Book Review: The Author Mindset


Author
Ask any dedicated author and they will tell you that coming up with the idea for a story is probably the easiest part of the writing process. Sitting down and writing the book is certainly time consuming, while editing and rewriting is probably the hardest part of the process. One thing most of us fail to think about is the selling. How do we market our books? How do we get our name known by the masses?
The Author Mindset, by Falcon Storm, takes a look at what it means to be an author and offers advice on the writing process and the steps to take once the story is set to paper. I listened to the Audio Book version of the book and checked it against an e-copy, but this review will include my input on the audio version as well as the content.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Author Mindset”

Book Review: The Children of Darkness


Book Review

We are a slave to those who teach us, unless we teach ourselves. Great mysteries remain that way when knowledge is hidden away. Controlling information is an easy way to keep people in line and under your thumb. When the teenagers of Little Pond learn the truth about the world they live in and the lies being told them by the Vicars, they know that they have to do something about it, but will the people who have kept in the dark for so long ignore what they have been taught when their world is turned upside down? Nathaniel, Orah and Thomas must decide whether to follow the safer path or risk everything to set the people free.

THE GOOD

This is a clever take on the post-apocalyptic genre with a healthy does of social commentary subtly blended into the story. If you’re not in the mood to think of the story of the Vicars as a parable for the control of information, that is fine. The story is excellent in its own right and is a fast paced read that keeps the reader flipping through the pages to find out what happens next. Its is a fun read with a serious message, and for that reason alone it is worth picking up a copy.

THE BAD

The fast pace sometimes leads to shortcuts in the storytelling. There are times when some detail is missing and the reader is left to wonder or assume, which can be okay on occasion, but in this case it feels like the author was willfully leaving out the details so that the story could be moved along. This is not a major problem, but it occasionally leaves the reader scratching his head.

THE TAKEAWAY

This is a great little read with a fast pace, perfect for a summer time read by the pool or in the hammock. There is a positive message in this book that young adults and adults will enjoy. I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of The Children of the Dark, because I’m sure the next book in the series will be even better.

 

 

It’s finally here! Children of Darkness – Book One in The Seekers Series is available NOW. Check it out on Amazon.com. FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. GET YOUR COPY

“A must-read page turner.” Kirkus Review

About the Book:

The Children of Darkness - CoverThe Children of Darkness

The Children of Darkness is about a society devoid of technology, the result of an overreaction to a distant past where progress had overtaken humanity and led to social collapse. The solution—an enforced return to a simpler time. But Children is also a coming of age story, a tale of three friends and their loyalty to each other as they struggle to confront a world gone awry. Each searches for the courage to fight the limits imposed by their leaders, along the way discovering their unique talents and purpose in life.

“If the whole world falls into a Dark Age, which it could plausibly do, who could bring us out of it? According to David Litwack in The Children of Darkness, the only answer is us, now, somehow reaching into the future.” – Kaben Nanlohy for On Starships And Dragonwings

Publication Date: June 22, 2015 from Evolved Publishing
Purchase Link: http://smarturl.it/Seekers1
FREE WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23485495-the-children-of-darkness

Book Description

The Children of Darkness, book one of the dystopian trilogy, The Seekers

“But what are we without dreams?”

A thousand years ago the Darkness came–a time of violence and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic,” eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.

Childhood friends, Orah and Nathaniel, have always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for more from life but unwilling to challenge the rigid status quo. When their friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his “teaching”—the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds the young to the Light—they barely recognize the broken and brooding man the boy has become. Then when Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel follows in a foolhardy attempt to save her.

In the prisons of Temple City, they discover a terrible secret that launches the three on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in jeopardy. For hidden in the keep awaits a truth from the past that threatens the foundation of the Temple. If they reveal that truth, they might release the long-suppressed potential of their people, but they would also incur the Temple’s wrath as it is written:

“If there comes among you a dreamer of dreams saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”

“A fresh perspective on our own society…[an] enjoyable read that will make you wonder just how society will judge us in the future.” Lexie

2Get Your Copy Now!

About the Author:

David Front PageThe urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

After publishing two award winning novels, Along the Watchtower and The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky, he’s hard at work on the dystopian trilogy, The Seekers.

