Category Archives: Other Notable Authors

Updates on other works of renown within the independent publishing world.

Lisa Shambrook: Beneath the Rainbow

On October 12, Lisa Shambrook will re-release her novel Beneath the Rainbow. She has a new cover, a new designing team, new online support group, and new works in progress! And she’s giving away a free paperback copy of Beneath the Rainbow. Enter by following this link.

I interviewed Lisa Shambrook today, and the answers I received got me excited for her future work.

Beneath the Rainbow announcement

-What inspired Beneath the Rainbow? It came right out of the blue! The first line hit me as I was walking through the park “Freya was seven-years-old when she got hit by the car, it was a 4×4 with a bull bar.” The line shocked me, and I had no idea how to write a book that began with the death of a child! At home I crafted the first chapter, and was completely drawn into the grief her family was suffering, and I imagined how it would appear to a child on the other side of Heaven.

-Is any part of it based off of real-life experiences or people? Thankfully I’ve not suffered like Freya’s family, though we do have family experience of both cancer and unfulfilled dreams, which are strong themes within the book.

-Can you describe the process of writing your book? It was cathartic. It’s a difficult subject, but one that leaped into my head and heart, and refused to let go. This book flowed and told me what to write…the only time I’ve ever pantsed a book as I’m a planner at heart!

-Is this the first book you’ve ever written? What’s your previous experience with writing? I realised I could write books almost fourteen years ago and began with a children’s fantasy adventure trilogy. These books need rewriting and severe editing, but I still love them. I also have a half written dragon epic, and a sequel to ‘Beneath the Rainbow’.

-What challenges did you encounter when first writing and publishing the book? How have the challenges changed with the re-release? At first, I truly had no idea what I was doing! I wrote ‘Beneath the Rainbow’ with no thought for genre, or age, or marketing. I put it on Kindle then joined Twitter hoping to sell it…thankfully I didn’t pimp it, instead I discovered how social media worked and found a wonderful writing community. Now the book has been revised, reformatted, redesigned and rereleased. I finally have online support, confidence in my writing and a better understanding of the business!

-What plans do you have for future writing? ‘Beneath the Old Oak’ is going through its first edit, hoping to release it at the end of next Summer. This November I’m planning the third book in the series tentatively titled ‘Beneath the Stormy Sky’.

-What advice would you give anyone who is considering writing a book? Flash Fiction! Flash writing has honed every writing skill I have and has made me a much better writer! Give it a go, short and sweet, and fun. Regarding the book itself, edit well…and lots, and lots! Get as much professional help as you can afford, and find a supportive writing community…they are priceless!

-What’s your writing environment like? I write on my laptop, on my lap, lol. I prefer silence, and often forget to drink or eat while I write! My favourite writing time is once I’ve done the school run, or late at night.

-How do you balance writing with family? I generally write when the family are at school or work, I need the peace!

-What support systems do you have for your writing endeavors? An online writing community…like I said, other writers know what you’re going through, take all advise that’s offered! Lastly, I could not do this without the support of my family. My husband encourages and respects my writing, and my children both read and critique my work, and I sometimes listen!

Beneath the Rainbow is available on, and it’s not expensive at all. U.S. customers click here, and U.K. customers click here!

Beneath the Rainbow cover

Beneath the Rainbow

“It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.”

Dreams define us, shape us and realise our potential…they make us who we are.

Freya won’t let death stand in her way.

When she dies Freya knows she needs to move on, but is caught within her mother’s grief and the discovery of terminally ill Old Thomas. Finding she can affect the lives of those beyond her heaven she fights to reach her mother and wants to help Thomas realise his final dream.

Meanwhile, her family finds her own list of goals and soon discovers that Thomas has a burning desire to ride a motorbike.

Freya intends to create a rainbow, the last item on her list, to reach her mother, but her pale arcs won’t achieve closure. She needs scarlet like remembrance poppies then sunset orange and sunflower yellow. She makes green like her willow and blue like daddy’s t-shirt. Finally conjuring indigo, the shade of deepening night and violet to match Purple Ted…

Beneath these colours will Freya reach her mother, wait for Old Thomas and be ready to move on?

Discover the importance of dreams and fulfilment in Freya’s heart-breaking and uplifting tale of grief, hope, triumph and joy.

