Fear

An amazing piece written by my friend Dustyn. I think you will all enjoy it.🙂

Are you terrified?

You’ve been scared your whole life. Scared of what people will think of you, scared of trying for the fear of failing, scared of succeeding for the fear of more challenge. Fear makes you stagnant. You find your comfort – something you’ve grown used to and no longer fear – and you settle. Your dreams are naught but images in your head at night, or a reverie as you stare absently, on a day like every other.

This isn’t what you wanted. This isn’t what you want. It’s what you’re doing though, and have been doing for far too long.

You ask yourself, “Why am I afraid?” Fear is the uncertain, the unsuccessful, the unplanned. Fear is the lack of control – the control that you love to pretend you have over your own life. If you can’t control your life, can you control your fear? Can you make your fear…

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The knives spoke

Inanimate objects cannot speak, yet she heard the knives in the kitchen drawer calling for her. She lay in her bed with balled fists, begging for her mind to cling to thoughts of the beauty that lay just beyond the door if she could only reach it.

She shot up and peered out the half open window. The draft carried with it the scent of rain falling on the earth. She clung to the invisible gift of hope and raced past the sharp-edged tools that cried out of her to make use of them.

She reached the outdoors. The exertion pumped life through her veins and she continued to run until she reached the babbling brook. She submerged her hand beneath the cool, rushing water.

That broke the spell.

The Dreams

Norwegian Dream.

She had a dream, too. Of Canada. Now, I long to be close to where she was born. In a way, it will feel like she is still alive. Young and alive in Scandinavia and playing her banjo.

Goodbye, Grandma.

Her Rain

The rain always attracted her, called out to her. Its pattering against the windows awoke her from the monotony of her homework. She left the house and came to the rain, inhaling the fresh aroma no perfume could compare to.

She walked for a while, lost in thought, for the rain was what always fuelled her imagination and dreams. In the rain, she was content. She would never be alone as long as the soft trickling of water guided her.

Book Review: When The Black Roses Grow

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When The Black Roses Grow By Angela Christina Archer

Twenty-five men and women were accused.
Nineteen hung to their death on Gallow Hills.
One suffocated under bone-crushing stones.
All believed to possess the power of witchcraft.

In 1692 the fear of witchcraft is spreading around Salem Village. While those who are accused and sentenced face death, everyone else faces the risk of accusations placed upon them.
***

I was drawn in to Emmalyn’s world from the very first page as she grieves for her mother who was tried and hanged as a witch. 1692 Salem is a dark place where many women are accused and sentenced to death as witches, but Emmalyn does her best to stay strong and live out her life in peace. There is so much danger looming and virtually every woman in Salem worries that she might be the next accused witch.
When a mysterious vine starts to grow in her home, she fears for her life as the dark magic is evidence that she is a witch. When James, a handsome stranger comes to town, he both excites and worries Emmalyn. He hides a world of secrets behind his piercing blue eyes.
Author Angela Archer weaves a beautiful tale of loss, love, trust, and the darkness that humanity can sometimes force upon others. I enjoyed protagonist Emmalyn’s authenticity and strength through the entire book. The tension and drama builds with every passing chapter.
I was not prepared for the epic twist at the ending! You will not want to miss what happens in this beautifully written historical tale.
Historical romance and fantasy fans alike will enjoy Where The Black Roses Grow.

You can purchase When The Black Roses Grow on Amazon here!

New Novel By Christopher Milner Published On Amazon

Christopher Milner has published his first book, The Giant Rat of Sumatra, on Amazon! It is only $4.55. Make sure you get your copy and support him. He’s a very talented writer. Check out his blog here and see for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.🙂

Dracul Van Helsing

My 1st Novel Now Published and Available For Sale On Amazon

To all my friends, readers and fellow bloggers, I just thought I’d let you know that my 1st Novel was published today. 🙂

It’s now available at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01B1W526W

I would ask for your support in buying this book and also let your friends, acquaintances and family know about it to purchase it as well.🙂

Many thanks,
Christopher

Monday January 25th 2016
Robbie Burns Day

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City of Ice, An Excerpt

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I started a novel, City of Ice, about six years ago. It’s about a 28 year old suicidal princess attempting to survive in a cult ice world. The monarchy is a sham – the city is ruled by the cleric and their dark magic.

