Are Indie Authors Worth Reading?

It may sound heretical for an indie author to ask, but I think it’s a valid question.

I take my writing seriously. I mean, get-up-at-5-am-to-write-before-driving-to-class, proofread-to-midnight, pay-for-cover-designers-before-clothes seriously. Most the other indie authors I know also put in the same ridiculous amount of time, effort, and exhaustive work. It can really hurt when we aren’t taken seriously by other people. There’s still a huge stigma towards indie authors, though it’s not as bad as it was even a few years ago. Still, a lot of reviewers, retailers, and some readers won’t touch our stuff just because it’s not tattooed with a Big Six Publisher’s logo. To add insult to injury, I actually understand why the stigma exists.

There are a lot of crappy self-published authors. A LOT. No way around that.

Hell, I was a crappy self-published author at one point. I actually reedited, redesigned, and republished my first five books because, let’s face it, the editing sucked and the covers sucked. (With their current versions, I can at least live with myself.)

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Being an indie author comes with incredible freedom. We get to choose when we publish, what we publish, in what formats, the cover art, the audiobook narrators, the interior format, who we sell what rights, and literally everything you can possibly think of.

But like great power, great freedom comes with great responsibility.

I’ve seen a lot of indies (and I’ve already admitted I did stuff like this) upload a partially edited Word doc. to Kindle Direct Publishing, slap together an image drawn in Paint, and set it loose on the innocent world. This is what has flooded the market with the bad material that has given so many of us a bad name.

Regardless, there is no “right” way to be an indie author.

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Those of us who are serious all agree it’s imperative to produce quality work for our readers. That’s about as far as our consensus goes. Some swear we need a professional editor. Others rely on a team of trusted beta readers and brutally honest writer friends.

Some indies hire professional interior designers for eBook and/or print versions of their books. Others bootstrap it and study the formatting guides like the Bible until we know what we’re doing.

We all concur covers are second only to story, but again we diverge. While most of us (including Yours Truly) will scream we need a professional cover artist, I would admit others have done pretty well with a Shutterstock subscription and Adobe InDesign.

There are a vast number of ways to be an indie author. Therein lies the point and the problem. It’s all up to the individual!

But are indie authors worth it? Really, that’s up to you—our readers. 

You are the final judge of all things. We’re creating stories and delivering them straight to readers. That’s the point of being indies. We answer directly to you and we try to listen to what you want—those of us who take our work seriously, at least. And there are plenty of us who take it seriously, I promise.

In the end, I would encourage you to try indie authors despite the existence of crappy ones. Take a look at reviews, browse a few free previews, and see if anything catches your eye. Remember we write to please you, not agents or acquisitions editors. Until then, we’ll keep bringing our very best because, long-term, indie publishing is one of those things people only really do when they can’t imagine doing anything else.

Review: Anomaly of Blaze (The Fireblade Array, #3) by H.O. Charles @HOCharles

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An Anomaly of Blaze is the cause of a great many troubles, but he may also offer a solution to the woes faced by our heroes.

In Calidell, The Fireblade must deal with her wars alone, and the battles she faces are nothing like those of the ten millennia before.

A new monster has taken up residence in her mind, and it seeks to control her power. She must do all she can to protect the ones she loves, but can she achieve this before her will to fight leaves her?

Volume 3 of The Fireblade Array

4 out of 5 stars

WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: Some spoilers for previous books in the series. Also, this book contains mature themes and  is not Young Adult.

I…have many emotions regarding this series. The books are huge, the timelines covered in each installment can span for decades, and the author most likely stays up late thinking “how can I hurt these characters next?”

The plot:

This book picks up just a few days after the end of the previous installment with a grieving Artemi and her children. Again, there is the same story style that takes on more of a chronicle/episodic format that your usual plot arch. There might be years lapsed between chapters, but in a world where old age doesn’t exist, the characters all stick around.

I admit I panicked a few times in reading this. I did not see the twist about who Morghiad’s reincarnated self thought Artemi was and once that was revealed…well, I can see how he would be upset over her trying to seduce him.

The characters:

There were a few times I wanted to upside Artemi with a good smack, but not for the reasons the other characters did. I suppose she’s entitled to make mistakes, but she should have taken a cue from how Morghiad dealt with her back when she didn’t remember him. Just give the dude some space!

