Category Archives: witch

The Touch Reviewed

Recently, I read The Touch by Louisa Albrect, and published by Hot Ink Press. I fell in love with the concept immediately and just had to read it.  Admittedly, it advertised a few characteristics that I love to use in my own writing, such as music, musicians and magic. So, I was excited to get my hands on it! Oh, not to mention that it is an erotic novel, so yeah… that was exciting too! *snickers inappropriately*

http://www.amazon.com/Touch-Louisa-Albrect-ebook/dp/B00AZOS7GK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1394562934&sr=1-1

On the whole, I did enjoy the story. The plot was well done and the characters likable. However, I was somewhat disappointed. I really wanted to love this story, and I didn’t. It’s been several days since I read it, and I’ve been stewing it over in the back of my mind ever since.

I did read it in one sitting, but that had more to do with how short it was rather than my love of it. In fact, it really was too short. There was barely enough time to develop such a complex plot and depth of character. It was sort of like this:  Here are these cool people and their intricate problems. Now, let’s put them together and let sex fix everything. I wanted more in the middle. It gave me a beginning and an end and slushed right over the middle.

The main character is a singer named Benjamine. I loved this guy. But, I didn’t get enough of what made him tick. I expected more music. The descriptions that were there were fabulous, but they left me wanting more.  The lead female similarly left me wanting more. After the coven finds her, she loses her memories, but the plot doesn’t really do anything with this, and leaves her feeling a little hollow. I wanted more about her discovering herself before she could help Benjamine.

The Touch had interesting side characters that were like the icing flowers on a cake; pretty and edible, but generally not necessary and completely interchangeable. Yet, there was the bud of something truly delicious sitting right there. A longer story line would allow the author to weave these extra characters into the story in a way that only that unique person could be there to make things happen. Plus, with more time, you could get to know what drives these others; how they view the main characters (for extra complexity); and what motivates them.

The final thing that had me squirming in my chair as I read was the huge amounts of grammatical errors and typos that imbued the novella. I swear this manuscript was never edited. In most self-published books and even in books published by small to medium presses, I generally do not have a problem overlooking a few errors. It is virtually impossible to get out every single one… you can find typos in books from major authors and publishing houses too. With that said, I could not keep continually overlooking the abundance of issues in this. It was too distracting.

I’m not trying to by hyper-critical. In fact, if I didn’t like the story, I wouldn’t have bothered putting these words on the page. I would have chalked it up to another disappointing failure. But, I did genuinely like this story. For only .99 it isn’t bad. However, Albrect has such a potentially beautiful story here. I wish she would take the time to develop it into a full-fledged (edited) novel.

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Rockin’ .99 Paranormal Picks!

What’s on Kindle for .99?  Tons of great paranormal fiction, that’s what!  After spending time searching through Kindle options and not finding much I felt like reading, I thought… but I KNOW there are a ton of awesome titles for only .99… Because I’ve bought them.  So, I figured I would help some of you out and point you in right direction with my list of  Rockin’ .99 Paranormal Picks!

Obviously, I have to start with my own…   SUMMER BLOOD is only .99 on Kindle!  If you dig vampires, hot rockers, and tons of action and romance, this is for you!  With tons of twist and turns in the plot, you should really get into this!

S.M. Reine has many titles that are normally priced in the $3 range, but when they go on sale… get them!  Death’s Hand  is the first in her Descent Series and it, along with the others in the series, are phenomenal! They are worth picking up even at a higher price, but I think Death’s Hand is on sale right now…  She has a strong warrior woman in the lead role, one who kicks demon butt, and has a witch side-kick, who is HOT! Action is packed in here from cover to cover.   She also has a series on werewolves Six Moon Summer (right now it is FREE!) is the first and this is also a “can’t put it down” title. Eventually, she merges the two series as well, so you will have plenty to read from Reine for a long time!

Fairy Metal Thunder by JL Bryan was a great surprise!  I bought it because who wouldn’t want to read about music and the fae!  It is more of a teen book, but very well written and highly entertaining! For .99 it is totally worth it!

Another one is How to Date A Werewolf by Rose Pressey. This one has the feel of a good romance and it’s funny! Her character, Rylie Cruz is a werewolf match-maker.  You have to buy this one to see how being a werewolf can really mess up your world! All of her titles are well worth the purchase. Most are in the $3-$4 range, sometimes they go on sale, but even at $4 they’re worth it.  Pressey has a fabulous sense of humor and a great voice for paranormal shenanigans.