David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

Website: www.davidlitwack.com
Facebook: David Litwack – Author
Twitter: @DavidLitwack

Giveaway

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More Reviews!

“Litwack’s storytelling painted a world of both light and darkness–and the truth that would mix the two.” Fiction Fervor

The Children of Darkness is a dystopian novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.” C.P. Bialois

“This is a satisfying exploration of three teens’ journey into the unknown, and the struggles faced by all who seek true emancipation – both for themselves, and for the people they love.” Suzy Wilson

“Litwack’s writing is fresh, and Nathaniel, Orah and Thomas come to life in your imagination as you frantically flip (or click) the pages of this book.” Anna Tan

“…many profound themes, lovely characterizations and relationships” R. Campbell

“I was enthralled and intrigued by the authors creation of this society… David Litwack has an enjoyable and captivating writing style.” Jill Marie

“…a perfect story for young adult readers, but its underlying theme and character development will keep any adult engaged.” Kathleen Sullivan

Book Promotion

Lessons Learned This Weekend


It would be oh so easy to sit here and complain about it being Monday. My wife has the week off and our friend from Arizona is staying for the week. My little girl will be home all week with her momma and the boys only have a day and half of school this week. But am I bitter about having to go to work for three days? Yes. Yes, I am.

Book Promotions

I’m not going to focus my attention on all of that though. I’m going to focus in on the fact that on Saturday I spent the day at the Broad Street United Methodist Church’s Christmas Bazaar. I set up my table and waited for the customers to come rolling up. And waited. And waited. Sigh.

Kathryn Reed, my friend and the organizer of the event, did her best to bring people to my table and always introduced me as, “Eric Swett, the famous author,” and some people stayed to talk, but most wandered away without making a purchase. After lunch time I was visited by someone who asked some questions and wandered off, but she came back and bought a copy of Apocalypse Rising.  Sweet.  A little while later I had a couple come by and ask a bunch of questions about the books and the series. They were going to buy Apocalypse Rising, but I offered up Apocalypse in the Balance at a discount and they jumped on it. Super Sweet. I used the same deal for a friend that came by and he bought both books as well. That was the end of the little selling spree I hit, but I was pleased.

So what did I learn from this, my second public outing as an author?

First, I learned that I need a button to clip to my shirt/jacket that says, “Yes, I am the author.”  It was amazing to me how many times the first question out of anyone’s mouth was, “Did you write this?” or some variation on that theme. I would have thought it obvious, but I guess not.

Book Promotion

Second, I need to be better prepared before the day of the event. I had some great little signage that I created and some flyers with plenty of information, but I know it looked sloppy in the holders I bought that morning at Walmart (the sheets of paper were too big and I had to fold some edges). I also need a little book stand or something like that so that I can better display the books. Also, an easel and larger bit of signage would have been nice to grab attention. There was one other author at the Bazaar and she had a nice big foam core board picture of her book’s cover and I was completely envious. It seems like a small thing, but theses are investments I need to make for the future.

Third, I’m a pretty good with people. I’m personable enough, but I suck at self promotion and I feel awkward talking about how awesome my books are. When the Bazaar started I felt mousy, hiding behind my tables and my fliers, waiting for people to stop in front of me long enough for me to say something. The further along the day went the more I was willing to reach out to the people walking by and engage them in conversation. I talked about my book, about what it was about, finding the points of interest that might get the book sold, and damn but it felt good. I’m a long way from perfecting my pitch or approach, but the more public events I participating, the better I will get.

I struggle with self promotion and book promotion online for the same reasons I struggle in person. I suck at talking about myself or what I have done. If I can get better at it in person, maybe I can get better online as well.  I know my books, especially the newest one, are good, and the only thing holding me back is me. I’m ready to make that next step, even if it is a small one.

 

Blog Tour Update 2


Arizona Cardinals logo
Arizona Cardinals logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You might have noticed there was not a new post on the blog tour yesterday. There was a little snafu and I was busy spending time with my family rather than putting together a post on the fly. I might have put it together during the afternoon, but I was busy shredding vegetables and watching my Arizona Cardinals beat the Eagles. All in all it was a pretty spectacular day.

The good news is that there is a great post on the tour today. George Sirois interviewed me for the tour and posted it here. Give it a read and learn some more about me and my new book, Apocalypse in the Balance.