I freaked out when Morghiad came back, especially when we started seeing things in his POV. I had no idea what the hell was wrong with him or where he got all these outlandish theories. To make matters worse, he never fully explains anything until BOOM we’re in big trouble and he’s about to make the biggest mistake of both his lives. Still…he’s my favorite character and darling little cabbage.

To be brutal, I do not like Silar. He started to redeem himself to me in book 2, but he’s pretty much fixated with Artemi and it only appears to be getting worse. At this rate, in two or three books he’ll be the new super villain/stalker that’s obsessed with her. Seriously, the poor slob needs to find a new girl or a new hobby or hard core therapy before this gets out of hand.

Morghiad and Artemi’s children, particularly the older two, can take all the <3 ‘s. Medea and Tallyn’s relationship is precious and adorable and I could just hug them both to bits. The youngest, Kalad, is kind of the stereotypical rebellious teenager. Kalad and his father’s reincarnated version do not get along at all I am not looking forward to this blowing up down the road.

Wow, that review got long fast. There’s probably a whole other review I could write just about the secondary characters and assorted villains who make their appearance over the course of the book, but I’ll stop there.

To sum up, I am still hooked on this series, I have downloaded the next book. If you’re a fan of romance epics with monogamous, multi-lifetime stories, for the love of Earl Grey, pick this up.

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Review: Redemption (The Captive, #5) by Erica Stevens @EricaStevensCGP

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This is the fifth book in The Captive Series. It is a stand alone novel however it is recommended that the other books in the series be read. Available now!

A year has passed since the war against Jack’s father that freed the humans from their roles as blood slaves and servants to the vampire race. Having left the palace behind in order to ensure that the outer towns are obeying the new laws, Jack struggles to come to terms with the grief and haunting memories that drove him from the palace in the first place. He’s content to lose himself in the outer lands and the obscurity that they offer him. That is, until he encounters Hannah.

Growing up in the small town of Chippman, Hannah had long ago accepted the fact that she would never leave it. When Jack walks into her life, and turns it upside down, she quickly realizes that not everything is what she’d believed it to be. Knowing that Jack will reject her if he learns the truth about her, Hannah struggles to fight her growing attraction to him. For though the town of Chippman seems normal on the outside, its residents harbor secrets that they’ve taken great pains to keep hidden. Secrets that have forced the town to live under the rule of the one man that could tear Jack and Hannah apart forever.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars
By far the best book yet! Don’t get me wrong, I adored Braith and Aria (still do), but the plot, development, dialogue—the everything—the writing style has gone through such an evolution that it’s mind blowing.

The plot:
I had to force myself to put down my Kindle at 1:00 a.m. I nearly murdered my family because they wouldn’t let me read. I couldn’t stop thinking about this book no matter what I was doing. The plot grabbed me by the throat and dragged me through without a second’s rest. The “squee” moments and the “hell no” moments were mixed together with perfect balance to keep my eyeballs affixed to my screen. Highest marks here.

The characters:
In books 3-4, we get brief glimpses into Jack’s psyche, usually when he’s thinking about the war or trying to navigate Braith’s volcanic temper regarding Aria. In this book, we delve much, much deeper, exploring how Jack ended up with the rebels to begin with, and what goes on in that head of his. A lot of it I would never have guessed and it was all the more fun for it.

I adored Hannah! She’s tough, determined, but also has a plethora of insecurities due to her “defect” and the lifestyle she was raised into. She and Jack are beautiful together and they’re one of those couples to make the fangirls squee and scream with delight.

Some of the characters from the earlier books also make an appearance and I was a little surprised to see them again. There was one point where I was thinking “Braith and Aria—leave! This is Hannah and Jack’s story now!” But they fit in nicely and it was kind of funny to see Jack come to understand just what it is Braith went through when he lost Aria. (The “how did you not kill me” conversation was so funny!)

I have received word that there will be a sixth book—one dedicated to Aria’s brother, William. I’m a little hesitant, but then I was hesitant with this one. I have high hopes and it looks like I will be a fan of this series for some time yet!

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euphoraYA: A Speculative Fiction Scavenger Hunt

Today I’m very excited to be hosting Rhiannon Hart, author of the Lharmell Trilogy to talk about her forth coming trilogy finale. So check out her her sneak peek and don’t forget to stop by the other blog hops for a shot at the Grand Prize!

