Thursday, February 23, 2017

Clockwork Prince

I would like to start off saying that out of this trilogy, Clockwork Prince is my favorite book.  This might end up being a fairly short blog because I really don't have very much bad to say about it at all, but I'll at the very least try to explain why it is a better book and why I like it so much..  I'll also try not to spoil anything for those interested in reading the series.

The problems I had with the previous book, Clockwork Angel, were not problems in this book.  Even though I'm not a fan of books that switch perspectives from one character to the next, it wasn't jarring in Clockwork Prince.  I think this is because most of the chapters stopped in a good place instead of stopping in the middle or beginning of the action.  So, basically, when there was a lull in the action of one chapter another would start. Also, the plot itself was more interesting, so when the perspective was switched to another character in another place it was just as interesting as following the adventure of the main character.

The love story really heats up in this book.  I knew there would be a love triangle, but there was much less focus on it in Clockwork Angel.  Clockwork Angel did a good job of setting up the characters and the world, but this book is where things really take off.  One of the lead characters of this book (he is on the cover) is also my favorite character in the series so that didn't hurt.  The love triangle is a bit much in terms of angst, but I have to admit that I liked it.  Though love triangles are guilty pleasures, this one was pretty good.  

All of the characters were equally endearing in this book.  There were several characters in Clockwork Angel that I didn't really like at the time.  To be honest the "love interest" in the first book seemed pretty repellent at the time, but when you find out his reasoning in this book, he becomes likable.  Therefore, you can't help but be cheering for both of the men in Tessa's life.  (Of course, I have a preference, but I'm purposely keeping this vague so that I don't spoil anything for the reader.)

There was action, intrigue, great characters and character development, and the main character became a lot more interesting than she was in the previous book.  So, long story short, I loved this book and couldn't put it down.  I finished it in about a week, possibly less, reading at odd times because I wanted to know what happened next.  I recommend it to anyone who likes steampunk, urban fantasy, and love stories.  I love all of these things, so this book was the perfect storm for my adult tastes as well as my inner teenager.  (I guess this blog didn't turn out to be short after all...)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My books are in print!

Hey Everyone,

I just thought that I would update you on the status of my novels. Both Blood Rain and Blood Moon are print to order on Amazon!  Hooray!  I have to admit that it's a nice feeling to be physically holding them. Even though I'm not opposed to e-books, I like the feeling of a book in my hand. Also, seeing my novels in print is kind of surreal.

Many thanks again to J.M. Lee for his awesome cover art. We tried to pick the right type of cover to do the pictures justice. At first we went with matte finish, but we ended up choosing glossy because the colors are more pronounced. We also did some work on the margins and we think we're pretty satisfied now. Many thanks also to my husband, Joel, for handling the format changes.

Long story short, both books are available print to order if you would prefer a print copy over an e-book. The e-books have also been updated to include any important changes. (Mostly, I fixed the grammatical issues that my editors found, and I added a few days here and there to travel times. This doesn't change the story, but it makes the world a bit more realistic and it satisfies my perfectionist tendencies.)

I probably won't make my goal of finishing book three by March 22nd, but we'll have to see. Progress is slow, but I feel like the story is going pretty well.  I'm going to take as much time as I need to make sure that the last book is as good as it can be.  I'll keep you updated on the status of Blood God as I write it. Currently, we're at 35,000 words. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Blood Rain and Blood Moon on e-book or in print, whichever you prefer.  Thank you for your time and for reading my rambling. I hope you enjoy the novels!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Clockwork Angel of The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

As promised, here is my book review for Clockwork Angel in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. (Sorry this took me so long. Better late than never. I'm currently reading the second novel of the series Clockwork Prince and will try to get the review of it finished in a more timely fashion.)

First of all, I'd like to say I really like the setting. I've always had a soft spot for steampunk, especially set in London. I'm also very impressed with the author's knowledge of Victorian literature and culture. Specifically, the author has a verse from a Victorian story or poem at the beginning of every chapter and it's clear that she knows the geography of London as though she lives there.

Another interesting thing about this series is the fact that it's an urban fantasy story. There are elements of gothic horror and mystery. I really like the combination of steampunk and gothic horror which is something I would like to explore in the future as well.  As with most young adult literature, there is a love story brewing throughout the book. I won't give any spoilers, but I will say that the love story itself is a strange one and it keeps you guessing..

The theme in this story is a secret organization of "shadowhunters" with angelic bloodlines hunting demons and keeping "mundanes" safe from the things that go bump in the night. While this theme has been done before, I think the author did a good job making the organization feel real with it's inner politics and the strange almost family-like dynamic created by the individuals within the institute.

The main character "Tessa" is a girl that has the power to use an object to transform into the owner of the object and view their memories. While she is a powerful female lead, there's a certain vulnerability to her that I find endearing. Her power makes her useful, but she is rescued by the other members of the institute frequently. While some might frown upon that sort of thing, I think it makes her transformation into a stronger character more important and being set in Victorian London (even though the character is from America) it makes more sense.

