Monday, August 12, 2019

Review: Parting the Veil by B.K. Bass

This is a novel by B.K. Bass and published by Kyanite Publishing. I had the privilege of being able to read an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this incredible novel. Find out more about this story and where to purchase this story here:

This isn't the first book I've had a chance to read as an ARC by B.K. Bass. I previously reviewed Warriors of Understone and absolutely loved it. I consider myself lucky to be able to read more of his work. Of course, that means I have certain expectations going into reading this novel.

If you read my previous review of his work, you will have noticed that I went on and on about the world-building. While this is an entirely different style of novel with it based in our world instead of one that B.K. wholly created, that doesn't mean a certain amount of world-building isn't required. In fact, you are trying to create your own reality within an existing world can sometimes be harder.

I am happy to report that once again, B.K. delivers on giving you a rich and wonderful world based on our reality. Not to mention delivering some incredible imagery with an exciting, rapid-paced plot.

I will also be honest in saying that this is my first time reading cosmic horror though I am someone who does love my standard horror novels. This is not a book that sets out to scare you like standard horror novels. This is a good thing for me since I am not someone who is easily scared

All right, enough of this. Let me tell you about this book. Right away I was drawn in by the Indiana Jones atmosphere of the first chapter that played beautifully into the genre. Our main characters Richard and Wilkins have a wonderful dynamic that I liked at the beginning and loved by the end of the book.

This book is a thrill ride right from the beginning. The pacing is wonderful, the settings are alive and. from my knowledge, well researched. I enjoyed it immensely. Going to say the story went from this is good to 'I don't want to put it down' by the time we hit the bayou. I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

As the story progressed into Spain there was no denying that I was hooked and though the ending is great, nearly perfect in fact, it leaves you knowing that there will be more to look forward to! If you love adventure, if you have any fondness for cosmic horror at all then this needs to be on your must-read list.

Or as the French would say, cette histoire est incroyable!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Review: Murder in Mind by Majanka Verstraete

This is a novel by Majanka Verstraete and published by Kyanite Publishing.
I received this as an advanced reader copy. So, my version may vary slightly from yours. Find out more about this story and where to purchase this novel here:
If there was a way to tell if someone had criminal tendencies well before they ever committed a crime, would you be okay with locking that person up? If someone is likely to become a criminal, does that mean they WILL become one no matter what?
It's an interesting thought and the central theme in this thought-provoking science fiction novel. There is no hiding the influence of George Orwell's '1984' on this story since the author even quotes the book in a place or two. 

Rey, the protagonist of this novel, is a compelling character and I enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes. Her journey is one that carries you along with a need to know what happened in the past and what will happen when they do find the monster that killed her parents. Her interactions and the relationships that she develops with the other characters in the book are believableespecially the issues between her and her sister. 
I found the worldbuilding done for this novel to be interesting and it made me think hard about the role that technology plays in our lives. As well as ask the question, if AI becomes a real thing, will computers have feelings? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? It's fascinating to ponder on such things.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It drew me in quickly and kept me in the story until the end. The ending only left me wanting for a second book, but the conclusion was believable and satisfying for the story arc in question. 

There was only one small thing that threw me off a bit. I felt there may have been a bit of inconsistency in the story. It was nothing that greatly affects the plot or the enjoyability of the story, but small things that made me stop and go 'hmmm'. Of course, these issues may have been fixed in the published copy because, as I mentioned above, mine was an ARC that specifically stated that it was an uncorrected proof. 
I would highly recommend this book no matter what because the story was wonderful and it did pull me inwhich is what a story is supposed to do.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How I Got Into Dog Showing

Treble at the Pride festival
We all have those hobbies that some people don't peg us for doing. Recently, in a Twitter
discussion about things we writers do other than read and write. I mentioned that one of my hobbies showing dogs. Someone found this an unexpected hobby and asked how I got into that.

Well, that is not an explanation that fits into a tweet.

