Tag Archives: series

Cover Reveal: Curse of the Dark Wind by Charles Yallowitz

Debuting December 12th on Amazon Kindle!

 

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

After their battles in Gaia and surviving the Island of Pallice, the champions of Windemere are off on their next adventure.

In his quest to be a hero and help others, Luke Callindor has jumped into danger countless times and would do so again without hesitation. So when he is infected by the toxic Dark Wind, it is up to his friends to find a cure and keep his courage alive. With time running out and their enemies in the shadows, one ally will make the decision to share in Luke’s suffering and forge a bond that runs thicker than blood. Such a sacrifice might not be enough when the truth behind this living curse comes to light.

Will Luke find the strength to defeat the Dark Wind? What ghosts from his past will appear during his weakest hour?

About the Author:

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

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz

Read the Previous Volumes of Legends of Windemere!!!

COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)
COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)
COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)
COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

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COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)
COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE).
COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)
COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

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Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)
Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

Book Review: The Worms of Heaven by Misha Burnett

A while back, March 15, 2014, to be precise, I posted book reviews for Misha Burnett’s first two books in the “Book of Lost Doors” series, Book One: “Catskinner’s Book” and Book Two: “Cannibal Hearts”. You can read those here if you like:

I recently had the honor of reading an ARC of Book Three, “The Worms of Heaven”. This is more a series review than a book review. I don’t usually post the book descriptions with my reviews because you can read those on Amazon, but I will for this book review to give you an idea of where this book: “The Worms of Heaven” is coming from. This review is a lot longer than my typical review. You will see a much shorter version on Amazon:

Book description: “Catskinner’s Book”:

Catskinner’s Book is a science fiction/urban fantasy novel set in a surreal world unlike any that you have seen before.

James Ozryck has a monster in his head.

All of his life the entity that he calls Catskinner has made him a fugitive, afraid to get too close to anyone, afraid to stay in one place for too long. Catskinner kills, without compassion and without warning, and is very good at it.

Now James has learned that Catskinner is not the only monster in the world, a world that has suddenly become a far stranger and more dangerous place than he imagined. In order to survive he will have to become something more than a monster, he will have to learn what it means to be human.

 Book description: “Cannibal Hearts”:

A year ago James Ozryck was a loner, forced to keep the world at bay by the alien entity he calls Catskinner who shares his body. Now he has found a community of others whose lives have been changed by the Outsiders.

Along with Godiva, his half-human lover, James runs a property management company that serves as a front company for Outsider activities.

When the pair’s mysterious boss, Agony Delapour suddenly shows up in town with a new project, however, things get dangerous fast as events unfold that threaten the life that they have made.

Book Review: “The Worms of Heaven”: 

I have mentioned in previous reviews in this series that Misha Burnett’s works are genius. His Catskinner character enmeshed with James Ozryck in both physical and psychological form; yet, really quite separate, is in and of itself remarkable. I fell in love with the singular duality of the character in Book One. Burnett worked wonders to give this (these) character (s) unique voice and personality.

Book Three brings Catskinner back in full force and has James and Catskinner interacting with the entire crew of Outsider affected characters in ways that are sure to keep you turning the pages. Agony Delapour has been kidnapped. Havoc has been wrecked on the Blue Metal Boy camp. Catskinner, the Butcher, has vowed death in revenge, facing his most formidable opponent yet, the Orchid.

Burnett’s ability to draw and create a colorful cast of characters was well illustrated in Books One and Two. Book Three takes that ability even deeper. There are humans, yes, but there are also Orthovores, a hive of Thomases, Ambimorphs, Pale Surgeons, Minraudim, Necroidim, and Blue Metal Boys, with depth; motivations, actions, and consequence, and these partial humans or undead have their own unique cultures.

Though most entertaining, this book moved me emotionally in ways that I really was not expecting. Existing within our culture, these Outsider affected “alien” beings have feelings and emotions (or lack of them), lifestyles and practices, if different from our own personal human experience, that are part of who they are in their society…like the cultural differences we find in our real world wide society. There are significant parallels here that cannot be ignored. Burnett has brought these beings together in stories that demonstrate the meaning of community without prejudice. The concepts of honor, love, loyalty, devotion and dedication are proven to be as “alien” as they are human.

So what does this mean for a fiction read? Some of it is grotesquely creepy, and some of it is profoundly beautiful. All of it is a bit weird, but weird is good. It’s supposed to be strange. It teaches us things about others and ourselves. I’m not talking about tolerance and acceptance. Those prejudicial concepts actually appall me. I’m speaking of the manner in which Misha Burnett has written non-judgmentally integrating worlds within worlds. There is much insight found in the methods of Burnett’s brilliance.

