Thursday, March 29, 2012

Special offer from Jason J Sergi author of The Hero of Twilight

Today there is a special announcement from Jason J Sergi author of The Hero of Twilight.  If you purchase a copy (kindle or paperback) from Amazon, and leave an honest review, he will send you a copy of the second book in the series The Threat of Saint Flesh FREE. Now for the crazy news, you get to pick either an ecopy of the book or a signed paperback.  That's right a free copy of the book potentially a signed paperback just for leaving your honest feelings on the first book.  It's only 2.99 for the Kindle version of Hero so it's well worth it.  I will personally be getting myself a signed paperback ASAP.  For contact info for Jason and more info check out the post he did about it on his blog.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hemlock and the Dead God's Legacy now available

Hemlock realizes that the life of a leader is more complex and tiresome than she anticipated. Feeling burdened by her many responsibilities, she yearns for the freedom of adventure. When Tored arrives from the Witch Crags with information about the likely location of another powerful Wand, she seizes the opportunity to embark on a new quest.

Before she leaves, she entrusts a secret book into the possession of Merit, a mechanical gnome who is developing an affinity for history and lore. Merit begins to uncover an ancient narrative in those dusty pages--and he soon realizes it's the tale of the creation of the Wizard Tower itself!
Meanwhile Hemlock and Tored begin what they expect will be a simple quest to a mysterious vale nestled deep in the Witch Crags. But the adventure has several surprises in store for them...

Will Hemlock understand her ever evolving role amidst rapidly changing circumstances? And can she unite the City in time to resist the menace of the legacy of a dead God?

The second installment of B. Throwsnaill's The Maker's Fire series is now available for download from Amazon and Smashwords.  It will be .99 for a limited time only so be sure to pick up your copy soon!  I got a chance to beta read this book and if you liked the first you should enjoy this one as well.  Also if you are a fan of Merit like myself, he's back!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fundraising as an Indie author

Today I have a question for all the authors reading.  How do you as Indie authors get the money for your major projects.  I know that it's expensive to get a good editor and have a nice looking cover designed.  I have recently received news from two extremely talented authors that they have gone to the public to raise funds via Kickstarter and Crowdfunder.  For those people who are unfamiliar with the programs  (and Crowdfunder looks to be the UK version of Kickstarter to me) they allow anyone to start a project that collects money.  For established authors/musicians/even restaurants it allows fans to take part.  It also gets some exposure to a new audience who can find new interests.  When you set up a page, you establish prize levels that for your contributors.  The more money given the bigger prize they have earned.  It is actually pretty interesting to see all the various projects that are currently underway.

Lindsay Buroker is currently raising funding for her audiobook editions.  She has set up some fantastic rewards for her different levels of donaters, including a file containing all of her ebooks for only a $10 contribution.  If you check the page you can see that she has had a lot of success with her fundraising project.  She has even set a secondary goal and if that is reached prized will be increased.  All the details can be found under the updates tab.  Go here for to look at her project.

Charlotte English, an indie author who contributes to this blog very commonly, is also running a fundraising project right now.  She is using Crowdfunder for hers, but it looks almost identical to the format of Kickstater.  Charlotte is raising money to have her cover artist make a world map to be included in her books.  If you have seen her covers you know that she is working with a great artist.  Her project has just started so there is still about a month to get involved.  She also has a large quantity prizes that can be reached for different levels of contributions.  Check out her project here.

If you have a few extra bucks consider contributing to either or both of these great projects.  I have read work by both authors and can say for certain that they bring nothing but positive rep to the Indie author community.  Plus the prizes are pretty cool too lol.

Has anyone else used either of these services or raised money any other way?  I'm curious to see what methods have had the greatest success.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guardian of Time by Linda Hawley review

It’s the near future, and society is government controlled. Technology tracks everyone, personal privacy does not exist, and even food supplies are being monitored. The hope for freedom lies in the operations of an underground organization, GOG, which fights against worldwide oppression. Their most powerful weapon is Ann Torgeson, a paranormally-gifted operative, who unseals The Prophecies with her powers. With the government doggedly pursuing her, she goes underground, fleeing the Pacific Northwest, but not before leaving three murders, one suicide, and an explosion behind her. Will she and her companions survive to change the world after everything twists and turns upside down?

