Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Iniquity Book Cover

Darkness has come unto the land.  What is left of earth’s civilization is concentrated into towns, reduced to living a life like that of the middle ages, but this is in the future.  Demons have risen from beneath the surface of the earth and plunged humanity into a serf-like existence where modern comforts are only remembered by the oldest still living.  The demon overlords of each village decide the “destiny” of every woman when she reaches twenty-one years of age.  What befalls Athena, the protagonist, proves unexpected and monumental.

This is the setting for an interesting and personal journey as the tale is told entirely from Athena’s perspective.  She is an inquisitive, stubborn, and practical young woman, and she never strays far from her ultimate goal – somehow restoring the light to the surface and hopefully displacing the despotic rule of the demons.

The story is intriguing and deals not only with these strange situations but also more mundane matters. It is all woven against the overwhelming backdrop of humanity’s new existence beneath its powerful masters.  The story paints a picture of depth, even as it dances with cliché ideas that would be welcome in a fairy tale.  I liked that these tropes were sometimes inverted or presented in a not so clean context.  The tale is not clean; it is, just like life, complicated.

I will confess I grew somewhat impatient during some portions.  The setting pulled me in with wonder as to what had happened and what would befall this poor girl.  Things never calmed for her, but things sometimes felt tiresome.  I will say that this was well indicative of Athena’s plight, though I did feel myself eager to get on with it.

As the story progressed, things changed, alarmingly, and we’re met with another sort of beginning.  It does not take long for everything to become more and more threatening for our unique heroine, and though we are again met with a potential cliché in the end, things are not at all going to be left “happily ever after”.  A tremendous revelation comes to light, and we’re shown how things will be very different and dangerous going forward.  I am eager to continue the story in volume two.

Iniquity, the Ascent, Book One (Amazon link)

Broken Mirror
These stories are not just morbid. They take you down dark passageways of the human psyche. There is fear, violence, trauma. I found some of the tales impacted me to such a degree that I needed a breather before moving on to the next. Ms. Voiez is kind enough to even list trigger warnings before some of the stories, in case the subject matter may resonate too personally.

The very first tale sets its own interesting tone, as it begins feeling more like a gothic romance then quickly travels down much darker pathways. Though it is the longest of the set, I was caught by the ending and wish there would be more.

Victims aplenty are in this collection, but Ms. Voiez does not ignore the transgressors, delving into their minds. The various points of view are fascinating, disturbing, and even sympathetic in some very tragic situations.

I also enjoyed Ms. Voiez’s writing style. Her descriptions prove well done, feeling poised to not only stoke the underlying tension of many tales but also a near sense of helplessness. You don’t yawn; a yawn claims your throat.

All in all this is a wonderful collection. I recommend it, though do be careful reading it alone in the dark.

Broken Mirror and other Morbid Tales by Carmilla Voiez (Amazon Link)

Curse of Mary 03 - reduced

A Seductive Coax

This tale is an interesting take on a possible origin of a notable Urban Legend regarding Bloody Mary. It spans hundreds of years, examining the characters and the impact of the lineage in many ways. At the start of the 15th Century, we begin to learn of the Cambelle family and their dark secret, but things take a decided turn rather quickly.  It was very intriguing seeing how the situation developed, this early point in history showing its own layering within a well-developed lore that is slowly revealed to us. Within this tapestry, we are treated to the lives of many characters as they experience the consequences of the family’s heritage, not the least of which is the eponymous Mary, for whom a grave tragedy awaits.  Before this fully manifests, we are treated to some titillating erotic scenes.  The book is noted as being for 18+ readers, and it pulls no punches when it comes to sex and gore.  This may serve to lure the reader, sometimes like a seductive coax, other times akin to a deep shock.  This book is not for the squeamish.

The narrative spans many years and generations, jumping ahead so we may experience the haunting legacy of those seeds as we visit the 19th and 21st Centuries to fully realize the horrible consequences that have resulted in this legend.  This presents many interesting viewpoints as without this context, it might be easy to merely view Mary as a monster.

The ending felt quite sudden, even a touch anticlimactic; however, it left me wanting more. If anything, it seemed it could have been another beginning, even a cliffhanger. I’d like to know more of Mary, the curse, and the descendants of the family and what may further befall them.

Be sure to buy, read, and review this book!

The Curse of Mary: All Legends Begin in Truth by NicolaJayne Taylor (Amazon Link)

And here we are at the end of Author Life Month (#authorlifemonth).  It has been interesting, and I hope you all have found it the same.

Fan Love
That seems strange to me, to even think that anyone out there is a fan of me.  If you are following me, reading my work, giving feedback and especially reviews, then I thank you, dearly.  Without all of you, this is just a solo exercise.  I crave the audience.  Thank you.