In conclusion, “The Book of Lost Doors” series has characters that have the ability to make decisions and affect the story. The characters have agency and push the plots more than the plots push them. They are much more than plot puppets. While the plots are fascinating and exciting, the books are also very much character driven, and that is where Burnett excels.

If you like urban fantasy or sci-fi, or anything in the paranormal realm, and have not started this excellent series, I highly recommend that you do.

5 of 5 Stars

You can follow Misha Burnett on his blog here, where he engages readers in interesting and insightful topics.

“The Worms of Heaven” available soon.

Cover Reveal: The Compass Key by Charles Yallowitz

Debuting August 8th on Amazon Kindle!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Swords will clash and spells will fly in the newest adventure of young warrior Luke Callindor, Nyx the magic-flinging caster, and their friends.

With Sari captured by their enemies, the champions of Windemere are determined to get her back and destroy the Lich’s castle. Little do they realize, their battles in the Caster Swamp are only the beginning of this adventure. Trinity and her Chaos Elves have invaded the city of Gaia in search of a relic called the Compass Key. Rumored to be the key to rescuing Sari from a magical island, our heroes are in a race to find the mysterious relic.

Which side will claim the Compass Key? And, what will our heroes do when they’re faced with an enemy whose evil power overshadows anything they have ever faced?

About the Author:

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

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz

Read the Previous Volumes of Legends of Windemere!!!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)
Cover by Jason Pedersen
Cover by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Book Review for Rosie’s Challenge: Business As Usual by E.L. Lindley

The perils of the human trafficking underworld and prostitution get a close examination in this book. It is book one of the Georgia Connelly series.

This was a refreshingly clever change from typical police procedural, detective, private investigator type crime fiction. Georgie Connelly’s business is making documentary films with some seriously dangerous subjects. A British woman in Los Angeles, she is a bit of a loose cannon and tough as nails, but has a soft and vulnerable side wherein she displays her insecurities. Her heart is pure, even though she can come off as brassy, sarcastic and insensitive, she means well. The cast of characters that surrounds her is well rounded and interesting. James Finn, a former military man assigned to protect her, tries desperately to predict and understand her behaviors. Her friends are like family, loyal and supportive. The antagonists are ruthless and cruel, despicable.

The plot starts off with Georgie having to do community service work as a teacher due to her alcohol issues. She likes her wine. A teenage boy confides in her that his female friend is missing. There is one disaster after another. Georgie uses her documentary/journalism skills in an effort to expose Max Petrov, a Russian gentleman’s club owner, while being hunted down by a psycho from a previous documentary.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It started off slow for a crime thriller and I thought it was going to be more of a cozy mystery, but around 10% the action kicked in and it DID NOT lull at all throughout the entire book. There is a camp that says all crime novels should start off immediately with a bang in the midst of an action scene. It is a tradeoff, really. The character development in this novel is superb. The plot is an intelligent weave of colorful threads with both knots and bows. There are a few typos and repetitive adjectives, but the story was very well written and well organized. I highly recommend if you are looking for a fast paced, interesting, and absorbing read.

Five out of Five Stars

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.UK
Amazon.CA

 

Stand Alone or Series

This is a comparative post about two different story lines and how they would best be served, the feedback I received on writing my last novel and the feedback I have received on writing my current novel (s). Therein lays the dilemma.

I will try not to ramble. These are thoughts floating around in my head, so they may come out a bit disorganized. My head is like that.

If you have read “Red Clay and Roses” this will make much more sense to you, but you should be able to follow the idea even if you have not. “Red Clay and Roses” really turned out to be a family saga. It was; however forced into one book which covered a long time period. Being a fictionalized true story presented challenges. I did not want to deviate tremendously from what actually occurred.

Not setting out to write a novel, I wrote the book the way the events actually happened:

The Introduction: In 2012, Hannah recalling finding the ledger in 1992.

Part One: The interviews of interesting people involved in what occurred in the 1950s and 60s that took place in 1992-93 when Hannah found the ledger.

Part Two: Followed that with the story learned from Sybil, a cousin of Hannah’s who was deeply enmeshed with ledger and those people involved in the 1950s and 60s. This story that was gleaned from her diaries was put together in novel form rather than as diary entries.

Then, the conclusion, again in 2012, was derived from Hannah’s personal experience in bringing her lost family members together after so many years.