The only real criticism I have for this book is I really don't like changing perspectives. This might be a personal pet peeve of mine, but I've read other books that change perspective such as Stephen King's IT and it didn't bother me. Let me explain why I found it particularly irritating in this book.

I'm pretty sure Tessa is supposed to be the main character, but the book shifts between almost every member of the institute's point of view at least once. This means, that you look through another character's eyes at least seven times throughout the book and Tessa isn't in every scene. There are times that I wonder if Tessa is the main character or if Will and Jem are supposed to be the focus.I think Tessa is supposed to be the character the reader associates the most with, but with all the wavering back and forth it's hard to tell.

Also this shift usually happens during a cliffhanger scene when Tessa was in danger. When the character I care most about is in danger, I don't really care about Charlotte discussing institute politics with one of her contacts, I want to know what happened. It has a way of derailing the action and, about the time I get into the scene with the political discussion, I'm suddenly back to where I left off from the chapter before, or in a different scene entirely. It made the story feel disjointed and it kind of gave me spoilers about what the other characters were thinking.

Despite that one issue, this was a very good book. There is enough intrigue and mystery to keep you guessing at what the antagonist wants, though even at the end you don't really know. The ending seems to tie a few things up, but leaves other elements unsolved to explore in the second book. While that is an issue with some people, I don't think of that as a problem. I'm actually about halfway through Clockwork Prince right now, so clearly it left enough of a hook for me to want to buy the series. I suggest you do too. (Though there is only a hint of a love triangle in the first book, that is played up much more in the second.)

Well, I'm off to read more Clockwork Prince. I hope you find this review helpful, and if you like steampunk, gothic horror, hunters, secret organizations, or romance, Clockwork Angel is probably for you.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Blood Moon is here!

Hey Everyone,

I have some good news. I know I said I would have to push the date back, but my editor was nice enough to work through her illness and finished editing Blood Moon.  Despite illnesses in my household as well (including the flu), I've finished making the changes and Blood Moon is available for purchase on Amazon.  Here's the link if you're interested.  I'm very exited about it.

Blood Moon (book 2 of the Blood Rain trilogy

Also, the edits for Blood Rain should be finished within a few weeks and it should be available print to order as soon as the changes are made.  (Again, I assure you than nothing about the content has been changed with the exception of travel times and grammatical issues.) Blood Moon should also be ready for print to order around the same time.  It will be a few weeks as well, mostly because we have to approve formatting, etc. But it will be much sooner than I said in the previous blog entry.

Things are coming along on Blood God.  I'm thirty thousand words into it (about ninety-four pages) which is probably about a third of the way to the end.  So far, I feel pretty good about my progress and hope to have that done sometime in March or before.  It would be a nice present for me to have the completed trilogy published and ready for print and e-book purchase by my birthday, but we'll have to see. I'm working hard and as long as I keep it up, I should be able to make that goal.

After this trilogy is over, I might make a few more of my novels available on amazon. I'm not sure about which ones yet.  There are a few more homeless books that might end up as e-books, but I need to seriously edit them and finish the endings first, including a steampunk romance that I wrote several years ago. I think it has potential. The next project I'm planning is to work on, though, is finishing the first five stories in my young reader horror series and continuing my search for an agent to represent them.  Then, I might just try my hand at steampunk urban fantasy.  I have a few ideas.  I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy Blood Moon as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Take care!  Keep reading and writing!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Manhattan Book Review

Hello Everyone,

Sorry it's been so long since I blogged.  Life has a tendency to get in the way.  With two children sick with a fever of one hundred and four degrees and a sick husband, I just haven't had much time.  Honestly, I've been too worried about them to write.  However, recently I had some good news that I wanted to share.

Manhattan Book Review gave my novel Blood Rain five stars!  I still can't believe it.  The reviewer isn't a fan of science fiction or fantasy, but she loved the book anyway.  I feel that's probably the best compliment I've had on my work.  If someone who doesn't enjoy the genre still likes the book, it means that I've accomplished my goal.  I wanted the characters to win over a wider audience.  I'm starting to think this series has that potential. One of the things she said was she loved my flawed, dynamic characters.  I love them too, despite the fact I torture them so much.

Here's a link to the actual review.

Manhattan Book Review Blood Rain

I really don't know how to react to that kind of praise, but it does give me encouragement to keep writing and I'm very humbled.  I never even imagined that two professional literary journals would enjoy my stories so much.  Now, I just hope that more people start to read it.

I also wanted to give you an important update.  With so many illnesses and issues coming up over the holidays, I'm afraid the release of Blood Moon and my edits on Blood Rain will have to be postponed until probably the end of January or the middle of February.  Also, this means the print to order copy of Blood Rain will have to be postponed as well.  I'm sorry.  I'm usually better about achieving my deadlines, but one of my editors is sick.  On the bright side, I've almost caught up with all the edits that I have currently.  Also, it gives me more time to work on the third and final book, Blood God.