I am notorious for working on two projects at once, and my YA fantasy novel is still my main focus, but as a little reprieve, I will come back to this and start editing and adding to it.🙂 Here is how the first chapter begins.

Let me know what you think!

City of Ice, An Excerpt

Sunlight hit two large ice formations just ahead of them, making them glow. The light made Ivea nearly forget about the cold.

“So beautiful,” she breathed.

“We should turn back.”

She ignored Tercun, quickly urging her horse into a gallop over the crisp snow before he could say anything else to spoil the magic she was feeling. His mount caught up to hers and they both slowed down when they came to a large patch of ice.

“What if I can’t bring you back this time, Ivea?” he asked.

Instead of offering her alchemist friend a biting retort, Ivea watched the horizon ahead. She would do what she needed to, and he would follow her as he always did for the last twenty years. They rode ahead and reached a cavern. A human-sized hole only a few feet above ground level marked the mouth.

Ivea’s pulse quickened with that familiar blend of excitement and unease. She dismounted and approached the cavern, digging her treaded fur-trimmed boots into the solid ice. From below, Tercun gave her a gentle lift upward and she reached for the opening.

As she climbed up on the ledge, warm air collided with her face. Her lithe form slid down a sloped, icy wall; she grunted when her bottom slammed onto the cave’s floor. Her eyes adjusted to the strange and stunning surroundings, which made her quickly forget about her discomfort.

Light from a tiny opening in the ceiling hit the hot pools of rippling, steaming blue water and caused the walls to come alive with radiant designs. Ivea was sure that the sight was as magnificent and soothing as any heaven could be.

Her skin tingled as she unbuttoned her coat and let it slide down her shoulders. She could not have chosen a more fitting place to perform her most dangerous experiment. Today, she would find out for certain if there was life after death.

“Ivea, you can’t do this.”

Tercun stood right behind her. She would have jumped from surprise had it not been for his soft, even tone.

“Since when did you become so skilled at sneaking up on me?”

Tercun’s gaze travelled down her long, scarlet gown. Ivea rolled her eyes and went to the pool, admiring her dress in the reflection. She could be imprisoned for over a year if a member if the cleric caught her in such attire. She was Queen Mornia’s daughter, but that would not spare her from the wrath of a fanatic.

“Don’t you tire of always wearing white?” asked Ivea, returning her gaze to Tercun.

“I never bothered to think about it.”

“I shouldn’t be surprised,” she sighed.

Ivea twirled once, watching the bottom of her dress sway like a faraway flower in the breeze. How wonderful it was to break away from white’s monotony. White hair, white garments, white snow, and white skin was everywhere in the city with no reprieve.

“You don’t have to do this just because you want proof that a supreme being does not exist,” said Tercun.

She dipped her bare foot in the warm water.

“Yes, I do.”

“I know very well that you do not.”

Ivea could not be mad at him, even as his stern tone chased away the whimsical mood that surrounded her. She had adored his quiet, calm manner from the first moment they met as children. He was so different from her, from everyone. He was the only person that offered her a listening ear and she adored him for that. She also despised him for being so accepting of the clerics’ doctrine.

Taking in the surrealism of the strange water, her stomach fluttered. It was time.

“Ivea.”

She turned to him in annoyance, but was stunned to see how otherworldly he appeared as the blue reflection danced along his angular face. He could have married countless noble women that would have made his life a lot easier, but he never seemed to be interested in any of them. When he wasn’t busy studying new theories, he was trying to keep up with her self-harm experiments. It was almost as though he secretly enjoyed them.

