blog-tour

Introducing Born In A Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray

I am delighted to help Jacqui celebrate the release of her latest novel Born in a Treacherous Time. I would highly recommend visiting Jacqui’s post, where she has provided a schedule for the blog hop (here). You will find a lovely interview here, and a review of the book here.

I have my copy, and will provide a review within the next couple of weeks. I can’t wait to join Lucy and her band on their adventure!

Find out more about the book, including an excerpt, below.

born in a treacherous timeBorn in the harsh world of East Africa 1.8 million years ago, where hunger, death, and predation are a normal part of daily life, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive. It is a time in history when they are relentlessly annihilated by predators, nature, their own people, and the next iteration of man. To make it worse, Lucy’s band hates her. She is their leader’s new mate and they don’t understand her odd actions, don’t like her strange looks, and don’t trust her past. To survive, she cobbles together an unusual alliance with an orphaned child, a beleaguered protodog who’s lost his pack, and a man who was supposed to be dead.

Born in a Treacherous Time is prehistoric fiction written in the spirit of Jean Auel. Lucy is tenacious and inventive no matter the danger, unrelenting in her stubbornness to provide a future for her child, with a foresight you wouldn’t think existed in earliest man. You’ll close this book understanding why man not only survived our wild beginnings but thrived, ultimately to become who we are today.

This is a spin-off of To Hunt a Sub’s Lucy (the ancient female who mentored Kali Delamagente, the female protagonist).

Kirkus Review:

“Murray’s lean prose is steeped in the characters’ brutal worldview, which lends a delightful otherness to the narration …The book’s plot is similar in key ways to other works in the genre, particularly Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear. However, Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. Even if readers have a general sense of where the plot is going, they’ll still find the specific twists and revelations to be highly entertaining throughout.

A well-executed tale of early man.”

–Kirkus Reviews

Click here for the entire review

An early reader’s review

Born in a Treacherous Time sheds light on a period of time that gave birth to the human race, and allow us to bear witness to the harshness and tenacious spirit that is uniquely human—to survive and endure. Readers with a thirst for knowledge and who enjoy historical fiction, this is a must read. I am looking forward to reading book 2 when it is published.

“I devoured the book in 2 sittings.”

–Luciana Cavallaro, author of Servant of the Gods series and webmaster of Eternal Atlantis

series logo born in a treacherous time

Book information:

Title and author: Born in a Treacherous Time

Series: Book 1 in the Man vs. Nature series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Cover by: Damonza 

Available at: Kindle

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Wild seriesShe is also the author of over a hundred books on integrating technology into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

Social Media contacts:

http://twitter.com/worddreams

http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

https://worddreams.wordpress.com

https://jacquimurray.net

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Lucy Leaves Her Homeland

The scene replayed in Lucy’s mind, an endless loop haunting her days and nights. The clear sun-soaked field, the dying Mammoth, the hunters waiting hungrily for its last breath before scavenging the meat, tendons, internal organs, fat, and anything else consumable—food that would nourish the Group for a long time.

But something went horribly wrong. Krp blamed Lucy and soon, so too did Feq.

Why did Ghael stand up?  He had to know it would mean his death.

Lucy wanted to escape, go where no one knew what she’d done, but Feq would starve without her. He didn’t know how to hunt, couldn’t even tolerate the sight of blood. For him, she stayed, hunting, scavenging, and outwitting predators, exhausting herself in a hopeless effort to feed the remaining Group members. But one after another, they fell to Snarling-dog, Panther, Long-tooth Cat, Megantereon, and a litany of other predators. When the strangers arrived, Feq let them take her.

By this time, Lucy felt numb, as much from the death of her Group as the loss of Garv. Garv, her forever pairmate, was as much a part of her as the lush forests, Sun’s warmth, and Snarling-dog’s guidance. Now, with all the other deaths, she could leave his memory behind.