I never grew up with dogs. We always had cats growing up. Patches. Smokey. Mandarin. This is what I was used to. When I moved out on my own, I didn't have a cat, but my neighbour's cat often crawled into my dingy little basement suite to cuddle with me.

It wasn't until I started working in the pet industry that I even began to spend any time around dogs at all. I worked as a cashier for a big chain pet store, then they offered me the position as a dog trainer so I learned how to do that. Now, at this time my best friend had learned to be a dog groomer. And she is a damned awesome one. This was the beginning of my journey into dogs.

Fast forward a few years. My bestie had introduced me to a local poodle breeder that she had befriended and groomed for. We became friends. One of her dogs fell in love with me. This dog would scream until I came to see her any time I visited. She was a retired show dog and the breeder was looking to get one litter out of her but after that, she wanted to find a forever retirement home for this dog.

Naven on first night with me
Enter Naven. 

She came to live with me as a gift from the breeder. We had so much fun together. We walked all over the city together, we travelled a lot. She was awesome.

We learned together - her to be just someone's pet and me, I learned how to groom a poodle and to own a dog.

Oh, the stories I could tell! However, this isn't about that. At the same time I had her, my best friend got her first poodle to show and the beginning of her kennel.

I'm sure you can guess where this is going, but it's not a direct path. Not exactly.

On September 13, 2014, my best friend whelped her very first litter. In the end, she had two girls that she couldn't decide which to keep for her breeding program. Each girl had some incredible qualities. It wasn't easy.

On December 13, 2014, I drove the 6 hrs to go and visit her. I hadn't met the puppies yet and she was busy at acting rehearsal when I arrived so she asked if I could 'swing by and let the puppies out to pee'. Of course, I did. She also told me the girl with the purple collar might not come near me because she wasn't a fan of strangers.

And purple collared girl saw me and leapt into my arms to kiss my face. The next day, December 14, 2014, my best friend asked if I wanted another dog.

Well, I lived in a tiny apartment in the city and my dog was currently grandfathered in. I said sure, but she also wanted the dog to be shown and finished. So, she would show this dog, finish it and when I was better situated, she would come and live with me.

But the best plans do not always go as planned. 
One of my last pictures of Naven

On January 12, 2015, I came home to find that Naven was very sick. She had been happy and bouncing and playing in the snow that morning. I won't go into the details, but I spent the next couple of days awake, trying everything I could between myself and the vet to figure out what was wrong and get my dog better.

On the morning of January 14, 2015, I dropped her off for another day of IV antibiotics to help with what we all thought was a case of pneumonia. Fifteen minutes after leaving her, she passed away. There was nothing any of us could have done and had we known what was actually wrong when she fell ill on Monday afternoon there still would have been nothing we could have done.

I still get so sad when I think about those few years we had together. My best friend asked if I wanted the puppy to come and live with me early. I said yes. Technically, I already owned my dog, she had filed the paperwork with CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) to make me a co-owner of 'Treble'.

Treble on the truck ride home
On February 18, 2015, Treble came home with me for the first time.

Guys, I'd never had a puppy before. Naven had been my first dog, but she was 5 years old when she came to live with me.

There was a deal in place, this puppy would live with me, but my local breeder friend would help groom it so that the coat would be in show condition and my best friend would get someone to show it. I was not going to have to do the show thing.

I didn't want to do the show dog thing. Nope. Wasn't happening.

Obviously, that is not the way things went. Somehow, I ended up learning to take care of a show coat on a poodle. Let me tell you, that is a LOT of work to do. Poodles have hair, and for showing them, you need a lot of hair. There is a specific way to brush a show coat. There are weekly baths and specific ways to dry them.

Of course, the one thing I did was take her to handling class because someone had to teach this puppy to act like a show dog. I was okay with. It wasn't showing and I was already doing the grooming thing anyway.

Her first show coincided with my trip across the country. Someone else showed her, as was the plan and I enjoyed my vacation.

Treble and me
To be honest, I'm not sure what changed, but I decided I wanted to try to show my dog. I wanted to do this thing with this adorable puppy I had fallen in love with.