She swallowed as a dull ache worked its way up from her chest, tightening her throat. She brought her gaze away from his pleading eyes and down to the water.

“Yes?” she whispered.

“I will bring you back. No matter what.”

“I know.”

Ivea cleared her throat and stood at the edge of the small pool, wondering how deep it reached into the earth.

What Really Mattered

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It was the eve of my operation when I discovered what truly brought me peace. If you ask most people how worried or scared they feel before a relatively simple surgery such as having their wisdom teeth removed, it would probably range from “meh” to “It’s just a nuisance” or “I hope I don’t look like a chipmunk after.”

But me? I was very petrified. I had surgery when I was 3 years old and still remember the ordeal. They strapped me to the bed and wheeled me away from my upset looking mother. I was left to the mercy of adults in scary white masks forcing a foul smelling mask over my face.

I vowed to never go under again. Until it was deemed that my jaw was too small to carry all four of my wisdom teeth. I tried to be brave. I really did.

I wasn’t like most 21 year olds. I was naive, immature, a loner, and heavily imaginative. I had thoughts of me dying from the anesthetic. Images of me never waking up polluted my mind’s eye.

My sister, my best friend, was away at camp. My boyfriend was playing video games with his friends. I called him that night, you know, just in case I didn`t make it through the operation. He was so distracted, he was almost annoyed that I called because he was winning this car race. I let him be. Deep down, I was relieved he wasn’t with me.

I went outside in our secret garden-esque backyard to talk with my parents. I felt better, but I wanted more. I played with my border collie and then walked to the garage to grab my bike. That was what I needed. To escape. To wander. To daydream. To have an adventure. To be alone.

I’ve always been a country girl at heart and had taken many walks and bike rides alone or with my sister. But that night was different. I asked myself, if this were going to be my last night, how would I want it to be? I rode far, far away from my home out to the farm community. I remembered a spot where there were horses. To my delight, the horses were out. I got off my bike and fed them the lush grass with my hand. One of them let me pet her.

Then, I kept riding. The sun began to set. No one was around. I remember stopping and crying, because it was such a beautiful moment. I had enjoyed myself, and it scared me to think it might be the last time I would enjoy it. Dramatic, I know. But this was the 21 year old me. I wouldn’t have wanted to be any other way.

The country, with its fresh air, tall trees, and quiet nature that often mirrored mine, revived me.

I savoured every moment as I rode back, breathing in the cooling air, staring at the setting sun, studying the fields of sweet corn. It was one of the best solitary moments of my life.

(Photo Source: http://www.everystockimage.com. “Sunrise 4-27-06”)

Book Blog Tours

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It is time for me to invest in a book blog tour or two in order to get some more word out there about my ebooks. I’ve done some research on the best blog tours for your buck and so on and thought I’d share it with you in case you’re also interested in blog tours.

1.Blog Tours Are Pricey-ish

I’m an indie author still waiting to get my first cheque from Amazon, so the idea of paying someone $80 to $150 for a week’s worth of blog tours and reviews is steep.

On the other hand, sometimes an up front investment in marketing can be just the thing to boost book sales and move your ranking on Amazon to a better position. I get it.

I am not really a cheapskate, but the angsty artist chick inside of me bristled at the idea of paying so much for a service that claims to help indie writers. That said, it’s not a writer’s world and so it is what it is.

2. Most blog tours focus in YA and romance genres

My two most recent books are neither romance nor young adult, so it’s a little tougher to find a blog tour with a more alternative readership. The ones that specialize in multiple genres require more of an investment.

3. Many blog tours offer more than just blog tours

If you’re really strapped for cash, some blog tour providers offer book cover reveals and book blitzes for a fraction of the cost. I think it’s a smart idea for both parties. Some will even provide you with book reviewers if you can give them free copies to read.