Forests gave way to bushlands. The prickly stalks scratched her skin right through the thick fur that layered her arms and legs. The glare of Sun, stark and white without the jungle to soften it, blinded her. One step forward became another and another, into a timeless void where nothing mattered but the swish of feet, the hot breeze on her face, and her own musty scent.

Neither male—not the one who called himself Raza nor the one called Baad—had spoken to her since leaving. They didn’t tell her their destination and she didn’t ask, not that she could decipher their intricate hand gestures and odd body movements. She studied them as they talked to each other, slowly piecing together what the twist of a hand and the twitch of a head meant. She would understand it all by the time they reached wherever they headed.

It was clear they expected her to follow. No one traveled this wild land alone but her reasons for joining them, submissively, had nothing to do with fear. Wherever the strangers took her would be better than where she’d been.

Lucy usually loved running through the mosaic of grass and forest that bled one into another. Today, instead of joy, she felt worry for her future and relief that her past was past. She effortlessly matched Raza’s tread, running in his steps at his pace. Baad did the same but not without a struggle. His sweat, an equal mix of old and stale from the long trip to find her and fresh from trying to keep up, blossomed into a ripe bouquet that wafted over her. She found comfort in knowing this strong, tough male traveled with her.

Vulture cawed overhead, eagerly anticipating a meal. From the size of his flock, the scavenge must be an adult Okapi or Giraffe. Even after the predator who claimed the kill—Lucy guessed it to be Megantereon or Snarling-dog—took what it needed, there would be plenty left. She often hunted with Vulture. It might find carrion first but she could drive it away by brandishing a branch and howling. While it circled overhead, awaiting a return to his meal, she grabbed what she wanted and escaped.

Feq must smell the blood but he had never been brave enough to chase Vulture away.  He would wait until the raptor finished, as well as Snarling-dog and whoever else showed up at the banquet, and then take what remained which wouldn’t be enough to live on.

Sun descended toward the horizon as they entered a dense thicket. They stuck to a narrow lightly-used animal trail bordered by heavy-trunked trees. Cousin Chimp scuffled as he brachiated through the understory, no doubt upset by the intruders. Only once, when a brightly-colored snake slithered across her path, did Lucy hesitate. The vibrant colors always meant deadly venom and she didn’t carry the right herbs to counter the poison. Baad grumbled when her thud reverberated out of sync with Raza’s, and Cousin Chimp cried a warning.

Finally, they broke free of the shadows and flew through waist-high grass, past trees laden with fruit, and around the termite mound where Cousin Chimp would gorge on white grubs—if Cheetah wasn’t sleeping on top of it.

I haven’t been back here since that day…

She flicked her eyes to the spot where her life had changed. Everything looked so calm, painted in vibrant colors scented with a heady mix of grass, water, and carrion. A family of Hipparion raised their heads but found nothing menacing so turned back to their banquet of new buds.

As though nothing happened…

Lucy sprinted. Her vision blurred and her head throbbed as she raced flat out, desperate to outdistance the memories. Her legs churned, arms pumped, and her feet sprang off the hard earth. Each step propelled her farther away. Her breathing heaved in rhythm with her steps. The sack around her neck smacked comfortingly against her body. Her sweat left a potent scent trail any predator could follow but Lucy didn’t care.

 


Thanks for stopping by

Mel

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Sunday Spotllight: WR101 – Geoff Le Pard

sunday spotlight

This week at Writing Room 101, Geoff Le Pard popped in for a visit and shared a great article with us. Geoff just finished his book tour – My Father and Other Liars, and you can learn more about the tour and his new book, here.

The treatment of the adult orphan.

When I started writing My Father and Other Liars I had been thinking about the grieving process. My own father died in 2005 and, while his death came naturally as the end of a process the family lived through, I was intrigued by how the impact of grief worked. I vividly recall the moment I was told he had been diagnosed with cancer. I was sitting in my office, about 3.30 in the afternoon when the phone rang. Mum. She never rang me at work. I knew Dad was in for tests but her news hit me like a set of punches. It wasn’t a long call and by the end of it the initial shock became numbness. I sat staring at the conference table at the other end of my room and realised I couldn’t talk, not without breaking down. I was 47, head of this that and what have you and breaking down would have been embarrassing, humiliating. I got up, walked to the toilets and shut myself in a cubicle.