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Welcome to the euphorYA Scavenger Hunt! As well as authors sharing exclusive content from their books, you can win the GRAND PRIZE, including books, gift cards swag and more. Find out more at the Facebook and Goodreads event pages.

I’m sharing a sneak-peak of my new novel Blood Queen, book three of the Lharmell Trilogy, which is out later this year.

A small warning: there are *some* spoilers for earlier books in the series, but they only refer to events and don’t confirm or deny them. (So if you’ve read earlier books and wondering if *that thing* really happened, you ain’t gonna find out here. MUAHAHA.)

Rhiannon Hart

Rhiannon Hart is the author of the Lharmell trilogy, Blood Song, Blood Storm (out now, ebooks and paperbacks available), Blood Phantom, a prequel short story, and Blood Queen (out later this year). An Australian ex-pat in London, she works in the city and spends as much time as she can exploring the countryside, old things, and Europe.

As part of the euphoYA Scavenger hunt you can win an ecopy of Blood Song, book 1 in the series.

Find me on … GoodreadsFacebookTwitter 

Extract from Blood Queen, Chapter 1

I slumped back against the smooth wooden bed head. A grimace, which might have been a smile in
another incarnation, slid across my face.
This part was almost better than the stupor itself. The minutes when
the laudanum was taking effect. My body loosening. The knowledge that, for the
next several hours at least, everything was going to be fine.
A key turned in the lock. Eugenia, mother’s maid, came to change the water in my ewer. Eugenia was the only one Renata trusted to enter now. The woman’s lips compressed into thin white lines in her wrinkled face when she saw me. My hand lifted in a fluttery wave, and I admired the ripples it left in its wake. How clever of it. How clever of me.
Eugenia’s hands shook as she emptied the basin I had not used and filled the ewer with water I did not want. Niceties for the locked-in princess.
I was sure I’d read this story somewhere.
“The handsome prince kills the wicked queen at the end of the tale,
you know,” I slurred, wagging my finger at her. “Probably her maid, too.”
“Your handsome prince,” she sneered. “If there’s murder to be done it’s not the queen he thinks of. He can’t take you away soon enough by my thinking.”
My head rocked forward. “What?” The word wheezed from my lips as if from blacksmith’s bellows.
“With any luck you’ll tear each other apart and your dear mother will be rid of both of you.” She paused and looked around, as if fearing she’d been overheard. But we were alone. She stepped towards me, placing the ewer on the night stand without looking. “He’s ugly, you know, since you spoiled his face. I’ve seen him.”
There was a crash, and the woman jumped, clutching at her apron. The ewer had toppled from the stand, shattering on the wooden floor.
I tutted. “Clumsy, clumsy.”
Eugenia went red, and fled the room. Her words rolled back and forth in my mind like a ship listing on the ocean. A prince. A prince had come to take me away. My stomach hovered high in my chest like a jellyfish beating near the surface of the ocean; a pleasant, ticklish feeling. The jellyfish swam downwards, bumping against my pelvis. Tentacles flowed down my arms, making them lift and bob in rhythmic motions. I might just swim out the window. I might just swim out the door.
The door. It was closed, but I had not heard the lock grating behind Eugenia. I stared at the door handle, wondering if I could be bothered making a swim for freedom. I waited, seeing what I would do.
I did nothing. What did I want out there when I had all I needed right here? I could do my jellyfish bob, and when Eugenia came back I could watch her grovel on the floor with a pan and broom. Nasty woman. When had she stopped liking me? I would ask her what prince she was speaking of, the one with the foul face who would murder me.
A-ha. Hmm. A tentacle reached up my neck and prodded at my brain. There was something in there. This was the problem with the stupor when it came on strong like it was doing now: things floated in the murk of my mind, just out of reach, and a jellyfish isn’t much good at pursuit.
I glimpsed a face with one steely eye and one dark, mangled socket. Yes, I knew him, but who he was eluded me. The prince, I thought, with thumping stupidity that was evident even to me. But which prince? His face swum closer and I saw dark hair and a fleshy mouth twisted into an unpleasant smile. Oh, yes, I did know him. His name was teetering on my tongue. Then it precipitated: Folsum.     
I sat bolt upright in bed.