The Emerald Talisman is the first in the series by Brenda Pandos. It is a different twist on the vampire mythology and filled with trials for her characters to get through. It’s definitely a YA read. I love YA because they take the romance on the light side and fill in the gaps with tons of action! If you like that too, this one’s a must read.

My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis is another YA title that is very good.  This one is actually FREE and the sequel is .99… so that’s a two-fer in my book! I have not read the sequel yet, but the first book is great.  The title is the first clue… yes it has Merlin in it, but in this version, he’s the reluctant leader of a band of “magical” teens. Yes on the light romance and yes on the tons of action! A great one to check out.

The last one I’m adding to my list is Save My Soul by K.S. Haigwood.  It is FREE right now, but I’ve seen it also for $ .99 or $2.99.  It would be worth it at $9.99.  Get it while it is free, and then you can get the next in the series Hell’s Gift, too. They are both fabulous.  If you like the idea of a soul-mate, someone that is THE person for you here and in the ever-after, then you’ll love this series.  The romance is a heavier in this one, but the action, adventure, and intrigue will keep you reading, whether or not you like romance. 

Hope you’ll check out these picks, and if you have any of your own, feel free to leave a comment, because I always have my eye out for great books at low prices!

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Book Review Time!

I haven’t written any book reviews in a long time, but finally I read one that I really want to do. This author is rapidly becoming one of my favorites! She’s an indie artist, too. That makes it even better! I love to support other indies like me! I hope my own books will be as well received as Kristie’s!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CPSRWLK/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

I spent the afternoon and evening on Eternal Island reading Eternal Immortality by K.S. Haigwood, and I didn’t want to come home. This second installment of the Eternal series grabbed me on page one and I didn’t want to let go all the way up to the end. When you have an all-powerful witch that can do anything, it’s good to know she’s not perfect. Ariana was very vulnerable in this one. She was a little bossy now and then, but always for good reason. The chemistry between her and Abe started in the first book continues throughout this one, but the better relationship chemistry this time was with Rainey and Armadeus. From page one, they had conflict and sizzling chemistry. Outside of the romance, there was plenty of plot going on and big evil bad guys.

The novel is packed with the powerhouse line up of characters from the first novel, and more new characters to get to know. Despite the vast line up, the reader has plenty of time getting to know the characters and I never found myself wondering who they were, Ms. Haigwood lets you know who they are and keeps each one distinct and memorable.
This is a great escape that made me wish I was a witch! I’d love to move to Eternal Island. I read the entire book in one sitting, and I can’t give it a better review than that! 5 Stars on this one!

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paranormal vs supernatural

I’ve been thinking about genre classifications.  I used to think paranormal meant ghosts and poltergeists, and supernatural meant creatures that were super… vampires, werewolves, zombies and such.  I’m not so sure about that anymore.  It seems like the market is using these terms interchangeably.  Sometimes they are accompanied by other adjectives like dark and urban.  So, what does it all mean? And do I need to care?

As an author, I think I do need to care. I need to understand how my readers are going to find my work. It is important to label the work in a manner that truthfully describes the work.  If it is a vampire love story, it’s paranormal romance right? Wrong? Maybe it’s dark urban supernatural? What?

A search on Amazon for paranormal romance (kindle store only) gives us a Dark Wolf, Dark Angel, vampire, and Immortals in the first 4 books. Book #5 has shifters and witches, and then there  is a demon slayer who is a biker witch (this one is in my queue!)  No ghosts or poltergeists here.  So, paranormal has all kinds of “monsters” and beings that are supernatural in nature. So, what’s supernatural?

That same search done with “supernatural” gave me a couple of books based on the TV series of the same name, and one empathy book. Still no ghosts.

Dark Urban Fantasy gives similar results, but there is a slightly different flavor to these. Check out S.M. Reine’s Descent Series for an example:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Descent-Series-Books-ebook/dp/B009YADS38/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377740808&sr=1-2&keywords=descent+series

The Descent Series has paranormal creatures: angels, demons, and more. The primary setting is urban. There is some romance, but it is secondary. Reine’s series is one of the best written examples of Dark Urban Fiction out there.