And that was it. An hour later I was off home to pick up the car and drive to my parents. From there on until well past his actual death a year later and well past the funeral I shed not a tear, felt rather divorced from all the emotion around me. He died in March 2005. In August I cried for the first time. I’ve had those tearing up moments since, never when I expect them and always difficult to deal with.

I talked to a friend about this, about how no one really seemed to understand this late flowering grief. He said something to the effect that being an adult orphan isn’t taken seriously. It’s expected, parents dying before their children. When that occurs at an expected age, people understand your loss, are sympathetic. But they expect you to be ‘grown up’ and ‘get over it’. Why? That’s what I asked myself. I read an excellent book ‘The Orphaned Adult’ by Alexander Levy. In it he takes a series of case studies to examine how grief impacts us as adults when we lose one or more parents.

I wanted to incorporate this theme into my book, since it was about fathers and my father’s death was still quite raw. My main character, Maurice Oldham is in his thirties and has lost his mother, blaming himself for her death. His father is also lost to him, but emotionally not because he’s dead. The book begins very shortly after Maurice finds his father – he believed him dead for many years – and he is angry and, in many senses, grieving for both parents. Finding his father alive robs him of his grief and that causes anger and a different grief in its own right. One of the themes throughout the book is how Maurice tries to come to terms with his father’s continued existence and the betrayals he feels at his father’s hands.

When Mum died five years later, the process was as erratic and difficult. I stood at the graveside and felt an awful heavy lump. This was truly it. Both parents had gone and the tangible connection to my past, my youth, my ancestry gone with it. I tried to bring out some of that in My Father and Other Liars, that linkage and to see in Maurice’s stuttering steps towards a reconciliation with his father the attempt to postpone that loss of one’s own living history.


my father and other liars

My Father and Other Liars is the second book by Geoff Le Pard. Published in August it is available as an ebook and paperback here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com


dead flies and sherry trifleHis first book, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle can be found here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com


GeoffGeoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Introducing Geoff Le Pard, author of My Father and Other Liars

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome Geoff Le Pard to the blog today. I met Geoff in person earlier this year, and he is as genuine as his blogging personality would suggest. If you caught my earlier post you’ll know that Geoff is running a blog book tour at the moment. The more I learn about My Father and Other Liars, the more I look forward to reading it.


The treatment of the adult orphan.

When I started writing My Father and Other Liars I had been thinking about the grieving process. My own father died in 2005 and, while his death came naturally as the end of a process the family lived through, I was intrigued by how the impact of grief worked. I vividly recall the moment I was told he had been diagnosed with cancer. I was sitting in my office, about 3.30 in the afternoon when the phone rang. Mum. She never rang me at work. I knew Dad was in for tests but her news hit me like a set of punches. It wasn’t a long call and by the end of it the initial shock became numbness. I sat staring at the conference table at the other end of my room and realised I couldn’t talk, not without breaking down. I was 47, head of this that and what have you and breaking down would have been embarrassing, humiliating. I got up, walked to the toilets and shut myself in a cubicle.

And that was it. An hour later I was off home to pick up the car and drive to my parents. From there on until well past his actual death a year later and well past the funeral I shed not a tear, felt rather divorced from all the emotion around me. He died in March 2005. In August I cried for the first time. I’ve had those tearing up moments since, never when I expect them and always difficult to deal with.

I talked to a friend about this, about how no one really seemed to understand this late flowering grief. He said something to the effect that being an adult orphan isn’t taken seriously. It’s expected, parents dying before their children. When that occurs at an expected age, people understand your loss, are sympathetic. But they expect you to be ‘grown up’ and ‘get over it’. Why? That’s what I asked myself. I read an excellent book ‘The Orphaned Adult’ by Alexander Levy. In it he takes a series of case studies to examine how grief impacts us as adults when we lose one or more parents.