Actually, my eyelids flickered, but the sentiment was the same.
Prince Folsum was here, in Amentia? My hands reached for the edge of the mattress, out of anger or fear, I couldn’t tell. The laudanum didn’t let me feel much of anything. But for the first time in weeks I felt the need to get up for a reason other than acquiring little bottles of apathy. I lurched back and forth across the room, as if crossing the deck of a ship in rough seas. The castle was pitching badly. My bare feet found purchase on the wood floor and I dove for the door handle. The currents tried to pull me back but I had a firm grasp. I turned the handle, and it opened. I fell out of my bedroom, landing hard on my knees.
There was no sign of the old biddy returning. I sloped down the corridor, palms walking me upright across the stone and tapestries as I went. My head spun. I was wasting it, my precious apathy. But a bride should greet her husband. We could pick up where we left off our tender ministrations the last time: me with a tenderised back and him with a tenderised face. We could compare scars and go for round two.
Where would Renata have put him?
I know. I’ll go and ask her.
“Moth-er,” I called in a sing-song voice, wending my way towards her rooms.
Renata’s living room was empty at first glance. And at second and third, too. Just to make sure I did a lap of the little room: the sofas,
distinctly new and Pergamian looking (the fashion, oh, they are the fashion nowadays, Zeraphina); the marble mantle, a fire burning merrily within; the table. I did a double-take on the table. It was covered in large pieces of parchment. My eyes tried to focus on the scribble. They were unsuccessful.
Probably the sheets were gardening plans. Or designs for a moat or something equally stupid. But they didn’t look like either. Lists of names and numbers. Our coat of arms. Official looking things, the sort he might pore over in his–
No. Shut-up.
–the sort of thing an organised, particular person might have, someone who was making plans.
Then again it could just be a shopping list. What did I know? Or care. I was looking for Renata. There was a cup of wine standing on the table
and I helped myself to it. Warmed and spiced. She couldn’t be far away. I started. Oh, there she was. At the door. Swaying–or was that me?–and her eyes gone round with surprise. Any second she’d get angry and they’d go flinty.
Yes, there it was. And now: Zeraphina!
“Zeraphina!”
“Zeraphina!” I echoed, flinging my arms up. Wine slopped out of the cup and splattered on the floor.
She struggled for composure, smoothing her red curls with a fluttering hand. “Come on. I don’t know how you got out and I don’t care right now, but you’re going back to bed.”
“What are these?” I pointed at the papers.
The fluttering hand was arrested on her breast. “They’re nothing, daughter.” She hurried forward and started tidying them away.
“Where’s Folsum?”
Her hands stilled. “He’s here. In the castle. He never left. Now, come on.” She reached for my elbow. “Where you’re getting this stuff is beyond me,” she hissed. “You’ve got to stop it,” she said, hustling me out. “Please. Don’t you think I wanted to do what you’re doing, when your father died?  But it wouldn’t have solved anything. I know you loved him, but he’s gone, and he’s not coming back.” She stopped and spun me to face her, eyes searching. “He is dead, isn’t he, Zeraphina?”

EuphorYA Scavenger Hunt Blog Stops Here’s the schedule for the EuphorYA Scavenger Hunt. Each blog stop features exclusive content from one of our authors as well as a giveaway. Collect the blue / red / pink colored words to make the daily secret phrases. Then enter for your chance to win the Grand Prize Giveaway–$75 Amazon / Nook gift card (first prize only), books and swag (first, second and third prizes).

Day One Stops, Friday ,June 20 – Blue Phrase

Anna Silver | Chloe Jacob’s World | Elana Johnson | Books By Intisar | Ali Cross

Day Two Stops, Saturday, June 21 – Red Phrase

Elisabeth Wheatley | T.L. Shreffler | RaShelle Workman | Kelly Walker | Hannah L. Clark | Christy Dorrity

Day Three Stops, Sunday, June 22 – Pink Phrase

Rhiannon Hart | Natasha Hanova | Tracy E. Banghart | Kaitlyn Deann | Jadie Jones

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Click here to enter the euhporYA giveaway

{Review + Interview + Giveaway} Caprion’s Wings (The Cat’s Eye Chronicles Novella) by T.L. Shreffler @poetsforpeanuts

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Words cannot express how excited I am to tell you about this book and host T.L. on my blog. So check out my review and T.L.’s interview and don’t forget to click here to download the first book in the series for free!