Lisa Shambrook

Lisa Shambrook

Born and raised in vibrant Brighton, England, Lisa’s lyrical writing is emotional and imaginative. She concentrates on description and colour, and hopes her readers will easily visualise the narrative. Her first book ‘Beneath the Rainbow’ is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.

A wife and mother, Lisa draws inspiration from family life, faith, memory and imagination. After having her first of three children, Lisa has lived in Carmarthen, West Wales, another town rich in legend and lore.

Lisa loves family time, walking the family’s excitable German Shepherd, beaches, scrap-booking, photography, art and last, but not least, writing…she says “There is nothing better than escaping and immersing yourself in a good story!” You can follow her blog at

To read another exciting interview about Lisa, visit LE Jamez’ blog.


Dead Sea Games Reading Challenge


Read a book. Write reviews. Win prizes. The third reading challenge is going on right now over at Facebook.

We’re switching genres with a wide arc this month. We’ve done young adult mystery, and we’ve done fantasy romance. Now we’ll highlight some books that I have really enjoyed, by J. Whitworth Hazzard. James is releasing the third book in the series, Kidnapped, very soon. We’re hosting the reading challenge for him, to ramp up the excitement.

The Dead Sea Games books begin where all the other zombie apocalypse stories leave off: after the infection. Jeremy, aka “Deathwish,” is a 15-year-old boy during a time when adults haven’t even figured out how to live again. Teenagers never had it figured out in the first place. Jeremy and the survivors live in a cell of apartment buildings, in lower Manhattan, where zombies mill about on the streets below and teenage orphans aren’t welcome in society.


Both “Adrift” and “Exiled” are eligible for this contest. You may read/review either, or both if you would like. Expect action from the first page to the last, satisfying all through these quick reads.

To learn more about the Dead Sea Games books before downloading, check out a review I wrote about the Dead Sea Games books. You can also check out J. Whitworth Hazzard’s blog over at Zombie Mechanics.

Parenting info: Mature language and situations. Violence and language comparable to Zombieland.


1) Read one of the books (or both).
2) Write reviews on Amazon, Goodreads,, or your blog. Or all of the above! The more places you post, the more entries you get. Each review earns one entry into the prize hat, whether you liked the book or not.
3) Post the links to your reviews on this event page.
4) Reviews must be posted between October 1st and October 31st. If you have already read the book and have not yet reviewed it, all new reviews are allowed in this contest. Any review written prior to October 1st will not be valid.
5) Invite friends! If a friend submits a review and tells us that you invited them, you win another entry.
6) All winners are drawn by a random number generator, and will be chosen after October 31st.

There will be one grand prize winner, who will receive a hard-copy book. Five other people will win free eBooks from other amazing authors!

And on October 1st and 2nd, both Dead Sea Games books are FREE! Check out Adrift and Exiled over at Amazon. Both versions are free in the UK as well.

To #Free or not to #free – the question with varying answers

Today, author Ashley Fontainne illustrated her experience with a self-publishing option that may sound too good to be true.

free sign

She writes,

I have been asked this question so many times during the last two years that I’ve lost count (math is not my forte). The variable that dictated my response was when the question was posed to me. Confused? I know, so please let me explain…

When Amazon first started the KDP (Kindle Direct Select) program in December of 2011, I was still a fresh faced recruit in the publishing world. My first novel, Accountable to None, hit the virtual shelves April 22, 2011. Since I was a newcomer with no audience yet, sales were slow.

Imagine a turtle crossing the frozen tundra in Alaska during a blizzard–that slow.

(Okay, so I know that’s a turtle in the sand, but I couldn’t find an actual turtle in the snow–use your imagination).

By the time the announcement of this new option from Amazon arrived in my inbox in early December, I believe the tally of total book sales was less than four hundred. I had joined a few author/reader groups on Facebook, started accounts on Twitter, Goodreads and LinkedIn, etc., and generally just stumbled my way around while I watched and tried to learn from more seasoned authors.