I wanted to incorporate this theme into my book, since it was about fathers and my father’s death was still quite raw. My main character, Maurice Oldham is in his thirties and has lost his mother, blaming himself for her death. His father is also lost to him, but emotionally not because he’s dead. The book begins very shortly after Maurice finds his father – he believed him dead for many years – and he is angry and, in many senses, grieving for both parents. Finding his father alive robs him of his grief and that causes anger and a different grief in its own right. One of the themes throughout the book is how Maurice tries to come to terms with his father’s continued existence and the betrayals he feels at his father’s hands.

When Mum died five years later, the process was as erratic and difficult. I stood at the graveside and felt an awful heavy lump. This was truly it. Both parents had gone and the tangible connection to my past, my youth, my ancestry gone with it. I tried to bring out some of that in My Father and Other Liars, that linkage and to see in Maurice’s stuttering steps towards a reconciliation with his father the attempt to postpone that loss of one’s own living history.


my father and other liarsMy Father and Other Liars is the second book by Geoff Le Pard. Published in August it is available as an ebook and paperback here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

 

dead flies and sherry trifleHis first book, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle can be found here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com


GeoffGeoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls.


Blog Tour 2 poster 2

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Sunday Spotlight: WR101 – Rose B. Fischer

sunday spotlightThis week at Writing Room 101 I shared a character interview with Aldra Malimore from Doubling Back – A story of Synn by Rose Fisher.

Doubling Back Part 1Doubling Back Part 2

Aldra Malimore’s hope for a career as a sorcery scholar is over. Now, she’s working as waitress in the capital city of Arcanion and trying to resist the strange pull she feels toward Sorrell DeGray. When she stumbles on a thief with advanced technology that mimics the behavior of Synn’s color magic, it’s Sorrell she must turn to. But will trusting Sorrell be a mistake or a new beginning?

Interview with Aldra Malimore (The Foxes of Synn)

Mel: You trained for several years as a sorceress, can you tell us about your experience?

Aldra: In the Northern Realms, you have to apply to one of the schools. There are seven.  If you’re wealthy, a teacher or mentor affiliated with one of the schools comes to you, or if you’re poor but really lucky, you can get a scholarship to live at the schools. I was fortunate because two of my parents are already sorcerers, so I had a mentor.   He taught me some things and helped me design a personal curriculum taking different classes at various schools.  I was also allowed to incorporate classes from Earth.  Sorcery is an interdisciplinary field.  You study magic and a variety of other things.  We know how the weather works, and chemical processes, and geology, and things like that. We can combine that knowledge with Colored magic to do things.  Lifespans are longer, especially among people who know magic, and that puts a different perspective on continuing education.  You have to be able to do a little bit of everything, including employable trade skills.  Magic doesn’t make money, though some well-known magicians have noble patrons. Most sorcerers have more learned skills than innate powers and abilities.

I guess we’re more “the people with special knowledge” than “the people with special powers” although we have powers that others don’t.  Witches have inborn powers to manipulate nature, so they don’t always need as much technical knowledge.

Magicians work in groups and there’s more of an academic emphasis than a standard “adventurer” one like your readers would probably expect.  The degree I have, called an Intermediate Holdership, typically takes between 8-10 years to acquire. It’s worth about as much career wise as an Associate’s Degree on Earth, and once you get it, you need a research grant and approval from one of the schools to go to the next level.

Mel: That’s quite an educational system. It has me all the more intrigued by the magic in Synn and the commitment to your craft. In Doubling Back you mentioned a few spells and, I’m curious, what’s your favourite?

Aldra: Synn has several different magic systems, so “spell” can mean a lot of different things. The main type of magic that’s really widespread is Color magic. That’s what you saw in Doubling Back. I have a hard time picking favorites, but in Color magic there are styles of spell more than stock phrases or rituals to perform.  A spell is like a painting or sculpture.  You learn the technical skills and history; you study memorable ones, but when you’re working with magic, you make your own.  I do have a few of my father’s spells that he let me modify for practice when I was younger.  I still use those because I’m sentimental, I guess. Usually that’s frowned upon, like plagiarism.   I like experimenting with combinations and incorporating woodworking.  One of my nephews does magic with words and runes.  It’s really interesting, older magic than the Color practices.