5 stars

Guardian of Time by Linda Hawley is the second book in The Prophecies series.  The story continues to follow Ann as she tries to discover the potential of her paranormal powers and seeks to improve the world.  In the first book of the series you are introduced to the characters in a wonderfully in-depth way that makes them seem like old friends when you open up book 2.  There are also several minor characters that become much larger parts of Ann's life as this story progresses.  If I try to go into the plot I am almost guaranteed to include spoilers for this book and the first so I will refrain from doing so.  I will say that getting to know Chow as a larger part of the story was very interesting and he is undeniably my favorite character of this book.

Linda continues to tell the story at a perfect pace.  Keeping the information flowing as a part of the story so there are no hiccups in the middle of the chapters.  Chapter headings continue to give a location and year to make the flashbacks easy to follow as well as being extremely informative.  The biggest appeal of all is that the book takes place in the very near future with current day references making the story easy to visualize and seem frighteningly realistic.  The end once again will leave you hanging, and personally I cannot wait for the thrilling conclusion to the series.  Well done once again Linda.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Net Switch by Denise Baer review by Jeffrey Poole

In the dead of winter, Sydney Hayes finds herself in an internet chat room in hopes of expelling her loneliness. Enchanted by a stranger, she soon finds herself caught up in an affair that spills over into her everyday life. Within a short period of time, the stranger captures her mind, her body and eventually her heart, but excitement turns to terror and Sydney must abandon the life she built in Chicago and assume a new identity.

A fragile woman in a new city, Sydney tries to put it all behind her as she makes a fresh start in Seattle, but her troubles follow her and she is running out of time. Feeling as though she has no other choice, Sydney is determined to destroy him before he destroys her—unaware that her journal holds the key.

Will she discover the secret before it’s too late?

4 stars

Makes you think twice about online dating... 

Net Switch is a dark, psychological thriller which picks right up from the start and doesn't really let you go until the end. There is romance, drama, and intense moments of sheer terror all bundled neatly into a journal-esque form throughout the entire book. 

The story follows the (unfortunate) exploits of Sydney, a lonely forty-something woman who desperately yearns for some acceptance and love in her life. She meets someone online and starts a relationship, only to have it go horribly wrong. Attempting to rebuild her life, she changes her identity and moves to another state. But as luck would have it, her problems continue to plague her. 

Let me start off by saying I enjoy the Author's writing style. Even though the story was just a compilation of journal entries, the story (& terror) she conveyed seemed real, plausible, and it easily kept me turning the page (or swiping my finger: iPad!), eager for more! My critique list has a few entries. First off, I have no problems with the story being comprised entirely of journal entries. I've personally never read an entire book like that, but it didn't detract from the story at all. In fact, I think it worked in the Author's favor and further helped ensnare the reader. Trust me, it worked! :) 

What I didn't like, and found incredibly distracting, was the dates of the journal not being in chronological order. Yes, I realize we were meant to learn about another period in he protagonist's life, but the problem was the date jumping wasn't consistent, 2008, then 1984, then back to 2008, 1989, 2008, 2006, 1992, etc. It really made it hard to follow along with the thread of the story. I was constantly flipping back to the previous entry to try and figure out the relevancy of the entry. 

I loved the twists and surprises at the end, and I certainly won't give away any spoilers, but it was a little hard to comprehend all of the subtle twists that were thrown in. Was I reading about him or her? Did that really happen or not? Bottom line... If you enjoy a good psychological story which makes you think, then check this one out! It's worth the read!