Besides we worked well together. I will be honest. My first few shows ended with me bawling in an x-pen with my dog because I thought I was doing her a terrible disservice by being so bad at this showing thing.

Of course, I am also stubborn as fuck. Nothing was stopping me from doing the THING. In this case, the thing was successfully showing my dog to a championship title.

Once I got a hang of it, well I found out that I loved to do this thing with my dog. I got to spend time with her. Grooming, playing, performing. Sometimes we had bad days, and some days we were almost unstoppable.

Our first group placing
We had our first win together. Eventually, at a show in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan we managed to attain our champion title. Treble was now a Canadian Champion with each point earned with a brand new owner-handler on the end of that leash. For those not in the dog show this a huge accomplishment. Especially in a hair breed like poodles where so many of the dogs are handled and shown by professionals.

Not only did we get that champion title, we got by attaining a group 4th placing which is also a very big deal in the dog show world.

Well, I was feeling cocky and having fun. So, I moved her up in the classes and decided to go for a Grand Champion title.

And guys, we did that too. 


I was hooked. There was no denying that. After that we went on to try things like rally-o, chase ability, barn hunting. The possibilities were endless and slightly constrained by time and money. We even became a dog therapy team certified to work with both adults and children.

Our first breed win
Today, I am officially an extension of LaBelle Standard Poodles. 

Next year, my girl will be bred and I will be whelping that litter on my best friend's kennel name. I didn't want to be a breeder, but it happened. I am passionate about responsible and ethical breeding. I am passionate about my dogs.

Last year, I brought a rescue Australian Shepherd into my home. She may be an Aussie x border collie. No way of knowing, but she looks like an Aussie. I am hoping to bring her to a point in her recovery where she can be an obedience prospect for me.

When we breed my girl Treble next year, I will be keeping a puppy from that litter and I will be starting this journey all over again with her.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Treble and Nahni

(and of course, through a lot of this, I still have a cat lol. She rules the house over the dogs)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Review: The Darkness Returns by Michael D. Nadeau

This is a novel by Michael D. Nadeau and published by Kyanite Publishing.
Once again, I received this as an advanced reader copy. So, my version may vary slightly from yours. Find out more about this story and where to purchase this novel here:

I will be honest with you. I am a latecomer to high fantasy and epic fantasy stories. I talked in a previous review about how my dad shoved a science fiction novel in my hands as a teenager that he knew I would love and I was hooked on that genre from that day on. Surprisingly, high fantasy and epic fantasy came to me even later in life. What was I reading before that? Well, that's a tale for another time.

I start off saying this because I want you to understand where I am coming from when I write a review of certain things. I am also going to be bluntly honest, I loved this book. It is an incredible tale with a fascinating cast of characters. It doesn't disappoint in that regard.

One thing that took me a bit to get used to was thread jumping. And by this I mean, that Michael takes the time to pull at each individual thread of this tale, jumping from one to the next before finally showing you how it all ties together. I know for some people, this is not a style they enjoy, but I can assure that it is well worth it in this case because he doesn't leave you waiting for future books in this series to find out how the threads of each tale may tangle together.

Although there were times I wish I could get to know the characters of one thread before he moved on to the next, it did not detract from my overall enjoyment of this story. As the story progresses in this first book of an epic fantasy series, a rhythm develops that becomes much easier to follow and as the threads of each tale move closer together, it becomes easier to lose yourself in this story.

And what a story it is.

The characters are dynamic and wonderful, his creativity in building this world is a treat to the imagination. I adore these characters and I do want to see them succeed... well, most of them anyway. I mean, I'm not cheering for the bad guy here (although, I kinda like him too). There is so much to love and I look forward to seeing how everything unravels in the next book.

This is a series that you will fall in love with. You are not left unsatisfied at the end of the first book, as many series can do, but there are still hints at a mystery bigger than this single book, and those unanswered questions keep you wanting to know more, to dig deeper. And as much as I would love to pester the author about a few things that I want to know the answer to NOW, I have a feeling those questions will be answered if I just wait for the next books.