Book Review – The Dagger of Adendigaeth


Book Review

Alliances form and break as new discoveries are made and old loves rekindled. In The Dagger of Adendigaeth, the characters from the book Cephrael’s Hand plunge

THE GOOD

This book, much like the last, is very well written. The world is fantastic, well described and diverse. The characters continue to grow and develop beyond their origins. The twists and turns of the personal stories and the greater story keeps the reader turning pages at a rapid pace. It was often hard to put this one down and I know I spent more than one night staying up far later than I should have.

THE BAD

There is nothing bad I can say about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it from front to back and I cannot wait to start the next one.

THE TAKEAWAY

The seeds planted in the first book take root in this one and the resulting story is excellent. I  was eager to get my hands on this one and it did not disappoint. Some of the strings left hanging from the first book come together in this one and it leads straight into the third book, which I will be starting shortly.  I would definitely recommend checking out this book and this series.

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of The Dagger of Adendigaeth! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Dagger of Adendigaeth tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the book: “A Pattern of Shadow & Light Book 2

At long last, the reason for the blessed Adept race’s decline has been discovered: powerful beings known as Malorin’athgul are disrupting the Balance and preventing Alorin’s Adepts from awakening to their gifts. Who are they? Where are they? And how can they be stopped when they wield a power meant to unmake the universe itself?

In T’khendar…Prince Ean val Lorian has forsaken his companions in blood and battle to join the traitorous Fifth Vestal in T’khendar in the hopes of gaining some insight into the tragedies that plagued his Return. Now he must confront the man he’s long thought of as his enemy and discover the role he is meant to play in the First Lord’s darkly magnificent game.

The Vestal Raine D’Lacourte has followed his traitorous oath-brother Björn through six kingdoms and into the distant realm of T’khendar seeking explanation and atonement. But the condemned realm harbors shocking secrets, and Raine soon realizes he’s facing his greatest enemy yet—not in Björn, but in the truth.

Elsewhere in Alorin…the young truthreader, Tanis, faces a new villain in the fiery-eyed man he followed from the café in Rethynnea; the soldier Trell struggles to reconcile his growing feelings for the girl he rescued from the river against the guilt of his unknown past; and in Tambarré, another truthreader named Kjieran van Stone treads the incense-filled hallways of the Prophet Bethamin’s temple hoping to uncover a plot of treachery and betrayal before the Prophet demands his soul.

The time has come for each player to claim his role in the First Lord’s masterful game. All will be tested, but only time will tell how many can survive the dagger of Adendigaeth.
Get The Dagger of Adendigaeth through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats.
Connect with Melissa on her website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads.

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Is Fantasy Dead?


Fantasy genre

Fantasy

The biggest argument I have had in the last year or so was over whether the fantasy genre was “over.” The person I was arguing with pointed to the rise of paranormal fiction and the popularity of vampires and zombies as evidence that the genre of fantasy is passé. I pointed to the popularity of the TV show Game of Thrones as evidence that it’s not.

But really, who cares? Why does it matter if something is popular or not? Why does it matter if someone is “jumping on a bandwagon” because they like vampires or zombies? Or don’t? The point of genre media isn’t to be “the next big thing,” it’s to give voice to something that people think is important. I use fantasy fiction to show how important connections are, and how strong people who stand together can be. I know other people who use fantasy fiction to point to lessons that our culture has forgotten, to illustrate history in a different light.

Writers use fantastic tales—whether they’re set in an ancient civilization or a thousand years in the future—to show people their hearts and souls. To reflect a greater truth that they see in their deepest being.

This is one of the reasons I love crossover genres. I think bringing new elements into a genre can refresh the genre and bring in new fans, people who may not have read a particular genre before. Plus, you’re able to play with a whole new group of tropes, things you may not have tried before. Paranormal romance often uses tropes from fantasy books alongside romantic tropes, and gives both new twists and turns that bring fans of both genres together.

I think that all the fighting over which genre is more important or more popular is silly. I think everyone should have the right to enjoy their favorite book without worrying about whether they’re going to be condemned for jumping on a bandwagon or sneered at because they’re not ‘doing it right’ as a fan. I am an unapologetic fan of the things I love, but I don’t turn my nose up at someone else’s enjoyment of something. Indeed, I am glad I don’t—I would have missed some wonderful things that I’m “not a fan” of if I had!