Jeffrey Poole is the author of The Bakkian Chronicles and will be a regular guest reviewer here at the Indie Book Blog

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kindle deal of the day: B Justin Shier

Today's Amazon Kindle deal of the day today is on Zero Sight by B Justin Shier.  Justin has been a friend of this blog for a long time and it is a great day to see him get recognized like this.  It's also great to see an indie author get on the list.  Take advantage of the day to pick up a copy of a great book for the low low price of .99.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Seven by Derek Edgington review by Sky Corbelli

Today's review is the first in what will hopefully become a much more common occurrence with a guest reviewer stepping in.  Sky Luke Corbelli, author of Wind-Scarred, is the first of the new reviewers for the Indie Book Blog.

Caleb Holden is a facetious, caustic seventeen-year-old teen who doesn't have enough sense to stay down for the count. His story is not of a poster boy for success, but rather of a troubled teen who was forced to grow up fast, lest he fall into oblivion and obscurity. When the amulet he wears around his neck begins to talk, as well as give him lip, his life is thrown for a loop. This sets in motion a series of events that will eventually lead him to his destiny, or a gruesome death. Given the power to alter the darkness that plagues the world, he jumps at the opportunity with little hesitation. As with all his pursuits, Caleb doesn't give up or in until he sees a challenge through to its conclusion.

Stars Awarded: 3.5

A Glimmer of Greatness

I'll be honest with you, this was a hard review to write. Not because I didn't like the book, or even because I did, but because I saw what this story wanted to be, and it just wasn't quite there. This is the story of Caleb Holden, his discovery of the supernatural world, and adventures there-in.

The fact of the matter is, I enjoyed this book. Sure, it's just one more generic urban fantasy child of destiny going to save the world story. That's fine, I like those stories.

Here's the problem: I feel like it was a setup. A little background here might help. I love The Dresden Files. I think that Avatar: The Last Airbender is one the best shows to grace television. I share the author's feelings on Twilight, think that diversification of were-things is a good idea, and am all for hidden histories and supernatural secrets. I grew up in San Francisco, have actually jumped from rooftop to rooftop (although, honestly, it's usually more step and less leap), and think that forests are crazy cool.

So as far as the ideas go, I'm right there with you. I got the inside jokes, rolled my eyes at the cheesy lines, and generally had a good time.

And yet, there were issues. First and foremost, the exposition. Don't get me wrong, there's a time for a nice romp through the main character's mind and memories... but that time is not "always." Worse, despite being dragged into Mr. Holden's head and having to fight the urge to skim over his musings on any given situation, it didn't actually help me get to know him any better. Time and time again, I was confused by the choices made or the decisions reached, and it was rather frustrating.

Issue two: the suspension of disbelief. Specifically, where was it? Caleb is portrayed as being a streetwise, practical young man who has learned to get by on his own in tough situations. And yet, when confronted with supernatural things, there's no coming to terms with it, no rationalization, no grand moments of revelation where all of his past experiences suddenly make sense. He was just okay with it, and that was that. It honestly felt like a letdown. And it didn't stop with him! So many characters take major things on faith or word of mouth that I was left wondering what kind of Kool-Aid they were all drinking between scenes.

Issue three: the length. It was just plain longer than it needed to be. And most of the action was in Caleb's head. I get that the author was trying to create an excuse for why his main character would be capable of decisive action under pressure, but it seems like adding actual plot could have accomplished this while still adding non-trivial development, especially to the secondary characters. It's not a good sign when unexpected aid shows up for the last battle and I have absolutely no idea who they are. Had the story been shorter, or had the important side characters been fleshed out a little more, that would not have been the case. Maybe ease off on the descriptions of high school bullies who we'll never see again or dragons who never appear in the real world, and focus on adding personality to the main character's were-creature friends or creating a situation that highlights what an awesome guy the head of the orphanage is.

I don't know if it was just a problem with the file I was reading, but there was some formatting wonkiness. If italics are going to used, use them consistently. Sometimes they denoted internal dialogue, and sometimes someone would just be speaking in all italics. At one point an entire chapter was in italics, and all it accomplished was making me wish I could turn them off.