I would highly recommend checking it out if you enjoy any type of fantasy. It's well worth the read.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Into the Twitter-verse: A Writer’s Guide

Twitter is a wonderful tool for writers—if you know how to use it correctly. When I first started using Twitter, I had no idea about the writing community. A lot of the time I was simply shouting into the void. It wasn’t until I was already an author and reading about marketing platforms that I took a second look at Twitter and revived my old account.
It took me a bit to get the hang of Twitter. Once I did that, I started discovering the wonderful writers’ community that lives within the Twitter-verse. Writers supporting and encouraging each other. Well, ideally, that’s what it is. Every basket has a few bad apples that can ruin things.
There are many things I’ve learned over the past while about being a writer on Twitter—from behaviours that make people unfollow some right quick to things that will help to boost your follow count.
I figured, there are a lot of writers that are just coming into Twitter or have been struggling to make heads or tails of it all. So, I compiled a brief list of the things I’ve learned about using the basics of using Twitter as a writer or author.

Interaction is Key
A lot of people will only follow those that interact with them. Let’s be honest, no one wants to follow someone who does nothing but shout into the void. It’s only entertaining if you’re funnier than fuck. However, even this can get boring if no one ever gets a real sense of who you are.
Now, I know a lot of us writer types are introverts. It can be hard to interact with people you don’t know yet. Believe me when I say, so long as you aren’t being negative or judgemental, people will welcome your conversation. Seriously, it’s not that scary. I promise.
So, talk to people, respond to tweets, and have some damned fun out there. Be the kind of person that you would want to follow.

Be Yourself—Positively
Speaking of interaction, I should also put this out there. As an author, you will become a public figure. That means you do need to start conducting yourself in a professional manner when in a public space if you plan on publishing one day. Part of this means not being excessively negative.
It’s okay to have a bad day and say, ‘Man, today bit the big one and I could use some positivity’. When I say, don’t be negative I mean, don’t bemoan how no one is interacting with you or spending your time focussing only on the negative things in your life.
Don’t stop being yourself but try to bring as much positivity as you can in your interactions. No one would ever expect you to be “on” 100% of the time. That’s a ridiculous expectation but do try to be as positive as you can be when you can be.
Think about it this way, do you want to always be interacting with someone who is consistently negative about everything around them?

Author Persona
This brings us to a short note on your author persona. It never hurts to develop your online persona as an author, but there are a few key things you need to keep in mind. First of all, if you are going to develop a persona, make sure it’s one that you can keep up with in person as well. With luck and hard work, there will be book signings and events in your future. People are going to meet you in the real world and that persona you’ve developed needs to translate well to these events.
For example, if you’re writing for children it might not be a good idea to cultivate a dark persona online since that isn’t going to present well to your readers. Keep that in mind as you move forward with your interactions.

Beyond the Notifications Tab
Once you do start interacting something interesting will happen. You are going to spend a lot more time staring at your notifications tab than your home tab. Mostly because you will want to keep up with the notifications of responses and likes of things you’ve tweeted or responded to. It could take a bit to get here but once you are, there are a few tips that might be able to help you.
First, likes are great, but you don’t need to see every notification about who liked what. Use the mentions tab to only see responses and mentions. Those are the ones that may require a response because, as I said above, interaction is one of the keys to being successful on Twitter. The second tip is to NOT spend all your time reading your notifications tab.
You will eventually reach a point where it feels like it’s the only thing you’re looking at. This is wonderful if you only ever want to interact with the same people. If you want to grow your followers and meet new people, you need to spend more time on your home tab. The home tab is where you end up finding new people to interact with and new things to respond to.
Even when those notifications seem overwhelming, do try to interact with more people than only the ones that respond to you. That is how you get to know new people, and if followers are important, it’s also how new people find you and vice-versa.