Kim Harrison’s Hallows series with Rachel Morgan is another example.

The main thing that seems to differentiate these genres is romance as a primary element or not. If it is primary, it is paranormal romance; otherwise, it is dark urban fantasy, supernatural, or just paranormal. You could just search for whichever flavor your want in your moster: angel, demon, vampire, werewolf, or whatever…

So, where does my book fit in? It is definitely closer to Dark Urban Fantasy. Romance is a secondary element and it has vampires in it (and more…) So, check it out with these others:

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Blood-Desolate-Incubus-ebook/dp/B00EH1WLHS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377740268&sr=1-1&keywords=summer+blood

Whether you dig vampires, werewolves, or bears… romance or not… urban or whatever…. you can find tons of great books out there that will satisfy your paranormal/supernatural urges!

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Defamiliarization?

My fiction class has been fun and educational! One of the best workshops was about de-familiarization. This is all about taking ordinary things and making them extraordinary. It’s kind of like when you are driving on an east bound road at sunrise, and suddenly the back sides of the street signs are transformed into something you have never seen before, bathed in an ethereal orange glow. Here’s my shot at it! Enjoy!

Ink Magic

“Kaydan, Kaydan, move,” The Zoran’s voice pulled Kaydan out of her trance and she sat up, pushing her hair out of her eyes.

“What?”

The Zoran chuckled. “Kaydan, here move,” she said as her hands repositioned Kaydan’s shoulder and legs. “Ready?” she asked holding up the tattoo machine. The machine started buzzing, and the Zoran touched the needle to Kaydan’s shoulder. She squeezed her eyes shut against the pain and took a shallow breath inhaling the earthy smell of the incense burning around her, and let it out slowly through her nose. She let the pressure of the needle, the heat from the lamp on her skin and the buzz of the machine lull her back into a trance. Kaydan searched her memories to help her get through the tattooing.

She thought about how she had escaped from the army before finally making it to the Zoran’s village. The big man they called Hamlin had left her alone in his musty tent. She sat on the canvas floor, and took a long deep breath. She needed to reassess her situation, the mission was too important to give up or panic.

Hamlin had done nothing more than scream obscenities at her, as if that would get her to confess secret information. What she could tell him would mean nothing to him even if she did spill it. The coded message for the Zoran didn’t mean much to her either.
Kaydan needed to focus on escaping. She called her power to her and felt it glowing inside her chest. She pictured heat radiating down her arm and out to her fingertips and into a consolidated flame. She sent cool, wet wind down her other arm. She touched the tiny flame to back of the tent, while using the cool wet wind to keep the fire focused and controlled. It only took seconds, and then she ran through the dark forest. She called her power one more time and sent comforting warmth over her entire body, willing the power to turn eyes from her, so she would not be seen. The power would only last a few minutes, but she would need it to get past the sentries.
They had surprised her in the forest when she first came upon the army. She had not seen them in their suites covering them in the dark green of forest shadow then, but she picked them out now as she ran by them, protected by magic.

Kaydan opened her eyes to the Zoran patting her shoulder with a soft towel. Kadan looked up at her, “Why are you stopping?”

“I think you’ve had enough for one sitting. You need a break.”

“No, no. We have to get this done. I’m fine.”

“Kaydan, your magic started to flare; that’s dangerous.”

Kaydan shook her head. “The memory held magic. I won’t pick one like that again. I’m sorry, but that army is too close. We have to get this done.”

The Zoran sighed. “Ok. Let’s go.” She repositioned Kaydan on the table, and the buzzing began.

Gem grunted and grabbed Kaydan’s upper arm and pulled her up the last flight of stairs and into a candlelit room. The Headmaster sat behind a large oak desk. Kaydan folded her hands behind her back and stood very still.

The old man opened his mouth, “Ahh, there you are.”

“Yes sir.” Kaydan gave a small curtsy.

“I’m sure you are wondering why you are here.”

“Yes sir.”

“Gem tells me that your training has advanced nicely since you decided to start taking it seriously, and stop causing trouble. Can I safely assume that you are indeed taking this seriously and not planning some major plan to over throw the establishment?”

“No, sir, I mean yes sir. I mean, I am taking it seriously.”