Your Last 5-Star Read
I just finished rereading The original Hitchhiker’s Trilogy by Douglas Adams.  That makes probably the third time I have read it (maybe fourth).  It is definitely a 5-star read.

A Challenge Overcome
Anytime I finish a work, it is a challenge overcome.  I have hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of half-formulated, incomplete ideas.  I have written hundreds of pages into a novel only to decide it is not great and give up on it.  I like the blank page, so starting is the easiest and most exciting for me.  I love brainstorming.  My second book just came out, and I am working on more.  Each of those is a challenge.

A Self-Reward
I suppose I am not huge on these.  I did not really do anything specific to reward myself when I signed a publication contract or when I saw my book in print for the first time.  I think of those acts themselves as the reward.  I do sometimes ‘reward’ myself when writing and editing by taking a day without doing any of that.

A Bookish Gift
I am not entirely sure what this means.  I sure do like bookmarks.  Does that count?  I used to have this wonderful red leather bookmark my mother got me from England.  I lost it …

An Author I Admire
China Miéville.  His imagination amazes me to no end.  I will say that I have not liked everything by him that I have read, but I do like the majority of it, and it blows my mind.  His ability to reach into creativity and pull out things that are just stupefying in their scope never ceases to impress me.

I will thank my family, my readers, those who helped me with my writing, and my publisher.  I deeply and dearly thank you all.

As always, please feel free to like, comment, and/or share.


Continuing Author Life Month (#authorlifemonth), it is time for another post.

Awesome Moment
Well, I suppose there are many awesome moments, but the one that stands out to me was when I first held the print version of my debut novel in my hands.  That was amazing.

Killed Darlings
Now come on, I can’t say that.  Read my series to find out who this happens to … I mean if it even happens at all.  I’d never kill off a beloved character.  Nope.  I have never experienced a decisive moment when I almost talked myself out of a bold move, because I didn’t want to kill off a character.  Never.

Reviewer Love
I will throw love at all those who have taken the time to review my book.  I love hearing feedback, and I thank all of those of you who have provided it.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Here is some swag.  A nice draw-string bag with the name of my publisher, along with some post cards, magnets, and a neat journal.  I use the journal for writing music.

Character Inspiration
Well, the characters in Dance of the Butterfly are somewhat obviously based on people I know, including myself.  As I discuss in the post Seeds, it all began innocently enough as my son and I had a fun discussions of how easy it would be to dress up for a con if there were characters based on us.  Though this began as something silly and off the cuff, the seeds were planted.

Dedication Page
No one gave me more inspiration, desire, and discipline than Jane.  Had I not met her, I don’t think the books would have ever been written.  Thank you.

My “To-Write” List
I have many of these.  I am working on the third (and likely final) book in my urban fantasy series.  I have another novel that is about 95% finished and yet another that is about 5% done.  And yes, still another that is fairly well along.  These are all fantasy-related, some dealing with vampires, some with other dimensions, some with wizards, maybe some dragons.  My hope is they will all pull from standard tropes but come forth in a non-standard way.

And there we go.  I do hope you have enjoyed this further glimpse into my life.  As always, please feel free to like, share, or comment.  Thank you all.


Feedback Wanted

Posted: November 28, 2016 in Blog
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Authors want reviews. Authors want feedback, comments, communication. It can especially feel like working in a vacuum when you post or publish something and you get little to no response. Sure, many people may be reading and having a positive experience, but without feedback, how do we know?

So, write reviews.  Leave comments.  Please.

Here is where my own “problem” arises. I do not like leaving negative reviews. I have made one negative review, and it was for a very well-established author, so I don’t think it put the slightest chink in his armor. I like the author very much, just didn’t care for this one book, and I left what I felt was an honest, possibly meaningful review for others to read.

I understand the difference between a spiteful review and a negative one that is also constructive.  I understand not to let too much of my own personal desires make it sound like I am objectively naming something “bad”.  Even with this, I don’t like leaving negative reviews.

I have read many indie short stories and books of late, and I have not liked them all. Some were a bit … well, let’s just say I didn’t even finish them. In the wise words of the great James Dalton, “Opinions vary.”  I did not leave reviews for those.

I have read many authors saying to please leave a review, even if it is a poor one. Every review counts and matters. I want to help other authors, but it almost makes my skin crawl to leave a negative review. My approach is that I leave a positive review, or I do not leave one at all.  In this vein, I try to even make a positive spin to a potentially negative review, or again, I don’t leave one at all.

I know this is not the correct attitude, but it bothers me to think of doing something “negative” toward other independent authors.

And here I am asking for feedback and reviews.  It is troubling, I know, and I struggle with how to best leave a review for something I did not like.  It’s so much easier to leave a positive review.

Of course, I do hope you will purchase, read, and review my debut urban fantasy novel, Dance of the Butterfly.  Many thanks!  And feel free to leave a comment.

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