like to share the world with someone else, especially, if that ‘human’ is vastly superior to them in physical and mental abilities. In Eve, is where again Jenna grounds the story and shows the dark side of humanity. They hate these chimeras more than the ugly aliens, Interlopers. Have something look like you and is better; we hate even more.

The emotional rollercoaster of this book was fantastic, many time I was on the edge of my seat, wondering where the story was going. After reading so many books and writing a few as well, I can spot usually guess the general plot of the story. In the book Eve, I didn’t predict so many arcs or themes; this caught me completely off guard more often than not. Each of the main characters is fleshed out and flawed, even the attention to the minor or support characters have a personality and sometimes a small character arc. All I can do is tip my hat with this beautiful piece of literature.

All I can say is, wow and thank you.

For my other top number ones of Authors that have inspired me, click the links 1|2|3|4

To pick up Kayla: Genius head to these links,  AU Link, CA Link, US Link, UK Link

For Briana: Knight, just click these links,  AU|CA|US|UK