Mel: It does sound fascinating, but then, mastering Color magic must certainly have its challenges. You shared a little about the different ways to travel across worlds, one being by magic mirror. How does this work exactly, can you share anything about the fairies without giving too much away?

Aldra: Sure. The mirror fairies live in a transitional dimension that exists between Synn and other places. You can go in and out of Mirrorveld through a magic mirror, and once you’re there, you need to pay a guide to lead you to the right exit.  They don’t let very many humans in, and even foxes have to be vetted before we’re allowed to come and go freely.  My father, Thad, is friends with Nyx and Eos, the Queens of the Skies there, so we’re allowed more leeway, but the queens are not people you’d want to cross, so we’re always careful there.

Mel: In that case, I’d want you at my back if venturing to Mirrorveld! You’ve had various experiences in the past few years. What is the most memorable?

Aldra: Ummmmmmm…Honestly, the most memorable was getting mugged, because I didn’t even know I was being mugged until I was halfway on the ground.  But that’s probably not what you’re asking about.  I lived with a merchant family in the city for a while and learned their trade.  Worked on a riverboat.  I’ll go back to that someday.  Semi-dated a princess, memorable because it was horrid…

Mel: I get the feeling the less said about that the better! I’m sure those experiences influenced you, and it’s clear you feel a great deal of responsibility – especially when it comes to protecting people. Did your fathers influence this desire to make the world a better place?

Aldra: *laughs* The less said the better, though I’m sure someone will decide to write that story eventually.  Did my fathers influence my social concerns? Indirectly, maybe. My fathers are thousands of years old. They were all victims of exploitation when they were younger, and I think they feel like they’ve paid their dues and done their time getting involved in world affairs. For most of my life, we just lived on our mountain, visited the city once in a while, went shopping on Earth, and didn’t get involved in causes, because that’s how my parents want to live.  Micah used to be involved in the world-literacy movement in the more recent past, but he retired from it to build their magic greenhouse and help manage the Rangers who keep the family forests safe. Diana represents us in the Royal court during the summer and fall months, but that’s just a game to her. The only goal is to keep the family in a position where we have leverage with minimum involvement in any conflicts.  It’s all about maintaining equilibrium so we can be as non-involved as possible, and I think it’s boring.   Everybody else says “it’s not important as long as the family’s safe.” I can accept it from my parents.  They’ve all lost their families before.  Their priorities are different.  From my sisters, it’s harder to relate to.  Anyway, that’s not how I feel about it.  I don’t want anybody to suffer the way my parents suffered. I want to be involved.  I grew up with all these priveliges.  If I can help somebody, why shouldn’t I?  I want to contribue something meaningful to the world.

Mel: You’re right. Why shouldn’t you. I agree with that philosophy, and admire your commitment. The ability to absorb energy is a wonderful gift. I know you battle against the draw of shadow magic – is this a unqiue gift within the family?

Aldra: Thank you. Yes and no. Foxes are… Well, the only way I can think of to explain it is “energy vampires,” but that’s an oversimplification. We gain sustenance from intimate relationships and contact. The energy most foxes need isn’t just the color magic you saw me absorb; it has to be personal energy from another being.   Young kits get what they need from cuddling with their parents, but as we get older, most of us can only get it from sex.  Micah is part of a plant species that  absorbs ambient energy of all kinds.  Sunlight, colors, whatever’s there.  Its autonomic, similar to photosynthesis; he can’t pick and choose.  On Thad’s side, there’s a family gift for being able to draw shadow magic out of people who’ve been possessed, or release ghosts, but I’m the only one who can ingest the shadows or pick what magic I take in.

Mel: That sounds like a great deal of responsibility, and dangerous too. You’re all unique, which is a good thing, but it must be difficult not being able to change into a fox as your father and some of your siblings do. Do you gain support from your family?