Despite all that, I liked this book. It may have been a simple plot with occasionally confusing and often frustrating events, but the ideas were all there. If you're a big fan of urban fantasy, if you love teenage protagonists who have lived hard lives, or if you just think that I'm an overly critical bastard for writing a review like this about a book I claim to like, give THE SEVEN a read. It's got a glimmer of greatness, and I look forward to one day seeing the author shine.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Free Book from Douglas Brown and another interview of me!

Two quick things today, the first is Death Alarm by Douglas Brown will be free today and tomorrow.  Douglas is the author of Tamed and The Light of Epertase series.

The other item of note is another interview I did recently, this time with Jeffrey Poole author of The Bakkian Chronicles (Book I is free as well).  Check out my interview posed as a request for citizenship into the land of Lentari at his webpage here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Gifts and Consequences by Daniel Coleman review

“I’d do anything if…” That’s exactly what Jonathan Wheeler wants to hear, but there’s always a cost. Tickets to the concert of the century? A college education for a child? Saving the life of a loved one? Jonathan Wheeler wants to make it happen, but if the price isn’t paid he’s prepared to deliver the consequences.

Jonathan decides to honor the wish of his dying wife – that he give away his fortune – but his methods are dangerously unconventional. He takes extreme measures to witness human struggle and watch the discovery of hidden strength. But when Jonathan goes too far, he faces consequences of his own.

5 stars

Gifts and Consequences by Daniel Coleman is the third literary offering from this relatively new author.  It takes an entirely different direction than his earlier Lewis Carroll based works, but it seems that he has the range to make it work.  His experience as a firefighter/paramedic has shown him real life tragedy and he translates that experience to the page with powerful results.

The basic story behind the book is a fairly familiar tale.  A man who has worked very hard his whole life finds out his wife has early onset Alzheimer's disease and begins to regret his dedication to making money.  Susan, his wife, lived her life for others and  Jonathon decides to honor her legacy using his fortune.

The methods that Jonathon employs really set this story apart from the many familiar themed books and movies.  He has a staff of analysts that spy on emails and conversations in order to find people willing to make a deal.  He will only offer his deals to individuals, no groups, and he uses some pretty impressive spy techniques to make sure his deals are honored.  The story plays out almost like a series of short stories detailing the lives of some of the individuals that have entered contract with Jonathon.  There are people who succeed and some who fail.  Throughout the book Jonathon remains loving to his wife and uses the experiences as stories to tell her and bring what comfort he can to her.

This book struck me as a very powerful emotional story and I was extremely moved by it.  Although my normal books are much more action packed I was still drawn in by Daniel masterful storytelling.  This is a definite must read for pretty much everyone.

Copy provided for review.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Anchihiiroo by Jeremy Rodden review

4 stars

Anchihiiroo by Jeremy Rodden tells the in depth story of one of the "rogue" toons from Toonopolis: Gemini.  I was happy to see this short, as Animetown was possibly my favorite section of Toonopolis from Gemini.  With that in mind this could be a stand alone story to help you decide to read the full length book, but I really feel that it works much better after reading Gemini and having an understanding of the world Jeremy has created.

Anchihiiroo was born Yoshi in a simple fishing village.  One day his village is attacked by pirates during the ninja pirate war.  He escapes the destruction and is found and taken in by some kind people in the next town over.  Unfortunately that town is also destroyed leaving him once again as the lone survivor.  When Yoshi is taken in by the monks at the Suzaku temple, where a phoenix egg is awaiting a hero of legend to hatch.

The story tells of a young man with a tragic past who feels his life is totally outside of his control.  This book is a wonderful supplement to fans of the Toonopolis universe and serves very well as an appetizer to hold you over until the next volume of the main story is released.  While a bit more serious than Gemini there is still a good amount of humor.  Anyone from the age of 8 and above can enjoy the world that Jeremy Rodden has created and I recommend picking this up for anyone in the family.