Category Archives: novels

The Great Death and other kindle books

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THE GREAT DEATH by dr. ish ism (dystopia/space opera novel)

Eighteen-year-old Phoh Weaver was abandoned in the former United States as a baby. Now she lives with her adoptive tribe along the Great Michigan Desert. Living with her friends and adoptive human family, Phoh negotiates being an alien while trying to hide her supernatural gifts.

The enigmatic Woman in White enters Phoh’s life—bringing a mission. One task. But few tasks are as daunting as hunting—and stopping—the immortal world-killing monster known as the Great Death.

When the survival of Phoh’s tribe is put at risk, she is forced to step into a frightening new world of wealth, lies, and monsters—a new Earth where Shangri-La China is the center of government, finance, and power. “Are you afraid to die?” In Shangri-La, even death has lost its sting thanks to advances in medicine and technology.

Lurking behind it all is the mysterious destroyer of worlds called The Great Death.

With the survival of billions of people forced upon Phoh’s young shoulders, finding out what the Woman in White knows is crucial.

The Great Death is an 86,000-word speculative fiction novel.

Get it here on Kindle: ($o.99 / Free on Kindle Unlimited)

Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, New Adult, Space Opera, Dystopia, Cyberpunk Girl, Afrofuturism, Blerd

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Burned by Magic: a New Adult Fantasy Novel (The Baine Chronicles Book 1) by Jasmine Walt

The first book in the hot new adult fantasy series readers are comparing to Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs.

In the city of Solantha, mages rule absolute, with shifters considered second-class citizens and humans something in between. No one outside the mage families are allowed to have magic, and anyone born with it must agree to have it stripped from them to avoid execution.

Sunaya Baine, a shifter-mage hybrid, has managed to keep her unruly magic under wraps for the last twenty-four years. But while chasing down a shifter-hunting serial killer, she loses control of her magic in front of witnesses, drawing the attention of the dangerous and enigmatic Chief Mage.

Locked up in the Chief Mage’s castle and reduced to little more than a lab rat, Sunaya resists his attempts to analyze and control her at every turn. But she soon realizes that to regain her freedom and catch the killer, she must overcome her hatred of mages and win the most powerful mage in the city to her side.

Get it here on Kindle: ($2.99 / Free on Kindle Unlimited)

Genres: Fantasy, New Adult and College, Science Fiction, Mythology
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Morning Star: Book III of The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown

Red Rising thrilled readers and announced the presence of a talented new author. Golden Son changed the game and took the story of Darrow to the next level. Now comes the exhilarating conclusion to the Red Rising Trilogy: Morning Star.

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

Get it here on Kindle: ($13.99)

Advance praise for Morning Star
 
“Multilayered and seething with characters who exist in a shadow world between history and myth, much as in Frank Herbert’s Dune . . . an ambitious and satisfying conclusion to a monumental saga.”Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Pierce Brown and the Red Rising Trilogy

Red Rising

“[A] spectacular adventure . . . one heart-pounding ride . . . Pierce Brown’s dizzyingly good debut novel evokes The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Ender’s Game. . . . [Red Rising] has everything it needs to become meteoric.”Entertainment Weekly
 
“[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field.”—USA Today
 
“Pierce Brown has done an astounding job at delivering a powerful piece of literature that will definitely make a mark in the minds of readers.”—The Huffington Post
 
Golden Son
 
“Brown writes layered, flawed characters . . . but plot is his most breathtaking strength. . . . Every action seems to flow into the next.”—NPR
 
“In a word, Golden Son is stunning. Among science fiction fans, it should be a shoo-in for book of the year.”Tor.com
 
“The jaw-dropper of an ending will leave readers hungry for the conclusion to Brown’s wholly original, completely thrilling saga.”Booklist (starred review)

*****

Glass Sword (Red Queen) by Victoria Aveyard

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Get it here on Kindle: $11.99

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Fiction Writing: What Does Food Mean?

“Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.” — A quote attributed to Sigmund Freud. It means that sometimes you don’t have to look deeply for answers or meanings, and you should just take things at face value.

Sometimes, but not always, a cigar is just a cigar. Well, as I write my novel I am not thinking about cigars. But I am thinking about food. No, not because I’m hungry. But because food can tell readers a lot about a character. The type of food a character eats can tell readers about race, class, gender… culture, religion. Maybe there are foods the character doesn’t eat.