So, the day the offer to sign up for the KDP program arrived, I read through the email to learn more about the program. You sign up for 90 days with your book, agree to allow Amazon to be the exclusive online retailer and in exchange, allow your books to be “borrowed” by Amazon subscribers of the Prime program. For each “borrow” you are in the pot for (at the time) a share of $750,000. Plus, you get the chance to list your book for FREE for up to 5 days during each 90-day period of enrollment. Sounded like a great program to me! Unknown authors such as myself would be afforded the opportunity to get their books in front of potentially millions of Kindle users when their book went from “paid” to “free.”

How did Ashely’s work do on the KDP program? Read her post here…

Zombified Release Party!!

My good friend Jean Booth is proudly releasing her eighth book!

Join us on Friday, June 21, for the release of Zombie War: Zombified, the final in the Zombie War Trilogy by Jean Booth!

zombified cover art

Zombie War: Zombified

Supporting her brother during his experimental treatments, Jessica finds herself betrayed by the one person she loves more than anything. Now she’s forced to either give up, or find a way to survive with what he’s done to her. Craving things she never imagined, her body has transformed into a killing machine, bent on consuming the one thing she can’t live without – brains.

After months of killing, Jessica searches for a way to either end her existence or continue on without having to constantly kill others. She hears of a group of survivors and knows this is her chance. Now she’ll either live or die. The choice would be Sarah’s, the leader of this band of survivors.

Wounded from the fighting, infected blood mixing with hers from the slaughter, Sarah finds herself fighting for her life. Will her boyfriend, Matt, help her end it all, or will she become the monster they’ve been fighting against and devour all those she’d come to protect?

While watching Sarah struggle with the infection, Matt wonders, “Could I kill the one I love, to survive?”

On Friday, June 21, there’ll be a crazy fun blog party going on – The Zombified Release Party!  Jean will be hosting on her blog that day and is inviting anyone who’d like to participate, to join.

Here’s all you need to do –

Stop by Jean’s blog on Friday, June 21 and leave a comment – this’ll enter you in the drawing for signed copies of any two of Jean’s books – your choice!

Post a picture on your blog of you dressed up for Halloween and tell us a little about that fun time in your life, link it to Jean’s blog and you’ll be entered into the drawing for signed copies of any three of Jean’s books – your choice!

jean booth book banner

On Friday, June 21 post a review of any of the Zombie War books (Zombie War: The Beginning, Zombie War: Little Apocalypse on the Prairie, or Zombie War: Zombified) or an interview of Jean on your blog and get entered into the grand prize drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card!

the beginning cover art

As a nurse in the genetics department, Sarah witnessed firsthand the mutation of the AIDS vaccine. The affected patients attacked other people, craving the power of the human brain. The vaccine turned viral, spreading quickly. Sarah was among the few survivors of the initial attack, quickly learning how to defend against the undead horde. Would she make it in time to save those she loved? Even if she did, how would they survive in this horrific new world?

laotp cover art

It’s been six months since the vaccine went bad and introduced zombies into the world. Matt and Sarah have gathered all the survivors they could find, protecting and teaching them how to survive in this post-infected world. They’ve arranged for one last raid into town to try and survive through the oncoming winter. Trouble is, no one could truly prepare them for what they encounter once they arrive.

Those remaining on the farm have been trained and organized into a cohesive unit. Would they be strong enough together when it really matters? Would any of them survive the Little Apocalypse on the Prairie?

jean booth bio photo

Jean Booth was born in the sweltering Vegas desert. She moved about during her childhood until returning to her roots in Northern Nevada. She’s happily married with 9 cats as her children. For the entirety of her adult life, she’s worked in healthcare, battling insurances and poor staffing to provide great care to those who need it. Her greatest escapes are the stories found in books and in her head that she’s finally decided to share. She can be found at

Connect with Jean on:





Dead Sea Games

The zombie apocalypse has happened, but society has not yet recovered. In lower Manhattan, survivors have secured sixteen apartment buildings, which they now call the Colony, their sanctuary above the sea of zombies at ground level. Adults, who had their worlds figured out before the Emergency, grapple to reclaim any normalcy. Teenagers never had it figured out in the first place.

Jeremy, known on the street as Deathwish, is a fairly good kid. But even good kids turn desperate when their parents can’t even survive. Fifteen years old with a bad attitude and a reckless streak, Jeremy learns parkour from Master Chueng. He accompanies teams into the abandoned parts of Manhattan to bring back supplies. And though his mother chooses to look the other way, Jeremy plays The Game: fighting zombies in the streets, gladiator-style, as others bet on him.