The problem here is that Hannah is a main character, but is not even born until 1960. She should have never been a main character. In fact, she might not have been involved at all until 2012 when she pulls the strands of the family together in a most hopeful outcome.

I struggled with determining main characters from the get go. Whose perspective did I want this book written in? I wrote it in Hannah’s because that was the perspective that I could most personally relate to. Part One ended up being written in first person and Part Two was written in third person. We go back to first person in the conclusion.

While the family saga played out nicely as a story line, the writing styles were fucked up. They muttled the story line making things somewhat confusing to follow. There was an enormous amount of ground to cover as cohesively as possible from 1953 to 2012. The back story derived from the interviews, which I read two opposing viewpoints on just today, could have easily been used for character development. The story could have started in 1953, culminated in 1971, with the finale in 2012. Instead, I have these two characters, Moses Grier and Ms. Bea, the good doctor’s wife, ancillary characters actually, relating events that occurred in their lives in the 1930s and 1940s. How fucked up is that?

So, the severe critique that I received recently has me thinking about the main character’s importance. I used the good doctor as an ancillary character, when he could have very well been the main character. I don’t know if I would have done a trilogy as the critique suggested, but approaching the story from that angle could have certainly simplified much of the story. There would have been a lot less unnecessary information, and the other characters would have been strengthened in their roles as they related to him.

Okay, this is all hindsight. I won’t be re-writing this story. I have no plans to turn it into a trilogy. But the critique has me thing about my current work.

“Red Clay and Roses” is a very good book, if you have the intelligence to process the purpose of Ms. Bea’s psychosis into how it relates to the storyline, and Moses’ grief and how it relates to the story line. Covering such a long time span from 1953-1971 in the bulk of the story was an enormous amount of information in a 445 page book. The pace was good and there was a lot of action (certainly not the kind that has flying unicorns with stars shooting out of their rainbow colored wing tips). It is a deeply reflective story, powerful and thought provoking.

I can’t expect all readers to have that sort of mind. Especially with all of the simplistic formulaic “book mill” material people are producing and reading these days, both traditional and independent.  True literature is fast becoming a dead horse. People don’t want to think deeply, they want TV action.

I am; however, looking at my current work in progress and trying to assure I don’t make similar mistakes with the character development. I am also trying to decide if I need to do this as one book or; perhaps, a trilogy.

I feel a need to say something here: I don’t write, nor do I plan to write mainstream genre fiction!

SEROIUSLY, IF YOU BELIEVE THAT EVERY WRITER ASPIRES TO BE TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED YOU ARE WRONG!

While there are many traditionally published books that I love, there are also many independently published books that I love. There are traditionally published books that I have laid down and could not finish and there are independently published books that I have set aside.  I don’t feel that traditional is synonymous with quality. I also don’t feel that traditional publishing is synonymous with success. I have known many amazing and talented musicians who never cut a recording deal. Does that make them any less talented or amazing?

There is a lot wrong with traditional publishing in my opinion. It has become far too formulaic and genre specific for marketing purposes. It has become a commercial industry losing its value in the area of creativity. Industry standards govern production to a point where authors are telling authors what is right or wrong about their product based on genre specific sales data, rather than literary merit. I don’t mean helpful writing advice or suggestions, but how to make it fit into a marketable box.  The tired, but tried and true, heroes and heroines with their happy endings in romance, and the criminals/villains with no color captured by the enterprisingly clever crime fighters bore me to tears. But they sell tons.

Are you trying to write an overnight marketable product or are you trying to develop great literature? Truly great literature, like Charles Dickens and Mark Twain, Anne Rice and John Grisham, Tolkien and Rowling started as something much smaller than a best seller. There are many pieces of great literature that are only one book. Here are ten popular books by authors who never wrote more than one book:

1 Dead Medium 
by Peter John
2 Shadow Hills
by Anastasia Hopcus

3 To Kill a Mockingbird 
by Harper Lee

4 Wuthering Heights 
by Emily Brontë
5 The Picture of Dorian Gray 
by Oscar Wilde

6 Gone with the Wind 
by Margaret Mitchell
7 The Catcher in the Rye 
by J.D. Salinger

8 The Bell Jar 
by Sylvia Plath

9 Black Beauty 
by Anna Sewell
10 Doctor Zhivago 
by Boris Pasternak

Maybe I am in this thing for the wrong reasons. I don’t have a writing career objective.

I write with passion for the pure pleasure of writing.