Caprion

A novella of The Cat’s Eye Chronicles.
Release Date: February 28th, 2014

By the age of nineteen, all Harpies know how to fly—except Caprion. He has yet pass the test of the Singing and gain his wings. His family has disowned him in shame and people are beginning to talk. Now an evil voice haunts his dreams, taunting him, drawing out his worst fears—that he will remain wingless forever.

Caprion decides to find the root of this insidious voice, no matter what it takes. He journeys to the secret prisons of the Harpy underground, where he meets a young slave named Moss. In those sunless, decrepit cells, a forbidden friendship is formed. Can Caprion and Moss find the source of the voice? And can Caprion save Moss from a terrible fate?

Join young Caprion as he journeys down, down into the earth, finding his wings and forging a friendship that will change him forever.

*Caprion’s Wings is a companion story to The Cat’s Eye Chronicles.

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5 out of 5 stars

I am fangirling so hard right now. This book had me pacing in suspense even though I knew Caprion was going to get his wings and the Harpies were going to be fine and I was fairly confident my favorite/second favorite character would be fine. I cringed, I writhed in suspense, I laughed (in a he’s-going-to-be-your-general-someday-sucker way), and I want Ferran’s Map yesterday.

The plot:

In Volcrian’s Hunt (my review) we meet Caprion, a Harpy general who proves to be slightly less of an SOB than the majority of his compatriots. I kind of wanted to beat him over the head with a shovel for all his pompousness in that book. I wasn’t sure I would be able to overcome that very easily, but I was pulling for him by the end of the second page. Despite knowing he’d be fine, I had several moments of borderline panic and had to stop at a few points and pace until I calmed down because I couldn’t handle the suspense anymore.

The characters:

Like I said, I had a whole new outlook on Caprion by page 2. We get a glimpse into his early struggles and fears and I never would have suspected any of them when reading about him in Volcrian’s Hunt. (Though the fraternal rivalry is hinted at.) Caprion was brave and compassionate and not willing to let the propaganda about the Sixth Race cloud his judgment of Moss and I dare you to read this and not adore him.

In Volcrian’s Hunt, we learn that Crash (an elite assassin of the Sixth Race, my Favorite Character) knew a girl when he was younger who was kinder and sweeter than the Sixth Race generally allows and was abducted by Harpies when she was around thirteen. In Caprion’s Wings, Caprion befriends a girl of the Sixth Race around thirteen whose been taken captive and makes a deal to set her free and return her to the mainland. In Volcrian’s Hunt, :spoiler:we also learn that one of the female assassins of the Sixth Race who’s hunting Crash was abducted by Harpies as a girl and somehow freed and returned to mainland with no memory of how she escaped. :spoiler over: Coincidence? I THINK NOT!!! But I loved Moss and in part because of that I hated the majority of the Harpy race by the end.

Sumas and Dahlia and the Matriarch were just begging for some unspeakable fate in this book. Of course, they kind of were in Volcrian’s Hunt, too (except for Dahlia, who wasn’t in that book). This series does a good job of not making any one group or species all bad or all good, there’s a mix in all the races.

I love, love, LOVE these books and I want Ferran’s Map even more now! (Which I wouldn’t have thought possible.)

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Shreffler

T. L. Shreffler lives in Los Angeles, CA. She loves diversity, fantasy, romance, iced tea, long walks, philosophy, and thrift store shopping. She recently graduated with a BA in Badass (Creative Writing) and her poetry has been published consecutively in Eclipse: A Literary Journal and The Northridge Review. She is author of The Cat’s Eye Chronicles (YA/Epic Fantasy) and The Wolves of Black River (PN Romance.)

Caprion’s Wings is a prequel novella telling the backstory of a character introduced in the third book of your YA Epic Fantasy series, The Cat’s Eye Chronicles. Did you always plan to write the novella or was it unexpected? How did you get the idea for it?