So far, I’ve read some indie books that aren’t too bad. I’ve read some that I’ve really enjoyed. But none have earned my rave approval like Dead Sea Games. I’m not the only one who loves DSG. On Goodreads, the Dead Sea Games books have rated 4.73 out of 5 stars for Dead Sea Games: Adrift, and 4.70 out of 5 stars for Dead Sea Games: Exiled. Adrift has 4.6 stars on Amazon, and Exiled has 4.7.

In Dead Sea Games: Adrift, Jeremy knows the Colony is a cruel joke. Just existing isn’t enough. But when two of their own go missing on an excursion, Jeremy is determined to bring them home.

Dead Sea Games: Exiled picks up exactly where Adrift leaves off. He doesn’t even have time to heal before he’s accused of murder and runs to save his own life. Facing the Sirens, an all-girl gang, he decides what he’s willing to sacrifice for an even greater cause.


J. Whitworth Hazzard has published these two of his Dead Sea Games quartet. Top secret intel has informed me that he’s currently writing the third book. His established fanbase is already gnashing its teeth in anticipation.

This is big, people. If you’re reading this and you happen to be in the publishing industry, do yourself a favor and look into these books. Mr. Hazzard has caught the fad while it’s big, and has taken it in a completely new direction.

Mr. Hazzard doesn’t try to retell the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse, as nearly every other zombie work has done. This story starts mid-apocalypse, right after the survivors have stopped running. It takes a completely different viewpoint: that of a 15-year-old boy running around with gangs, intent on survival. The reader jumps into the mind of that boy who has been forced to grow up far too fast, seeing the other teens, whom have made some rather mature decisions in the absence of their role models. The action begins at the breakfast table as he hides the day’s plans from his mother, and continues on all the way until…

 Until you’re downloading the next book because you can’t stand it any longer! You have to know what happens next!

I honestly don’t know why these books aren’t more known. Obviously, word hasn’t gotten out about them. They aren’t your average self-published novels. Sure, they’re not for all audiences. Seen through the mindset of a hardened teenager, they have mature language and situations that aren’t appropriate for younger audiences. Mr. Hazzard doesn’t sweeten it for anyone. I can’t imagine many kids in that situation watching their language or acting puritanical around the gang leaders.

The writing is tight. The books avoid two things I hate: deus ex machina, and clichés. Even Master Chueng (first name is Carlos) is half Chinese and half Filipino, skilled in Eskrima and Kali fighting styles. Extra time isn’t spent trying to explain why zombies happened, or what the government is doing about it. That story has already been told again and again. These books aren’t really about the zombies; they use zombies as the backdrop. Mr. Hazzard tells the inner story, from one person within that sea of walking dead.

Right now, each book is only $0.99 on Amazon, and they are worth much more than that. They’re quick reads which will leave you satisfied.

Give it a try. I dare you.


To read more about author J. Whitworth Hazzard, visit his blog Zombie Mechanics

More of Edgar?

Just in case this got lost in the comments section, and you didn’t get a chance to see Paul Ramey’s answer to my question about whether we would be seeing more of Edgar Wilde, here it is again:

tomb 3

“Hello everyone! Just caught Marissa’s great new review of my new novel, and thought I’d swing by to take her up on her invitation to talk a bit about future Edgar Wilde plans!

“Early in the writing stages of this book I was already pretty sure that Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire was going to be the first in a series. So I was very conscious of the need to begin laying a solid groundwork of rich characters and locales that could be further explored and cultivated later on. And I certainly wanted to leave the reader wanting more from these characters, some of whom exist a bit on the periphery in this particular tale. There’s a lot of room for a number of personalities and relationships to develop further, and we’re going to see a lot of that in the next book.

“Now that the dust has settled and the marketing gears for Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire are spinning smoothly, I’m really excited to be able to start mapping out the next story, as well as create some of the next cover’s artwork (I’m a graphic designer by trade, so have really enjoyed designing my own cover art and graphics for the Edgar Wilde series). I have my next title now, and some of the core imagery and mystery are locked in. As a lot of groundwork has now been established, I’ll be interested to see if the writing process for the next book turns out to be smoother and faster than for the first. We shall see!