I know it’s Pollyanna-ish to think we’ll all magically get along, but if someone is making you feel bad because you love a particular genre or type of story, I’m sorry. I hope you’ll take this random internet stranger’s permission to heart: love what you love. It’s all good.

About the Author
Fantasy Author Kara Owl
Kara Owl and Roo
Kara Owl writes fiction and nonfiction. Her nonfiction focuses on spirituality and health, particularly dealing with chronic pain in practical and spiritual ways. Her fiction runs the gamut from erotica to epic fantasy. 

She lives in Tallahassee, Florida with cats, a dog, and an amazingly tolerant husband. She spends her days writing, reading, playing video games, working with the dog, and occasionally herding cats. She is a comic book geek, loves horseback riding and all things equine, and is addicted to saving the world, or at least trying.
 
She is currently on an epic quest to find a good replacement for her beloved City of Heroes, and to turn her feisty puppy into a good dog.

Kara Owl’s Author Page

Book Review: Day of Reckoning


This is my book review of Stephan England’s novel, Day of Reckoning.

Book Review

Harry Nickles is a man used to terror. His position in the Clandestine Service has seen him travel to every possible hotbed of terrorism in the world, but when one of his team members turned traitor during their last mission, it added to the already intense paranoia that accompanies any career spy. Assassination attempts and terror attacks leave Washington D.C. in chaos and Harry is forced to go rogue in order to protect the terrorists’ next target.

THE GOOD

High stakes action and realistic espionage fill almost every page of this book, making it a fast paced read that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The characters are intense and filled with flaws that make them relatable, despite the fact that they live lives that most of us would never fully understand. The author displays a knowledge of firearms and tactics that, if not real, at least is written well enough to make the reader think that the author has first-hand experience.

THE BAD

The story is wide ranging in its scope, so at times it feels a little drawn out. The plot within plot structure make it feel like you are reaching the end of the book a couple of times, only to be drawn back in, but this is a minor thing and does little to detract from the overall strength of the book.

THE TAKEAWAY

Stephen England hit this one out of the ballpark and ends the book with a hook to its sequel that will leave you salivating for more. In the genre of espionage thrillers you will be hard pressed to find better than this book, or this author.

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Changes To My Book Reviews


I have been doing reviews for over a year now and this weekend I decided that it was time for a change. Now this change is nothing major, it is just a little style change to the format I thought I would give a try. If I don’t like it then I’ll ditch it and go back to the way things were.

So what is this great change I am talking about? 

With all of my reviews I try to point out what I like about the story/writing/etc. and mention the things that I think could be better. I usually try to follow this up with some sort of final opinion about the book and few links. So what I thought I would do is divide up the review into a three main sections.

The Good, The Bad, and The Takeaway.  The first two sections are pretty darn obvious I think, and the last one will be for that final opinion. I have been trying to stay away from any sort of rating or stars, but if I decide to go there some day then this is the section you will find it.

So there you have it. There will be three reviews coming soon, and they will all be in the new format. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

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Book Review: City of Pillars


 Let me say one thing straight off the top. I am not writing for your amusement, to ensure historical accuracy, or to get across some sort of philosophical metaphor. This document is my confession. I am writing down my experiences because I can no longer stand their weight on my soul. I need to relieve myself of the burden of my years and my actions. This is my last chance, my last desperate grasp onto the final traces of my sanity and my humanity. If only I can objectively recall what has happened to me, what I have been through, what I have done, then perhaps somehow I can find some loophole, some way to stem the inevitable tide of events that threatens to completely consume me. Deep down I know that I am kidding myself. I have no faith in this endeavor. In my heart I understand that there is no hope left for me, but still what’s left of my humanity dictates that I must try, must struggle against my inner demons one last time. One last gasp before the end.