I read volumes of historical fiction. I like learning about different time periods while I read. The stories are varied and colorful and often have unpredictable outcomes. My husband reads volumes of crime novels. He can always predict the outcome, but he has gotten bored with the traditionally published novels. He reads two or three a week and it is the same story told ten thousand ways. Good guys catch bad guys. If it weren’t for some regional authors, he would have given up on them long ago. He is starting to branch out into some interesting independent work that has him fascinated. Misha Burnett’s series is an example. I am proud of them both. Misha for writing such a captivating set of books, and my husband for giving them a try.

Now that I have rambled off topic for a few paragraphs, let me get back to my point. The trilogy idea.

This new work in progress is also a family saga of sorts. It also takes place in the 1950s and goes into the 1990s, so I am seriously thinking of breaking it into a three book series, not necessarily for marketing purposes, but because of the time span involved. I don’t want to rush or gloss over important relationships.

Not being altogether a true story, there is no inherent need to lay it out as it happened. Book One will cover Claudette and Carol coming of age struggling through a sordid past and dealing with the humiliations of mental illness.

Book Two will cover Carol’s suicide, Claudette’s dealing with the suicide and her healing process that involves helping others heal through music.

Book Three will cover Claudette’s own daughter’s suicide and how she processes through that while guiding her niece through the loss of her cousin who seemed like a sister to her as they grew up together and both became professional nurses; the latter book giving me opportunity to write my own autobiography contribution of sorts that I have been working on as a side project, and including my story in theirs.

This might actually lead to a Book Four.

I don’t intend to do this for marketing purposes, but to write three or four compelling novels that stand as a series. I would not release one, until I had all three or four ready for release. We are talking years down the road, but what do I have but time? I am not paying any bills here.

If you have managed to follow this long ramble on my disordered thought process, what do you think, stand alone or series?

Another question, and one I struggle with in all of my writing, what person to write in?

In a series, do I need to stay with third person if I start with third person?

Researching the WIP

Cloud_10h

I am not doing NaNo, but I have committed to getting as much work done on my W.I.P. as possible.  It is a crime novel/murder mystery series. I don’t have a title for the first book, or the series yet, and I am still in the research phase.  This week my research involves the following:

Confer with Dr. G. the Orange Co. M.E. (yet again) re: murder weapons and stab wounds/DNA testing in 2005

Cold case procedure

Osceola Co. jail

The Parliament House Resort, Orlando

Melbourne seaside parks

I-95 exits near Melbourne

Slang used in the Trans community

Alternate lifestyles

Golf Course acreage

Asian (Vietnamese language and customs)

Little Saigon

Airboats

Bass fishing boats

Maps for Big Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho)

East lake Toho

Southport Park

Seasonal water weeds growth patterns

Martial arts

Self-defense for women

Glock handguns

Chuluota Sporting Club/ Gun Range

Trucks and cars in the year 2005-8

Maps of Intersession City topography

Military police

Yeehaw Junction’s Road Kill Café and Brothel

Human trafficking statistics

Dry cleaning chemicals

St Cloud diners

Disney and other resorts

Restaurant, Population, and Hotel statistics in Orlando area

Florida weather patterns in 2005 and 2008

With what I have already written in my former WIP that was scraped, this research should take me at least through chapter five or six.  I am a stickler for accurate details so this should be fun.  There will much more research as we move into the politics of the murder victim’s spouse, his partner, and the psychological implications of the children involved.

I am trying to keep the chapters short and to the point. Many of these items I already know something about, but accuracy adds to realism, so I am checking some facts.  I love learning and actually visiting the places I write about, so I will be out a lot of the next week or so and then have more focus on my writing.

I know this seems like a lot of research, but there is very little that I need to know about some of these items, as I already have some experience, and others there is much to learn.

I like that this is really starting to gel well in my mind.  The plot and subplots are coming together very well.  I have several crimes in mind that can carry this story arc across several books without losing the primary theme.  I also like the often misunderstood dynamics of alternate lifestyles being a primary focus.

Oh yeah!  I forgot to add this pic:

desk 007

The desk you could not see for all of the papers in previous posts. I cleaned it up yesterday.  Probably the cleanest you will ever see my desk for the next six months, or so.  I do have about five spiral bound notebooks for jotting down details, even though I am trying to use Scrivener more effectively this time.

The Storm and the Darkness Cover is Here!

Second book of awesome series. Cradit has other books completed that will be coming soon if you like to follow a good series. “St Charles At Dusk”, set in New Orleans is the first book of the series.

...and then there was Sarah

With great excitement and pride, I now share with all of you the cover for the second book my House of Crimson and Clover Series: The Storm and the Darkness. The book will be available on July 15th!

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