Speaking of following and followers we should probably talk about the sometimes controversial subject of the “follow-back”. There are a few schools of thoughts on writer twitter when it comes to following back the people who follow you. Some people will indiscriminately follow-back anyone who follows them. Some follow-back anyone who doesn’t look like a bot. Some, myself included, only follow back those who they have positive interactions with or have a profile that catches their interest.
Of course, there are those people who follow back almost no one. Don’t be one of those people.
How you choose to follow people is up to you. Don’t let people tell you that you’re doing it wrong because you don’t follow back everyone who follows you. However, one thing you should avoid doing is following someone and then unfollowing them after they’ve followed you. Not cool, dude. Not cool. It makes it look like you’re only trying to get followers and not actually be a part of the community.

Tag It
Hashtags are fun. There are a lot of fun hashtag games and what not for writers as well as general hashtags that a lot of writers use. If you really want to get involved in the writing community on Twitter you may notice a few interesting tags for that. Not all of them say #WritersCommunity. I am sad to report that there are a number of variations on this tag.
However, the point of this little bit isn’t to give you a full list of hashtags writers use, but to remind you to use them, look at them, search them on occasion. You never know what you might find of interest under certain hashtags. There are a ton of lists out there about hashtags for writers. I can tell you the ones I use most are the #writerslife and #WritingCommunity for many general posts where I am looking for interaction.
When I am talking about writing I will use genre hashtags (eg #ScienceFiction, #Fantasy, #horror). I will also use #amwriting, #amediting if I am talking about those activities in particular as well. There are many more out there and don’t be afraid to ask about hashtags when you see them, most people will be nice enough to tell you what they are all about

Marketing Do’s and Don’ts
Of course, if you are a published author, one of the things you are going to want to do is market your work. There are many ways to do this, but here are a few things to think about that will be likely to make your marketing attempts go a bit more smoothly (as in you are less likely to piss people off).
Auto DM’s are a definite no for many people. No one wants to follow someone and then suddenly get some direct message from this stranger trying to advertise their book. Automatic direct messages are generally frowned upon. A lot of people don’t even like receiving an unsolicited direct message period, let alone one plugging a book or service.
Something you should do is make sure that you do more than plug your book. As with the first point, interaction is key. People want to follow and talk to someone that they can relate to. If all you do is retweet things, or advertise your book, then there is a good chance that a lot of people won’t want to follow you. A good rule of thumb to follow is the 80/20 or 70/30 rule. That smaller percentage should be marketing and the rest should be more general, fun or whatever tweets that aren’t marketing your book or service.
And when you are marketing, do use those hashtags. It’ll give your book or service a bit more of a boost.
Mostly, the best thing you can do to boost your book on Twitter is to interact and be yourself. Play some the hashtag games, share snippets of your writing and have fun. People want to follow people, not advertisers.

Some Useful Tools to Know
Sometimes Twitter can be a bit overwhelming. You get tagged in something and so many people reply to it and you keep getting these notifications. Or you followed a writer that you like, but they occasionally retweet things that you’d rather not see. Often people will go straight for the block button to stop these things from happening, but there are other things you can do.
You can mute people. Muting means you still follow them, but you don’t see their posts in your timeline. You can turn off retweets for specific people by going to their profile and looking at your options there. You can mute certain words or hashtags or even certain kinds of accounts (like ones that were just created). Or even mute a conversation that has nothing to do with you anymore when it comes up in your notifications (which will be in what is currently the dropdown tab in the top right when in the notifications tab).  
Use these filters and whatnot. Blocking people should only be done for someone that you really do not want to see and that you don’t want to be able to see you. Explore your settings for most of the muting and blocking of things.
Save your sanity and do what is right for you when it comes to these things.

Hopefully, some of what I’ve written here helps you better navigate Twitter as a writer. And please, of course, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I’m @canuckclick!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Critical Critique Conduct: Handling Feedback like a Pro

I'm going to be honest with all of you about something. Though I have multiple books under my belt, most of them self-published, some work in anthologies and my upcoming novel through traditional publishing which I will unashamedly plug: Feathers and Fae from Kyanite Publishing (currently available for preorder direct from the publisher), I often feel like a rank amateur compared to many other authors. It may seem like a lot to some, but to me, it seems like so little compared to the years I have spent writing novels.