Caprion’s Wings was a very unexpected story! You could say it “fell out of the sky” (hur hur hur.) But there is a method to this madness. When I wrote the first version of Cat’s Eye back in 2006, Caprion made a brief appearance at the end of the book, right before Crash and Sora sailed happily off into the sunset (a very different version from what we have in Volcrian’s Hunt.) Readers at that time were very curious about Caprion and wanted to see more of him. So, as I rewrote Volcrian’s Hunt last year, I decided to make a little room for Caprion to continue his story. And he actually has an important role to play in Book 4, particularly with Krait and the Shade, so he fits in nicely!

Caprion is a “seraphim,” a battle-born Harpy with six powerful wings. Seraphims are very rare, so while studying Caprion’s character, I found myself asking a lot of questions: how does one become a seraphim? How does any Harpy gain his wings? And who was Caprion before he became the Matriarch’s right-hand man? I wrote Caprion’s Wings to answer these questions both for myself and for curious readers.

What was your biggest challenge in writing Caprion’s Wings?

Definitely the power play between Caprion, the Matriarch, and a young slave named Moss. The power dynamic between these three characters is very fluid. Caprion finds himself caught between rescuing Moss and appeasing the Matriarch; to save Moss, he must go against his queen, but as a seraphim, he has a duty to serve and protect his race. It became a very complicated scenario to weave! I must have read over it 50 times to make sure there were no plot holes.

Describe Caprion in a tweet—140 characters or less!

A wingless boy struggling to fly: doubtful, desperate, a little untried, but determined to change his lot in life. #CaprionsWings (rhyming intentional lol)

If you could say one thing to any of your characters, what would it be and who would you say it to?

To Caprion’s older brother, Sumas: my gawd are you a jerk! There is no reasonable explanation for just how big a jerk you are! (But as we age, I suppose we run across people who are selfish and competitive for no reason other than to get ahead in life.) Sumas, I wish you many grumpy, jealous and scheming thoughts for years to come….

And now a few questions just for fun…

Favorite mythological creature and why?

Gryphons! Because they are so unlikely….

Favorite overdone storyline?

A girl or boy being transported to another world where they partake in a mysterious, fantastical adventure! (ie. Alice in Wonderland, Narnia, etc.) This gimmick rocks because it allows the reader to retain their perspective on the “real world” while exploring a brand new fantastical world. What an excellent opportunity to discuss social norms, culture, perceived truths and other ideas contrary to what we find “everyday”…

What’s a question you’ve wanted to be asked in an interview? What’s your answer?

Q: Why don’t you write about “tough” heroines who have tons of snarky attitude?

These days it seems like all female characters need to be pumped full of “snark” and “sass” to be “strong.” However, in real life, I find this kind of behavior extremely obnoxious! I don’t think it portrays women very accurately. Some girls (especially in the bookworm realm) are not extroverted, bullheaded and full of attitude. Many of them are quiet, shy, and sweet by nature. By creating similar heroines, I wanted to validate these feminine traits. You don’t need to be a b*tch to be strong.

These snarky characters seem to tell young women NOT to embrace their femininity, but to try to act like men, which I think is destructive. Women occupy a unique role in society. We are the mothers and the nurturers–and that’s just biology. Estrogen is full of gushy, mushy feelings, and that’s okay! We don’t need to compete with men. We need to embrace our unique identity as women. Men need to learn the value of femininity, and if women themselves are denying that value, then I don’t think feminism is doing its job.

As Crash says in Viper’s Creed, “You don’t have to be strong all the time. That’s asking a bit much. You can be soft too, if that is who you are.” It’s OK to be sweet, gentle, naive and young. You really don’t need to be “tougher than the guys” to save the world.

Author Links:

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Blog Tour Dates

2-23-14 | Spotlight Mimsey Style | Please Don’t Feed the Mimsey
2-24-14 | Spotlight/Excerpt | The O’Raven Chronicles
2-25-14 | REVIEW & Theme Song | Lyndsey
Lindsay and Jane’s Views and Reviews
2-26-14| Spotlight/Excerpt | Oh My Shelves
2-27-14 | Character 5Q Q&A Caprion | Intisar Khanani
2-28-14 | REVIEW & Would you Rather w/Caprion | TTC Books & More
3-01-14 | Spotlight/Excerpt | A World of Words
3-01-14 | REVIEW & Spotlight | Genieva’s Book Blog
3-02-14 | REVIEW & Author top 10 | Becca Anne’s Book Reviews
3-03-14 | REVIEW & This OR That with Moss |
Paranormal Book Club
3-04-14 | REVIEW & Guest Post | Alina Popescu
3-04-14 | REVIEW & Interview | Elisabeth | Inkspelled Faery

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Review: Magic of Thieves (Legends of Dimmingwood, #1) by C. Greenwood

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In a province where magic is forbidden and its possessors are murdered by the cruel Praetor, young Ilan, born with the powerful gift of her ancestors, has only one hope for survival. Concealment. In the shadow of Dimmingwood, she finds temporary protection with a band of forest brigands led by the infamous outlaw Rideon the Red Hand.