Aldra: Some foxes can change and some can’t.  Some only have two forms; some have three.  Some have the upper body of a werefox and a fish tail like mermaids. I shouldn’t let it upset me as much as I do. It’s really not a big deal if I’m thinking clearly. The problem is, once I get upset, I’m upset about everything, and I think the reason it bothers me is that I have so little in common with my family. That is one of the most obvious things, but it’s a lot more about how we think differently and have different interests and  values.  I  feel like an alien speaking some strange dialect that only has minor similarities to whatever language they’re speaking. They’re wonderful people and great about practical help if you want to learn something or there’s a problem. There’s always someone to spy for your back you up in an emergency, but for anything emotional, I’m more likely to go to my wife — I mean, my girlfriend — I mean…okay, spoiler.  Sorry.  >.<

Mel: Oops, let’s skip over that part! I can relate to those feelings, even if I’m not a fox; all families are challenging! But I’m glad to hear you have someone to rely on for emotional support.


Next week on WR101 Geoff Le Pard will be guest posting – a stop he kindly agreed to make on his two week tour – My Father and Other Liars. Below you will find details of his schedule, and I highly recommend visiting.

Blog Tour 2 poster 2


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Sunday Spotlight: WR101 – Charles E. Yallowitz

sunday spotlightThis week at Writing Room 101 I shared details of Charles E. Yallowitz’s latest release – The Merchant of Nevra Coil (Legends of Windemere Book 8).

merchant-of-nevra-coil

When the mischievous and random Goddess of Chaos gets angry, all of Windemere becomes her plaything.

It all starts with a collection of toys that have taken the populace by storm. People of all races flood the marketplaces to gather figurines of the champions whose adventures are starting to spread across the land. Stemming from the flying city of Nevra Coil, these toys bring with them a terrible curse: Fame. Every town becomes a mob of fans that hound their new idols and the delay is bringing the world closer to the hands of Baron Kernaghan. Perhaps worst of all, the creator of these toys forgot to include a certain exiled deity who is now out to earn herself a figurine.

Who would have thought a bunch of toys could cause so much trouble and lead to the breaking of a champion’s confidence?

SOUND EXCITING?
CLICK HERE TO GRAB IT ON AMAZON FOR $2.99!
ALSO ON GOODREADS!

If you would like to read the excerpt from Nevra Coil, please click here, to view the original post.

charles-e-yallowitzCharles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

BLOG: LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE
TWITTER: @CYALLOWITZ
FACEBOOK: CHARLES YALLOWITZ
WEBSITE: WWW.CHARLESEYALLOWITZ.COM

AND DON’T FORGET!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

CLICK HERE FOR THE $4.99 BUNDLE TO START YOUR JOURNEY INTO WINDEMERE!


Also on Writing Room 101:


Thanks for stopping by.
Mel

Blog Tour: Geoff Le Pard

Geoff Le Pard’s official blog tour begins on Monday, and will run for two weeks. He will be joining us here on WR101 on the 24 September, with an exciting guest post. Here are details for week one.

My father Blog Tour poster

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Guest Post by Renee Scattergood – Author of the Shadow Stalker Series

Everyone’s a Critic

By Renee Scattergood

When I was a teenager, I didn’t take criticism well at all. From my perspective it was a personal attack. Sometimes it was, and maybe that’s why I had a negative response to any form of feedback I received (even if it was positive, believe it or not). I don’t recall what happened between then and now to make me start appreciating it, but I can tell you what I’ve learned over the years.

There is a big difference between constructive criticism and plain old negative feedback (for instance, someone telling you they hated your book without explaining why). When someone tells me they didn’t like something I’ve written, I just shrug it off. I don’t expect everyone will enjoy what I write. I certainly don’t like everything I read. Everyone has different likes and dislikes and that’s fine. So I’m not going to waste energy on trying to make everyone like me.