On the other side of the equation, is the professionals I have dealt with who are the reason I am writing this blog post. More than once it has been commented that I conduct myself so well I could write a post on how an author should act in the face of critiques, reviews and editing feedback.

After much thought on the subject, I figured it couldn't hurt to lay out a few basic guidelines for authors who may occasionally struggle with how to behave when faced with these situations. I am not saying you need to do this to be successful as an author, but it might help because this is an industry where people talk to each other and how you treated one editor or reviewer or publisher will eventually get passed on to other people.

1 - Don't Be A Jerkface
Insults, rudeness, basically any sort of behaviour that you would be offended at if someone acted that way to you - don't do it. Simple enough, but a lot of us look at our work as if it were our baby. In many ways, it is a part of the writer who created it and when someone says something about our work, many writers take it personally.

It's usually not personal. No one is "tearing apart your baby" or saying that "you suck" (unless they literally said those words). Don't read into things and get defensive and angry. Like with many things in life, the cardinal rule applies. If you cannot say anything kind, don't say anything at all. Not everything requires a comment. 

Being a professional often means you have to shut your mouth when you would rather not so you can consider your response in a calm manner.
 2 - Most Book Reviewers Do It For Free
A lot of book reviewers out there aren't paid. They review books because they love to read and they know that writers need reviews to help sell books. They are often buying these books on their own dime. They aren't getting perks and bonuses and the number of times I've heard of reviewers being threatened, insulted and treated like dirt because an author took offense at the review is horrifying.

If you can't handle a negative review, then you should not be reading reviews. Period. End of discussion. If you are publishing books and stories, bad reviews are going to happen. It is an inevitable fact that every published author needs to deal with.

There are only two good ways to respond to a bad review:

  1. Do not respond at all. Don't comment, don't send nasty emails and messages to the reviewer, don't go telling the world how they are a horrible reviewer. If they are a really bad book reviewer, word will get around anyway. This goes right back to not responding emotionally and not being a jerkface as outlined in point one.
  2. Calmly contact the reviewer to clarify their review to you. Once again, the don't be a jerkface guideline applies. Really the email should be nothing more than a 'Thank you for taking the time to review my book. I was wondering why you said X or why you only gave me an X star review so that I can improve on this in future work."
And while we are on the topic of book reviewers, for those who accept an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) to review, they are not a low budget editor. Do not send them an ARC if it is not ready to be read and reviewed by someone. Changing a book based on reviews is not a very professional action and that's not what reviewers are for. You are wasting their time and effort by doing this... and possibly making a bad name for yourself in the industry by doing so.
3 - Your Story Is Not Your Precious Baby
Some may find this advice controversial, but when working with beta readers, editors or
reviewers it helps if you let go of the idea that this work is your precious baby. Once you release it into the hands of another so that they may look at it critically, your story has officially become an adult. Let it grow up to be the wonderful story it was meant to be.

There are a few people out there that I know of who don't use beta readers, they believe that this "story baby" they birthed is beautiful and perfect as it is. I believe those people are probably doing their work a great disservice.

As a writer, we can try our hardest to edit and refine our own words, but sometimes you need that outside perspective to see things that you may be blind to. I'd like to believe that I am a half-decent editor of my own work, but I still have my work gone through more than one set of eyes before sending it out into the world. After which it often has one or more editors going over it before the public gets to see it.

Don't clutch your story to your chest screaming "But it's my BABY!". Not only will editors and other professionals consider you hard to work with, they may also consider not working with you again. Speaking of which...
4 - Editors Are Friends NOT Foes
All any decent editor wants to do is make your work and your voice shine for the audience. They are not tearing your baby apart because, if you remember guideline number 3, it's not your baby. It's a grown-ass adult now and you need to let go a little. This is a time for critical and careful thought.

If you hired an editor, then it's your money and feel free to ignore everything they suggest, but then why are you spending that money? Seriously, why?