The old man nodded and took a moment to truly look at Kaydan, causing Kaydan to become all the more nervous and uncertain. “Well, Gem, you are right, we have no choice.” The old man gave a nod to Gem, and Gem nodded back then turned to Kaydan.

“We have a mission that we must send you on.”

“What?”

“You are to leave now and travel until you reach Brampton village.”

Kayden interrupted, “What? Leave the school?”

“This is important, listen. War is imminent. We cannot afford to risk the school.”
Kayden shook her head. What Gem said did not make any sense. But still, Gem continued. “This is important,” she said firmly, slamming her hand palm down on the Headmaster’s desk. “You have to take this message to the Zoran.”

Kaydan jumped and opened her eyes.

“What?” The Zoran asked.

Kaydan shook her head. “It’s the memory. This last one seemed very real.”

“Hmm. That can happen. It means the magic will be strong. We need strong.” She turned Kaydan around. “I need to do your chest now for the head. This part will take a while, it will be painful, but it is very important.”

They put a gun to her head, the click echoed as the soldier readied the weapon. Dark green, almost black garments wrapped the soldiers from head to toe. They faded into the shadows of the trees, hidden. Others materialized, calling to each other; Blake, Scooter, Trent, Rylie. Take her to Hamlin. Is she one of them? Cut the chatter. Who bagged her? Cipher. He’s quick on the draw. I said cut it. Hamlin wants her. They shoved her around, hands pulling her through the woods, leaves crunching kicking up damp smells, knees pushed into the damp dirt, a tall figure looming over. He pulled his head gear off, eyes like cutting diamonds. What is it? You smell like witch. Witch, spy, slut, dog, beneath me, waste of time. We can just kill her now. Hamlin said no, take her to his tent. He leaned in toward Kaydan. She could smell garlic on his breath and sweat. How could he smell her through that? How did a witch smell like worse than that? She didn’t ask; she knew better. Cipher pulled her away and shoved her in the tent. He warned her with a look.

The Zoran gently shook her awake. “I’m done.”

Kaydan sat up and wiped sleep from her eyes. “I fell asleep.”

“Should I have stopped?”

“No. Is it really done?”

The Zoran nodded and handed Kaydan a mirror. She looked into it at the dragon head asleep on her chest. The green of the scales shimmered in the light as she moved; perfect. Kadan stood and used the mirror along with another hanging on the wall to see most of the back. The dragon wrapped around her shoulders, down her spine, and curled around her legs. The wings rested along her spine. “Wow.”

“Yes, wow, but now you need to rest for real. This must have taken a lot out of you.”

Kaydan started to protest, but Gem had drilled health and mental awareness so often; she could not ignore her exhaustion. She nodded. “You’re right.”

“Glad you finally realize that.” She laughed gently as she spoke, and Kaydan couldn’t help but smile.

Yelling woke her, and then she smelled smoke, burning. Someone screamed. It sounded like the Zoran, and Kaydan ran for the front door. Hamlin stood in the road looking down at the Zoran, who had been shoved down in front of him. One of his men hit her with the butt of his gun and she fell to the ground. Kaydan ran to her. “No!”

“Ah, here is the little witch-dog that got away. Cipher can finish you off, now.”

Kaydan looked up at the smug look on Hamlin’s face. Someone grabbed her by the arm pulling her away from the Zoran. She tried to struggle away from the man, tried to call her magic. She wanted revenge. They should never have touched the Zoran; she is sacred.

Hamlin laughed. “You are not getting away this time witch. Your magic will not help with a bullet in your head.” Kaydan glared at him. His eyebrows pinched together and he leaned forward. “I’m going to slaughter you and every dog like you. I’m going to wipe out all the scum-witches. Put her on the ground.” The soldier shoved her down and Hamlin started pulling his gun around from his back.

Kadan stilled herself, took a breath. She couldn’t do it for revenge or spite or even her own personal protection, but she could do it to save her people. She suffered hours under the needle for one reason, this reason. The message she gave the Zoran was not a coded warning, it was a prophecy. Kaydan would fulfill that prophecy for her people. She called her magic to her and pushed it into the creature on her back and chest. The power pushed her forward as the dragon pulled off her back. The tail slid around her leg and the wings pushed off of her shoulder. She looked up and watched her beast beating leathery wings into the sky.