Who cooks the food? The main character? A servant to the main character? Where is the food eaten: a bar where the main character gets information from the bartender? Or in the front seat of a beat up 1975 pick-up while on a police stakeout?

Is this food from a sacred recipe passed down from grandparents? Or is the dinner just an event to get characters together to talk?

Food can have a powerful meaning to readers. In one or two sentences, you can convey poverty or wealth just by describing food. Food is a universal supporting detail in the story because every reader needs to eat. But not every reader will know food is important to culture. With a short sentence or two, you can convey that cultural info, and that will add depth to your character and story.

But don’t get carried away. Unless you are writing a story like “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” food should just be a way to reveal something about the character. Don’t create a seventeen-page description of how to cook Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Sometimes macaroni and cheese is just macaroni and cheese.

I started thinking about food because I am close to finishing the first draft of my novel. The main character is at a dinner party, and I am thinking about what kind of food should be served. And of course… now that I am writing a short blog post about food, I am getting hungry 😉

Anyway, my first draft looks like it will be around thirty-five thousands words. The final draft, after all the rewrites, edits, and added details… will probably be around one-hundred thousand words.

What about you? What does food mean in your storytelling?

How I Avoid Writer’s Block

It’s a writer’s block!

Writer’s block! Nooooooo! How does one deal with one of the deadliest viruses to ever assault the creative arts? Well… I have never had writer’s block… so I do not have a cure for it. Instead I call it “writer’s detour” resulting from “writer’s blah.”

I typically avoid writer’s block because I don’t write unless I have creative energy. I have never sat down to a computer, a notebook paper, or a typewriter … without knowing what I was going to write about (yes, I am old enough to have typewriter experience). I am writing every day when working on a story. Even when that writing only takes place in my mind, I do not take a day off from writing. When I actually sit down to put words to paper (to computer screen) I have a wealth of stored up creative ideas.

If I get to a point in my novel that isn’t working… I don’t freeze up. I do not stop writing for five hours, six days, or two weeks. I actually call this “writer’s blah” because it is not as if I cannot write anything. It’s just that a particular section of the book is not interesting to me at that moment. At least, not interesting for me to have a high level of energy and excitement. So I avoid the writer’s blah by switching to a different section of my story. I call this the writer’s detour.

The writer’s detour is normally when I try a different ending for the book, work on the beginning of the book, or perhaps a complicated action sequence of the book that is more interesting than my current section. This is especially true during the first draft stage, where I do not see a reason to write in chronological order. The writer’s detour can be thought of as free writing which might even reveal what you SHOULD HAVE been writing in the section you avoided. At worst the writer’s detour allows me to explore characters’ motivations in paragraphs that may or may not ever make it into the final copy of the story.

Writing fiction should be a fun adventure, not a horrifying experience where people become frozen and unable to write a single word. Seriously… don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Because with the combination of Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V I can move entire chapters in the book around. Or DELETE entire chapters.

Something else I think about regularly is: If I am not excited about writing a section of the story… then why would readers be interested in reading it?

Occasionally the writer’s detour becomes a train wreck. Well… the “delete” button can erase entire sections of the story that seemed amazing Thursday night… but now appear to be utter crap and make no sense for my story the following morning. Sorry if I just triggered a one night stand flashback for you.

Anyway, I have written several screenplays and books, and have never experienced writer’s block. Two of my self-published works have long been deleted from existence. I wrote them 13 years ago and they were passionately, but not great. However a play I wrote a couple years ago was one of the winners of a playwright contest… so I am somewhat talented.

Nonetheless, writer’s block is not something that ails me. Writing should be a fun journey. I make it fun. If you have writer’s block then you might be taking fiction writing too seriously.

So… my answers to writer’s block are:

  1. Only write when I feel creative energy flowing.
  2. If the creative energy isn’t flowing in one part of the story, don’t stop writing. Just switch to a different part of the story and explore that. Sticking to writing in chronological order, especially for the first draft, makes no sense in the age of computer word programs.
  3. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Something might become your “favorite mistake!”
  4. Have fun.

What about you? How do you deal with the terror known as “writer’s block”?