You are not required to like or even agree with all suggestions and changes. However, compromise is a part of this industry when you ask for professional feedback. If your editor is through your publisher, then you signed a contract that makes that story partially theirs because they are now investing time and money into your work. They only want to see it succeed.

Some people may think that some of these changes are too much compromise and will fight over every single suggested change, but this makes it hard and exhausting on that editor. It may make the publisher consider not accepting stories from that author in the future. Not everyone will like to read this, but this is a business. Treat it that way.

The attitude of "I must preserve the integrity of my work at all costs!" is fine up until the point where you need to work with others so that people can see your vision as well. Commercialism, to a point, is a part of this and if you're not willing to make some compromises, then perhaps traditional routes are not suitable to your goals.
  5 - Stop, Drop, and Walk
If you're reacting emotionally to a critique, suggested edit or feedback of your work then you need to 'Stop, Drop, and Walk'. Stop whatever you are about say or type from leaving your lips or fingertips, Drop everything and Walk away. Hell, go outside and take a nice long walk to cool down.

I hate to harp on this, but writing and publishing is a business and writers need to conduct themselves as professionals. That doesn't mean don't be you. Hell, I'm pretty sure my editor and publisher know I can have a tendency to swear like a trucker, but when it comes to my story and my work I try to retain a level of professionalism so while my tone may sometimes be casual, my attitude is one of considered respect.

If I get a review that has me upset, and it's happened, I count to 10, take a deep breath and then evaluate why it upsets me. Usually it's because I took it personally instead of how it was intended - as a singular point of view from one person of my WORK, not of me.
Basically, you can sum all this up into the first guideline, but it never hurts to be specific and to expand on the reasons behind things so that we can all come to a clearer understanding.

I mean, we're writers, if we can't rephrase our words into something kinder and more professional then perhaps we need these editors more than we think?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Review: River by Ryen Lesli

This is a novel by Ryen Lesli and published by Kyanite Publishing.

Once again, this is a novel that I received as an advanced reader copy. So, my version may vary slightly from yours. I also want to preface this review by mentioning that this is one of the two books chosen for the July Kyanite Book Club. I seriously recommend checking it out!

River is the fantasy pick and you can read about the science fiction pick, Citizen of Earth, here.
Find out more about this story and where to purchase this novel here:

Now, on with the review. Or if I want to stay true to the book I am reviewing, on with the fucking review.

From that, you may come to the conclusion that this young adult fantasy contains some swearing--and you would be right. It does, because if we're being honest. Most teenagers swear. Some of them swear a lot. Even though I often write for adults, I can be honest in saying that there is not a lot of swearing in most of my books. No reason, I just don't. However, I have nothing against swearing when not used gratuitously in novels. Ryen uses the swearing effectively and appropriately for the characters and the situations.

I really found myself drawn into River's world. Both the human world and the hidden world that Ryen created for this story. It does that job of making you honestly believe that the fantastical can be living right next door and we might not know it. I was impressed with the depth of history, culture and mythology that she worked into this fantastical world. It's those little details that can really bring a story home for a reader - and they certainly enthralled me. 

When it comes to the characters that you encounter in this story you will not be disappointed. Each one is well developed and distinct. I love her characters. Some of them I even love to hate them, but not one of them seems underdeveloped and there are no instances where I feel like they are out of character at any point. River is exactly the kind of girl who ran my internal dialogue as a teenager. As a teenager or an adult, I think we can all relate to her.

Overall, this is an incredible story. I loved every moment of it and, had I more time to read, I would have probably consumed it in a single sitting. Which actually brings me to one small point. If you have very limited reading time like I do, be prepared that a few chapters run a little on the longer side. Not all of them, just a few...and I found myself cursing more than River as I tried to get to the end of a longer chapter one morning before I had to leave for work.

One last note to those agents and publishers who missed out on this novel, as detailed by Ryen in her acknowledgements, you REALLY fucking missed out. Seriously, get with the times.