But as Ilan matures, learns the skills of survival, and struggles to master the inherent magic of her dying race, danger is always close behind. When old enemies reappear and new friendships lead to betrayal, will her discovery of an enchanted bow prove to be Ilan’s final salvation or her ultimate downfall?

* * * * *
When I was small, my mother taught me about the magickless—evil men who hunted our kind to destroy us. They came from across the water to steal the lands of our ancestors. Pretending to want peace, they enslaved us and sought to extinguish what they couldn’t possess, the one thing their harsh laws could never control. Our ancient powers. One day, my mother warned me, violence would shatter the safety of our home, and when that day came, we must fight. And we must win.
* * * * *

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

3 out of 5 stars

This review will be brief because it won’t take much to sum up my thoughts.

This is not a long book and I feel like that was its largest problem. I usually have nothing against short books or novellas, but this felt like the first 20% or so to an epic fantasy novel ripped out and sold on its own. It takes the main character, Ilrun, from five years of age to sixteen with no clear focus to the story. It felt like there wasn’t a defined goal yet, as if I was just reading backstory, and I spent most of the book being mad at Ilrun.

For me, the main character doesn’t have to be my favorite, but I do have to at least like him/her. I did not like Ilrun. I couldn’t really understand why she idolized the leader of the bandits as she did and I got mad when she shamelessly double-crossed other characters. She had her relatable moments, but there weren’t enough of them to redeem her for me.

On the other hand, the author did create an original and fascinating world I think I would have been more interested in exploring had this been part of a larger book. The world building was probably the best part of this story and I do laud the author on an interesting fantasy realm.

I think this could have been a good book if the writer had made Ilrun a little less brutal and given us something to resolve at the end instead of a continuous storyline that just stops. But as this story is, I really can’t recommend it.

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Writing Update: January 2014

The other day, I was getting mad because a few authors whose work I’ve enjoyed have failed to offer updates on sequels. Then I realized—I haven’t given updates in awhile and it was time to fix that!

 ArgetallamSaga graphic01

2013 was a big year that began with Fanged Princess’ release, followed by The Chalice of Malvron, and ended with Fanged Outcast, the sequel to FP. I completed the first drafts of books 4 and 5 in the Argetallam Saga as well as the premier novel in a new Epic Fantasy Romance series that has been garnering some attention, but more on that later.

My goal for this year is to finish drafting the last two books in the Argetallam Saga and publish the fourth novel in the series before Christmas. Right now, I would say we are looking at a July/August release for The Temple of Tarkoth with Fanged Princess 3 to follow a month or two later. (But it might be sooner, we shall have to see.)

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The first draft of the third novella in the Fanged Princess series is set to be done by this weekend and sometime after that it’s off to writing the sixth Argetallam book and editing my newest word baby, Daindreth’s Assassin. If you follow me on Pinterest, you have probably seen my board for this series and know that I am very, very much in love with it. It’s a true epic fantasy about an assassin who falls for the prince she was hired to kill and my goal is to get it beta-ready by July-ish and publish it sometime in 2015 around late spring/summer, but ONLY after I finish writing the Argetallam Saga. Janir’s story is one I want to tell right and I think she and her friends (and enemies) deserve to be taken care of first.

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The prospect of coming to the end of Janir’s tale is more than a little daunting, as Janir has been with me for close to a decade now, but at the same time I can’t wait to see if everything unfolds as I envisioned years ago. However, there is a certain Argetallam mortahn and a pair of young lovers who just might get their own books. We shall have to see.

I am very excited to share with you all Haddie and Janir’s upcoming adventures and I am just giddy for you to meet Amira. But in the meantime, I have some wordsmithing to do. Catch you later!

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