What I have learned to value is constructive criticism. It’s not just a negative remark. It comes with a gift. You’re being given feedback you can use to improve your work and make it better the next time. Someone might tell you they enjoyed your story, but your dialogue was a little dry. So now you know you need to do some research and get some practice with writing dialogue. It’s not meant to be hurtful and vindictive, but helpful and informative. After all, it’s hard to judge your own work objectively.

My mom’s favorite saying has always been “Opinions are like (bum)holes. Everyone has them.” Next time someone gives you negative feedback and doesn’t explain their reasons, instead of getting angry or feeling offended, ask them why. You might learn something that can help you later, and he or she might appreciate the fact that you took the time to ask.

Of course, not everyone will have a good reason. Some people just like to spread misery for the sake of spreading misery. If that’s the case, just move on. They’re not worth your time.

***

Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing high fantasy, and has recently began publishing her first series, Shadow Stalker. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

SSE4 Cover JPG

Sign up for Renee’s newsletter and get a free copy of Shadow Stalker: Forbidden Love.

http://reneescattergood.com

Author Page: smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts

Google Plus: /+NayaScattergood/posts

Facebook: http://facebook.com/reneescatts

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ReneeScatts

Linkedin: http://bit.ly/ReneeScattergood-LinkedIn

Character Interview: Calista (Cali) from Shadow Stalker – Forbidden Love

Following yesterday’s review, today I have a special character interview for you – during this round we get to spend time with Calista. Tomorrow I have a guest post for you, in which Renee shares with us her views on constructive criticism.

SSE4 Cover JPGCharacter Interview with Calista (a.k.a Cali)

Hi Calista, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. It’s nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you too, and please call me Cali.

Okay Cali. You were born on the Dark Isle. What was it like growing up there?

Very hot. It’s a tropical island in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, though. It has been a great place to grow up. The people in our village all know each other and it’s like have a really large family. There are some I’d rather not know, but we don’t have to talk about that now. And it’s beautiful. It’s like living in a perpetual summer and it’s always green and colourful. There are flowers everywhere. It’s probably not a great place if you’re allergic to pollen.

If someone were to visit the Dark Isle, is there any place you’d recommend they avoid?

Anywhere that is not in a village. The forests are full of venomous man-eating plants. You wouldn’t want to run into one of those. It would be the last thing you do, unless you’re lucky enough to have someone along who can rescue you and give you the antivenom.

Have you ever encountered any of them?

Once, when I was about ten. I got angry at my foster father, Cathnor, over something. I can’t even remember what it was, but I decided it was horrible enough to warrant running away. It was the worst experience of my life. Thankfully, Cathnor was there to get me away from it. I never thought it was possible to feel so much pain.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

It would definitely have to be Cathnor. He’s not only my foster father, but my mentor as well.

How has he influenced you?

Well he’s raised me since I was little and has taught me everything I need to know about being a shadow stalker.

Do you have a secret you’ve never told anyone?

Well, I have lots of secrets, but Cathnor knows them all. He’s the only one I’ve shared all my secrets with.

Would you tell us one?

Ummmm, if I did that, it wouldn’t be a secret. 😉

Do you have any regrets about anything in your life?

I regret not getting to know my family. Most of them were killed when the Galvadi Empire invaded the Dark Isle. My only living relatives are my uncle, Kado, and my cousin, Shai, Kado’s daughter.

If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?

I would try to rescue our Foramar, Zain. If I was going to die anyway, it would be worth trying to bring him back so our people would have a leader again, who could take the corrupt Council of Elders down a notch.

***

Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood, author of the high fantasy series, Shadow Stalker, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

Review: GodMode by Quan Williams

godmode-coverSynopsis:

Elijah wakes up in a cage, and can barely remember anything about himself or his situation. He fights his way alone to escape a building full of bizarre and deadly monsters, while learning disturbing truths about himself. Once he finds the way out, he has to pass it up and keep fighting to rescue his wife and child from his nemesis.