“Thanks again, Marissa, for featuring me and inviting me to spend a bit of time on your page! I hope everyone enjoys my little New England mystery, Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire!”

Thanks again, Paul, for getting back to us on this!  Now I’m even more excited for future adventures!

Anyone want to join in a challenge?  Step 1: Read Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire.  Step 2: Write a review on your website and Goodreads, and link to it in comments to this post.  Step 3: I’ll choose a prize.  Now I have to go think of a prize!  There will be something.

edgar wilde

Click here to visit Nine Muse Press’ site and more Edgar Wilde information.

Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire

tomb 3

Photos courtesy of

(Excerpt from book:)

“’As you see on that elegant tombstone over there, Margharet Fullman passed away on April 23, 1724.  She was only nineteen when she left this world.’

“The tall figure paused, letting the drama of it take root.  ‘Now you’ll remember,’ he pointed this flashlight back down the path ‘one Hadley Williamson, twenty-three years old, who passed away on the very same day as Margharet.  There is no documentation as of the circumstances of either’s demise.’

“Satisfied murmurs among his tour group let Edgar Wilde know he had them in the palm of his hand.  He loved a captive audience.

“‘Given the date, it could possibly be nothing more than simple, tragic coincidence- yellow fever, perhaps.  However, some have claimed that they were actually found by Margharet’s father- a certain Barnes Fullman- the night before their deaths, caught in a very passionate embrace.  Mr. Fullman was clearly a very important man in this town, yet to this day his existence is denied.  In fact, the name Barnes Fullman isn’t found in any of the official historical documents of this town.  Not even a tombstone to remember him by.’”

tomb 2

A precocious 15-year-old, Edgar Wilde knows he’s considered a freak by classmates, but it doesn’t bother him.  He’s already earning money by giving cemetery tours, and has a deep love of history and old books.  Edgar knows a good mystery when he sees one, and he knows something more exists to the Barnes Fullman legend than anybody in the Historical Society will admit.

edgar wilde

A first novel for both author Paul Ramey and his publisher Nine Muse Press, Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire rolls them, full speed, into the fiction world.  Starting out with fast-paced intrigue, it doesn’t let go of the mystery.  Even at the very end, a little intrigue remains.

I bought this book a few days after it became available to the public, and started it a few weeks later.  Though details of my life interfered with the nonstop reading I would have loved, I still didn’t lose the story for the interruptions.  Narration and setting were succinct enough to plant them in my mind, and characters drew me in.  When I took the book up again, I jumped right back into Edgar Wilde’s world.

The characters are well done.  Edgar is so believable that I laughed out loud when he shied away from Sarah the Barista’s overt flirtation.  He acts like a nerdy 15-year-old boy would act, and Shelby is successfully portrayed as a not-yet-tainted teenage girl.  I can easily imagine Cora and Gertrude clucking like old hens over cups of coffee, and I’d love to have both Felicia and Aubry as aunts.  Corinthian would be a great friend, up until he put me on a rack.

So what’s the basic rundown of this book?

Rating: PG-13.  I sigh whenever I mark a book down because of a scattering of foul language or a short sexual scene.  But as I know many of my friends would want to be warned about even a single curse word, I also know they’re part of a large group of readers.  Though Edgar Wilde is appropriate in every other way for young teens, a bullying character drops a couple of F-bombs early on in the book.  They’re in context; they’re from an antagonist; the character gets chided for uttering them.  But they’re there.

Last year, a friend called me up seeking advice on two documentaries the school wanted to show her 6th grader.  She had to sign a permission form.  One was rated PG, the other PG-13.  I had seen both movies on several occasions, so I knew exactly why the one got the PG-13 label… somebody dropped a single F-bomb.  Children hear it all the time on the playground, repeat it to their friends, and hide it from their moms.  But, as widespread and commonplace as it may be, it still turns many readers away.

Would I recommend this book to my own children, ages 11 and 13?  Yes.  With warnings about the few cuss words.