In other news, I have the second and third book of the Clockwork Angel series to read in my spare time (whenever that will be).  When I'm finished catching up on edits, I still plan to write a review of Clockwork Angel on this blog.  It might not be fresh in my mind anymore, but I remember the key things I loved about it and the things I didn't like.  I think it deserves some attention, because I loved the concept of urban fantasy in a steampunk setting and it might be something I try my hand at after the Blood Rain series is over.

Anyway, keep reading and writing!  I'll try to do better about writing in this blog more often.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Portland Book Review for Blood Rain

Hey Everyone,

Sorry it's been so long since I've blogged.  I've been very sick again.  Even though I've been resting up during most of my spare time, I've decided to try harder to be productive and to keep you posted.  For once, I have some good news on the writing front.

Recently, I sent my manuscript, Blood Rain, to Portland Book Review to see if it was well received.  And it seems that they really liked it.  They gave the book four stars and were honest about its shortcomings along with the things that they liked about the story.  I've very pleased with the review.  They talk a great deal about the themes of the story and seemed impressed with the world that I created even though the young adult market tends to be saturated with fantasy.

Anyway, the review is coming out later this week, and I'd really appreciate it if you would have a look at it.  I'll send a link on facebook, this blog, and on my website when it's published.  If you like what you hear and haven't read Blood Rain, please go to amazon and pick up a copy of the e-book.

Hopefully I'll be selling print-on-demand copies soon.  My goal is to have my edits complete by the end of December, and I'll be selling the print copies then.  As I mentioned on my previous blog, there are some travelling discrepancies with my world and some overlooked grammatical mistakes, but nothing that will take me too long to adjust.

For those with e-book copies, you should be able to update to the newer version for free.  From what I understand these small mistakes don't detract from the story too terribly much, but I want to give my readers the best experience that I can.  So, read the story now, enjoy it, and update your e-book when I have finished with my edits for a  more polished version.

In other news, I mentioned in my last blog that I intended to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this time around.  While I am involved with NaNo this month, to be honest, I'm not actively pursing it very much.  One reason is that real life got in the way.  This has been a rough month for me personally from unemployment to illness.  Things could be better.  It makes it difficult to focus when there is a lot on my mind.

Also, when I got started, my goal was to finish Blood God by the end of the month.  I think I owe it to my readers to try to write the best novel I can, especially since Blood God is the finale novel of this series.  So, even though NaNoWriMo has spurred me on to working on it again, I'm not going to rush it.   I don't think I'll be "winning" NaNo this year, but I will still be writing throughout the month of November and probably part of December until I'm finished.

In the meantime, between writing, reading, and real life, I'm also editing Blood Moon.  I am pleased to announce that I should be finished with those edits around the time that the Portland Book Review is complete.  So, if you're interested in this series, Blood Moon is the second book and will be available very soon.  It picks up almost exactly where you left off at the end of Blood Rain.  I hope you like it.

Well, that's all the news for now.  I have some edits to do and more writing on Blood God.  In a few days, I'll be leaving a book review myself on the story Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.  I read this book about two weeks ago, but the story was so good it's still fresh in my mind.  I hope my review does it credit.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Decorating, Working, and Reading

Hey Everybody,

Well, just wanted to let you know what's new and what is going on.  First of all, I'm finally almost finished decorating my house for the Halloween Party.  I'm very excited about Halloween this year.  We have our costumes ahead of time and are better organized than we were last year, so I think the party will be a success.  I've also vowed not to overdue the last minute preparations so that I enjoy myself more this year and won't make myself sick.  (Since I'm constantly getting sick anyway, there's no guarantee that I'll be well for the party and for Halloween night, but I'm not going to make myself worse by pushing myself too hard.)

In other news, I've started reading Clockwork Angel again.  I'm 127 pages into it, and so far it's pretty good.  Unfortunately, this is a story that switches perspective from one character to another, and that annoys me, but so far the story is good enough to hold my interest anyway.  I'll write a full review once I finish.  I've been using the exercise bike and reading at the same time and then reading while I catch my breath, which lets me enjoy at least a few chapters a day.  The problem is, I read obsessively and basically read up to this point in about two days.  While I love reading, I need to balance it with my other work as well.

In terms of writing, I'm in the process of editing "Blood Rain" again.  I realize that the original copy that I published needs a grammatical makeover.  I'm changing the mistakes that I know are there and sending it to someone more qualified to catch my errors.  Once that is done I'm going to make the changes to the travelling times that I mentioned previously and, hopefully, those will be the last edits I will have to make before I open it up to be a "print to order" novel.  Wish me luck.  I'm working hard, but I'm thinking it will take at least another few weeks before it will be done.  If you have already purchased the book, just re-upload it when I update the e-book version.  And if you want to buy a hard copy, that would be nice too.

Anyway, I'm off to do a little reading.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.