The soldiers shot their weapons at it, but bullets cannot hurt what is made of pure magic and will. The dragon banked and soared toward them. Kaydan covered her head and felt the heat of fire the dragon breathed over the army. Hamlin, Cipher and the others ran, but Kaydan watched the green flames of her beast take them down.

Afterwards, the dragon found her and rested again across her back. She looked down to see the dragon’s head resting on her chest again. A small drop of blood dripped from his mouth.

She could pay this price.

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What I’m learning Part II

Ok, I’m learning lots of new things in my writing class… here’s something else I’ve learned.  This is my post for scenarios. It is like an expanded outline – very rough draft. Then, my comments on what I got out of the experience.  I got great comments from my instructor, so I think I should share it!!

 

SCENARIOS FOR INK MAGIC:

The Zoran repositions Kaydan, and starts tattooing a different spot. Kaydan drifts back into her memories in order to withstand the pain of the needle.

Kaydan finds a knife and cuts a small hole in the back of the canvas tent and slips into the woods. She runs blindly afraid the army is going to catch her. She uses magic to hide her tracks and continues moving south. She wants to avoid the next town, circling to the south, but catches a whiff of bread baking and realizes how hungry she is. She tries to sneak into town to get some bread, but notices men from the army around. She uses just a thread of magic to make herself insignificant to the soldiers, and slides out of town, but she didn’t get any food.

She opens her eyes. The buzz has stopped and the Zoran is patting her shoulder. Kaydan wants to know why she is stopping, and the Zoran answers that she thinks Kaydan has had enough. Kaydan disagrees and they argue briefly, but Kaydan gets her way and the tattooing begins again. The buzzing lulls her back into her memories.

This time Kaydan comes upon the Zoran’s cottage and it is surrounded by soldiers. They have the Zoran on her knees in front of the small cottage. One of the soldiers is screaming at her and calling her a witch, making Kaydan think he is going to hurt or kill her. Kaydan knows she has to do something. She has been trained in combat, and now that training comes back to her. She uses magic to sling the stones at the soldiers and knock them out. Her heart is pounding and she is terrified that she killed them.

Kaydan comes out of her memory again. The dragon is done, but Zoran makes her rest and Kaydan falls asleep.

COMMENTS:

I think this process is not only useful but essential. I still have a few more to do for this story, but writing out scenarios for the story before you actually write them is like making a complex outline. I can quickly look back over it and see if I have the beats in the right place, if the pace is moving quickly, if the tension is escalating. In this story in particular, I want to feel the seriousness of the war increasing as Kaydan moves through her memories. Once I have it outlined, I can easily shift things around and play with the elements to get the story where it should be even before I even really start writing. I enjoyed doing this, and will use these scenarios to write this story. I think there is more on either side. Once I started writing, it really got things flowing. I felt I could quickly capture the most important elements in each movement of the story. That allowed my creativity to really explode as well; something to remember for those writers block moments.

 

 

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Crimson Wind is Red Hot!

Finally! I got to read Crimson Wind! It has been on my read list since before the publication date even came up. The first book in this Horngate Witches series, Bitter Night, grabbed my attention and made me fall in love with Max, the bad-ass Shadowblade. So, when Crimson Wind hit the shelves, I wanted to read it immediately, but alas, things get in the way, and I have not had the opportunity to move it to the top of the list. Until now.

So, did the sequel live up to the first installment? HELL YEAH! It is one of the few books that I read non-stop, straight-through. I loved every page. Except the last one. I did not want the story to end. I won’t tell you why except that the third book, Shadow City, will be out this December, and I don’t think I will wait nearly as long to move it up on my list.

So, for those of you have not read Bitter Night and Crimson Wind, you are really missing out on a great series. The witch is a dark and complex creature intent on doing bad things for good reasons. One of those things is creating Max, her Prime Shadowblade. Max is a kick-ass powerful magic-made creature of the night. Sunshine will kill her, but not likely much more than that. The Shadowblades have their counterparts, Sunspears, that do the Shadowblade job during the day. These two work together in shifts (obviously) to protect the witch and her coven.  What they need to protect the coven from gets bigger and bigger (and badder) as the series moves along!

Got that? Good, because that’s all I’m saying. Anything else would be a spoiler, and I don’t do spoilers. So, read this one!

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