Credibility rating: 99%.  As a mystery story, some truth has to be stretched.  I loved how Mr. Ramey delved into the superstitions and prejudice of colonial New England for his stories.  It already lends intrigue, and sets up many stories for the possibilities of mass hysteria among a fearful people.  Only one part of this book felt out of place, though.  (Spoiler Alert!)  At the end, where Corinthian took Shelby to the rack, it felt forced.  Edgar followed them down into the chamber, and boom!  She was on the rack.  That fast.  Also, this move seemed out of place for a man who had shown no other hints of sadism during the entire book.  That said… it’s the only part I can argue with.

Satisfaction rating: Yes, please.  From beginning to end, Edgar Wilde read smoothly and satisfied me.  But now I wonder… will we be seeing more of Edgar from Paul Ramey and NMP?

I invite Mr. Ramey to answer that for us, if he has a moment.

Want to read the book?  Here’s the link through Amazon!  If you have another e-reader other than Kindle, buy through Nine Muse Press itself.

If you go through Nine Muse Press’ link, you can download a sample chapter.

And be sure to check out Paul Ramey’s blog.

Next up?  Dead Sea Games: Adrift by J. Whitworth Hazzard

The Seal Island Trilogy


“Selkies?” My husband leaned over my shoulder and peered at the computer screen. “Isn’t that pretty much a were-seal?”

Without turning my head, I nodded to the tone of, “Yes, what’s your point?”


“It works,” I said while trying to read at the same time. “She’s taken the concept and run with it. And it works.”

When I asked my husband to help me read and review books, he said he would do it as long as he didn’t have to read any romance. He likes fantasy, and he enjoys a little romantic resolution at the end. But if the author lists “romance” as the genre, he’s not interested.

I admit to a secret soft spot for romance. It’s a secret because I pretend to be a tough broad, and romance is famous for its sap. I can’t just read any romance, though. I don’t want a boring, contemporary setting. It has to have a fantasy element. It can’t be what everyone else is reading. It can’t be cliché.

What constitutes cliché? Vampires within a love story now count as cliché. Ms. Meyer took that last horse and rode it until it collapsed. Even if someone else wove a fabulous tale with some new gimmick, I’m not interested if vampires fall in love. Quickly becoming cliché are Greek gods, angels, and demons. As soon as a few more authors figure out how to write zombies as sympathetic characters, those join the list.

Common Seal, Glengarriff

What, exactly, is a selkie? In Irish mythology, a selkie is a seal that can shed its skin and walk on land as a human female. She’s powerful, similar to a siren. However, if a human male finds her pelt, she must obey him unless she can reclaim it. I had learned about selkies when I read a book about fairies as a preteen. I’d never seen the concept used in a story. So, when Sophie Moss offered The Selkie Spell as a free download for St. Patrick’s Day, she caught my attention.

Currently, Ms. Moss has two books available in the Seal Island Trilogy: The Selkie Spell and The Selkie Enchantress. Her third, The Selkie Sorceress, is due to release on April 25th. You can learn about these books on her blog.

In The Selkie Spell, American doctor Tara Moore arrives on a little Irish island as she runs from her abusive husband. She meets Dominic O’Sullivan and works in his pub. Events and details unravel about the island’s legend, and Tara has to face her husband in addition to answering the legend.


The Selkie Enchantress starts about three months after the prequel ended, where Caitlin has fallen in love with Dominic’s brother, Liam. When a mysterious woman and her child arrive on the island, trapping Liam in a spell, Caitlin unravels a second legend of which she is a part. After fragments of her past return, Caitlin has more to fight for than just Liam.


Alright, it’s review time.

I enjoyed these. They contained an appropriate amount of sap, for they are romance first and foremost. The sap did not run intolerably sweet, though, and the books avoided many pitfalls for which romance is criticized. First, she did not use a bullying, overbearing and abusive alpha males as protagonists. Both Dominic and Liam are strong and masculine, but they don’t push around their women. They don’t control them or demean them. The controlling men are antagonists, such as Tara’s ex-husband. The “saved by a man” motif isn’t an issue, for the women are the heroes in these books. They do the necessary saving. As far as the heroines’ demeanors, they have goals aside from falling in love. Their relationships do not define their lives, and though Caitlin has a little remorse for some of her actions, they don’t compromise themselves for the sake of their men.