I fervently hope and desperately pray that no one will ever get a chance to read what I am about to commit to paper. They’ll be coming for me soon, and I am almost certain (for reasons which will become apparent later) that I will completely destroy all evidence of this manuscript in the next few hours. Once that happens there will be nothing left to tell my tale. No one still alive knows enough of the pieces to understand the horrific whole. There are no records of my travails in any accessible archive. Without maps (which for the reader’s safety I will not provide), there is little chance of finding any of the objects and sites scattered around the world that could validate my words. If by some strange twist of fate this document does somehow get into a reader’s hands, I urge that reader to immediately destroy the copy before proceeding any further. The words written down here can be the result of only two things. Either I have gone completely mad, in which case the following is just the gibberish and ravings of a lunatic, unworthy of review; or I have been the victim of an organization that does not wish to become known and possesses such power and influence that even having the barest knowledge of their existence could be a significant danger to the health and sanity of the reader. In either case, no mention of this manuscript should ever be made, and no part of it should ever be allowed to see the light of day. The information contained within can be of no benefit to the reader. I am a man who looked too closely at the inner mysteries, and it has only resulted in my downfall. Retain your innocence.

Dominic Peloso (2012-04-21 00:00:00-08:00). City of Pillars (Kindle Locations 29-47). Kindle Edition.

 Book Review: City of Pillars

What happens when you stumble upon a conspiracy so big that just knowing about it might drive you mad? Paranoia becomes a close friend and even the haze of drug use adds clarity to your tortured mind. When Mitchell Sinclair stumbles upon a mystery that propels him from ambitious lawyer to man on the run, he will wonder how much of his world is consumed by it and how much of his life has been consumed by insanity. Continue reading “Book Review: City of Pillars”

Book Review: Souls of Darkness


Taiya looked furious. She stood in front of Alex’s house, waiting for him to go in, but he refused.

“I’ll take you home.”

“I don’t need you to take me home.”

“But I want to.”

“Alex, please, it’s getting dark.”

“I’m not afraid of dark.”

“You’re so pigheaded.” Taiya rode away.

“Will you at least tell me why I can’t be out after dark?” Alex said, having a hard time with the holes, which Taiya seemed to know by heart.

“Because of a very evil spirit.”

“Oh, c’mon. We’re running from a ghost?”

“Spirit.”

“Whatever.”

When they reached Taiya’s house, the door swung open and Kala, her mother, loomed in the doorway. She glared from Taiya to Alex. Now that’s scary.

“Don’t bother. He doesn’t believe in spirits.” Taiya left her bike and ran in through the door without giving Alex as much as a glance.

“Go home, Alex. Now,” Kala said, before she banged the door shut, leaving no room for discussion.

Offended and humiliated, Alex started on his way back. “Stupid people. Stupid beliefs. And stupid lack of lights,” he mumbled, as his front tire hit a hole and he realized he couldn’t make out the road. The lack of street lamps would be a definite reason to get home before dark.

Alex had his eyes glued onto the ground when he heard the high-pitched whistle split the air, followed by a gust of icy wind that made his bike wobble. This is not happening. The wind picked up, and he lost his balance. In slow motion, the bike fell sideways.

Alex tried to move his arms to cushion the fall, but his hands seemed glued to the handlebar. A sharp pain gripped his right upper arm as he landed on a rock.

He looked around, terrified, while he scrambled to get up. The high-pitched whistle stopped and the wind died down as he lifted the bike.

“Whatever.” He peddled as fast as he could, while struggling to stay on the road. His arm ached every time he swerved. He expected to see the lights from his house at any moment, at least the ones from the porch, but there were none, only pitch black. Maybe the trees were blocking them, or maybe his mother hadn’t turned them on yet.

He gasped when he saw two gray shadows speed across the road, a few feet ahead of him. His bike wobbled, as he pivoted to see where they’d gone. He could fight one guy, but not two. What did they want? Why not just attack him?

Beaty, Eleanor T (2013-02-05). Souls of Darkness (Kindle Locations 593-621).  . Kindle Edition.

Book Review Souls of Darkness
souls of Darkness Front Cover

Taking a trip to a strange and exotic land can be a life altering experience. The everyday things you take for granted in your home town might be different or not even exist in the land you visit. Music, politics, technology, food and religion can be unlike anything you are familiar with and might leave you wishing you had just stayed home. If you were Alex, the main character of Eleanor T. Beaty’s Souls of Darkness, you would have wished that and then some before you even reached your final destination. Continue reading “Book Review: Souls of Darkness”