Review

I had no idea what to expect when beginning this novel, though I guessed at the horror. It begins in darkness, as Elijah wakes up in an unfamiliar environment with no idea how he got there. I really enjoyed the first person narrative; it was akin to waking in the dark with him – a terrifying place to be. Descriptions of those first few agonising minutes, and the sense of anticipation, were beautifully executed.

The story is reminiscent of the Resident Evil movies, minus the zombies. Not that this book needed any; there were monstrosities abound. It was horrifying to realise these creatures had once been human and I was torn between pity and fear. But there were other genetically modified aberrations, and I coped with them until Elijah was confronted with flesh-eating spiders. At that point, I was so in the zone I wanted to run screaming in the opposite direction!

Being inside Elijah’s head brought the gore and horror of his situation into sharp focus. Descriptions were often graphic and the creatures the stuff of nightmares. The action was non-stop throughout – he faced a new horror at every turn. I found his humour a nice touch; it gave me a little breathing space.

My favourite thing about the book is the mystery element. Elijah’s memories return in a series of flashbacks, and this was a definite hook. I especially liked the fact the author linked them to sounds/sights/smells – it was a sensory overload.

There were twists and unexpected revelations, and Elijah’s conflicts were well thought out; the echoes of his past intertwining with the choices he made. The more he remembers, the clearer the picture becomes.

I really liked Elijah’s voice, his strength and his willingness to accept the mistakes he made. I get the feeling this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him.

***

photoAuthor Bio.

Quan Williams has previously published three other books and various short stories, as well as spending two years as a journalist for The Michigan Daily Newspaper. He studied creative writing under the tutelage of Jonis Agee, author of “Strange Angels” and “South of Resurrection.”

Social Media Links:

Facebook: http://facebook.com/quannage

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/quannage

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bahamutali

Google +: http://plus.google.com/+JuQuanWilliams/posts/dfYxCtyVdAq

Purchasing Links:

amazon.comhttp://amzn.to/10xhzvz

kindle:  http://amzn.to/1GrgVRg

Smashwords.com: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/325166?ref=DragonKnight2013

Also available: bn.com, nook, and itunes

The book is $12.99, downloads are 2.99

Review – The New Mrs. Collins by Quanie Miller

collins_promo (1)In the small town of Carolville, Louisiana, no one knows that Adira Collins inherited mystic powers from her great grandmother. All they know is that she’s beautiful, poised, graceful, and ruthless—especially when it comes to love. And no one knows that more than Leena Williams, who was all set to marry the man of her dreams until Adira swooped into town and stole the man’s heart.

Being left at the altar is bad enough, but Leena and her ex share custody of their son, so she has to see the new Mrs. Collins on a regular basis.

And it burns every time she does.

But soon, Leena starts to suspect that there is more to Adira Collins than meets the eye. And it’s not because she owns some kinky lingerie shop or allegedly insulted the pastor’s wife—it’s the strange way she can make a door close without touching it, or take one look at something and make it drop dead at her feet.

Leena starts digging for answers and soon discovers that, unlike her public persona, Adira’s true nature is somewhere on the other side of grace. She also learns, a little too late, that some secrets are better left buried.

Review

I love a good mystery, and found the level of intrigue in The New Mrs. Collins, one of its best features. There is strong humour, and some exceptional descriptions on the lives of those in Carolville.

The novel starts with a bang. One minute I was entertained by the chaos surrounding Leena’s impending wedding, and the next she was trailing through the mud in her wedding dress, having been left at the alter.

I particularly enjoyed the varied reactions to this traumatic event, in fact, the cast of characters in general are highly entertaining.

The real mystery begins with the introduction of Adira, the woman who, not only sets up shop in the local town, but shows no remorse about the fact she ruined Leena’s big day. Everything about her screams danger; her strange abilities, the perfect facade. As Leena goes digging into Adira’s life, the revelations only add to the eerie mystique of the woman.

By the end of the novel I was terrified of Adira, rooting for Leena, and fearful I may never sleep again!

I thoroughly enjoyed The New Mrs. Collins, and highly recommend it.

 

 

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