Rating: Grownup. Really, this depends on what level of cursing and sex you consider tolerable. I say these are grownup because many of my friends, grownups included, want a squeaky clean story. Both of these books contain a few F-bombs and a few sex scenes. The cursing is minimal, though, and the sex doesn’t dominate the story. As the author is careful to make the scenes tasteful, she manages to stay a step above most sex scenes in today’s romance novels. Some readers were bothered by the violence in the first book, but I found it appropriate for character development without becoming graphic. So, if you want super soapy clean reading, you’ve been warned. If you’re fine with a few F-bombs and sex scenes, they won’t be an issue.

Credibility rating: Escapist. If you want a serious epic story with earth-shattering denouement, take a moment and read the genre: Irish Fairy Tale/Fantasy Romance. This is a fun read. It’s not going to define your life, and it’s not going to become the next movie blockbuster. Wait… I retract that. I never expected a vampire and a mopey girl to define the next level of teen entertainment, either. So you never know. Anyway… the storyline of The Selkie Spell was a lot more realistic, interweaving the fairytale into a very real problem of domestic violence. The Selkie Enchantress jumped right into fantasy. All antagonists were magical in some way. The main conflict itself existed on paper rather than emulating real life. Is this a problem? Again, read the genre. If you’re looking for a realistic romantic story, you’re in the wrong e-aisle.

Satisfaction rating: Salivating. For the third book. Arrgghh, come on April 25th! Until then, I’ll sample some other worthy indie works to keep me company.


P.S… you can download her books here…
Selkie Spell
Selkie Enchantress

Happy Birthday, Sophie Moss!


I’ve recently become reacquainted with this author. A few weeks ago, I asked on Facebook if anyone had a friend who had self-published exclusively in E-book format, who would be willing to share his/her journey with me. My older sister linked me to Daniel Swensen, who then become a full mentor for my own journey. This man is amazing, so unselfish with his knowledge. I then realized that I had been acquainted with him ten years previously, as he regularly commented on my older sister’s blog. Even better.

Daniel has a work already e-published, a short story called Burn. You can find it on Amazon or on Barnes and Noble (through Smashwords.) Hint… it’s free on Smashwords and $1 on Amazon. Amazing read. Absolutely amazing. If you want a taste of Daniel’s writing talent, search for Burn and read it.

Burn-ebook-220x300<<<<<< Smashwords link for Burn (hint, hint).

Though he has written several full-length novels, Orison is his first for publication. I’m only briefly familiar with Orison. However, when I read today’s blog post on Surly Muse, I decided I WILL BE READING THIS BOOK! His blog post explains why he gender-flipped his protagonist, from a competent white man into a competent brown-skinned woman. Not a sexualized woman who needs rescue… one who can survive on her own merits without sexualization or a need for a hero.

Orison – <<<<<< Surly Muse, Daniel Swenson’s writing blog!

This sums up how he feels about women as protagonists…

“I didn’t like that my only female characters were basically love interests. That’s precisely the kind of thing I don’t like in the fiction I consume, so why was I writing it? I realized my fiction was pulling stunts I occasionally tended to razz other authors for: lingering on the female’s clothes, putting them in situations the male character’s wouldn’t be in, adding sexualized nuances that the male characters didn’t have.

“I’d see stuff like this in other people’s fiction and think, why don’t writers just treat the female characters with the same set of dramatic standards? Why can’t we have a female character who doesn’t have to be captured or rescued by a man, whose life doesn’t center on her romantic interest in a male? How about some damn variety?

“And then it hit me. I could stop griping and just put my money where my mouth was. If I wanted to make a female character who didn’t get marginalized for being female, why not just make my protagonist female?”

And this…

“I don’t for one instant consider Orison to be some sort of Important Feminist Work; it most emphatically is not. It’s just a good fantasy yarn, which happens to have a female protagonist who doesn’t get by on her bare midriff and her sexuality. And if that makes my novel out of the ordinary somehow, well, all I can say is, it shouldn’t. I think it should be both common and unremarkable.”

Here I’m speaking to anyone who likes to see women as more than a set of boobs, who enjoys watching a woman actually take care of business, or is a woman who actually takes care of business!  Check out Daniel’s blog!  If you like what he has to say about why women should be protagonists… because they just should… add the blog to your favorites. Read Burn. Then keep an eye out, so you know when Orison is available.  I know I will.