I’ll likely invest in a book reveal blitz for my next publication.🙂

4. Blog tours save you a lot of time

It does induce a sigh of relief at the idea of someone taking care of my book marketing for a week or two. Despite the surprisingly high cost (In my opinion), I can’t deny that I want the opportunity to be interviewed about my book, to have other readers who have never heard of my blog read an excerpt about my book, etc.

Writers want to write first and foremost. The idea of someone taking care of business is attractive.

5. Blog tour operators like Paypal

I don’t use Paypal for my own reasons. I had a blogger reply to me with an affordable book marketing option, and without asking, she said that once she received my payment through Paypal, that would be my consent for her to run my blog tour.

It was tough for me to decline, but I find it unprofessional to not offer direct email money transfer. If someone is willing to pay for a service, they should be given more than one option.

***

That’s my take on the blog tour industry to date. I’ll keep on searching, and take my time. I’m not letting myself become jaded, and at the end of the day, I’ll probably have to splurge on the service that will give me the best results.

I’ll let you all know when my blog tour runs!🙂

***

Writers, what has your experience been with blog tours?  Do you have a blog tour service that you can recommend? Do you know of any blog tours that do not require Paypal payments? 

Cheers! 

(Image Taken From http://www.everystockphoto.com. Titled as “Malecón”)

 

 

 

How to Deal With a Negative Book Review

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So, you’ve recently published your book. After seeing some glowing reviews from satisfied readers, you check back again and notice one nasty little one star review. What do you do?

Do not reply to the review! Even if the review was left by a troll or by a reviewer who prides themselves in trashing writer’s books, do not take the bait. People who look at your reviews might not purchase your book if they see a stream of comments between you and a reviewer debating about why they should have loved your book. Stay professional.

Take a deep breath. You cannot please everyone. This is a fact of life. Many times, bad reviews are very subjective and reveal more about a reader’s tastes than about your writing. Perhaps they wanted more romance from your book, or they did not enjoy the violence. Sometimes, all it takes is one wrong word to agitate a reader enough to stop reading and leave a review. It sucks, yes, but there’s a bright side to this.

Remember all writers get bad reviews. Yes, every best seller gets one star reviews, too. There’s actually a really funny article about literary classics who received one star reviews from readers. It is funny, because it goes to show how taste differs between every individual. People from different backgrounds, education levels, and walks of life will be reading your book.

Think about the legitimacy. It might strike a reader as odd if all of your reviews are glowing five star ratings. As much as nasty reviews suck, just remember how it makes you look more legitimate as a writer. Remember, every famous author gets raked over the coals by certain readers, too. Reputable websites do not tamper with reviews and that makes your work of fiction look reputable in turn.

Use it as constructive criticism. Use that awful little one star as motivation to write your next book with, perhaps, a little more care and detail. Even if there’s nothing wrong with what you wrote, it’s interesting to many authors to discover little quirks and writing habits that don’t resonate well with people. You can even take pride in the fact that your book caters more to a niche market.

Ignore it. That’s right. It’s a little traumatic to read a one star review from a reader that clearly never connected with your book, but it is better for you to ignore it and keep writing. Focus on the good reviews and cherish the readers who connected with your characters and story.

How I Handled It

I got my first one star review a couple of days ago, and it did not bother me that much. Obviously, no one wants a bad review, but when I read that the reader was simply confused by the story, it actually made me feel sort of good. I do aim to write more for a niche market.

Of course, I would love for everyone to enjoy my book, but I know what a lot of people enjoy reading, and I think that my stories are different. My writing is like my mind. It’s quirky, dreamy, and it might be hard to understand unless you happen to be pretty philosophical yourself.

I didn’t get upset. I didn’t reply. Never, ever reply to reviews.

After a little annoyance, I laughed about it and shrugged it off. Then I thought of writing this post!🙂

By the way, out of curiosity, I took a look at other things this reader reviewed other than my book, and I saw that she rated Fast and Furious 5 with five stars. That explained everything.😉