Book Reviews

Fledgling by Natasha S. Brown

Image result for fledgling natasha brown

Fledgling was an enjoyable read. I liked Brown’s take on the shapeshifting world. Wait a minute. Shapeshifting world, you mean werewolves? No, not werewolves and that’s exactly why I liked her story: it was not what I was expecting.

The main character, Ana, was sweet and brave despite the difficult situation she was dealing with. Brown did a wonderful job making Ana’s feelings about her health realistic. The protagonist, like any other teenager, wanted to be normal and to fit in with the other students. Chase, on the other hand, was okay. I didn’t find that there was tons of depth in his character. And the relationship… It started way, way too fast. It felt like in a week they were dating. Yeah, it happens sometimes, but for me, it would have been a little more realistic if the beginning stages were drawn out a bit longer.

As far as the writing goes… The way Brown described the settings was beautiful and detailed (although not overwhelmingly so) and made me feel as if I was in that place. I did find, though, that the first two chapters were written very neatly and elegantly, but that this articulation was lost a little in the remainder of the book.     

Another thing I enjoyed, was that it was a clean read. There wasn’t any swearing and although there were a few kisses, the couple didn’t sleep together.

Lastly, and this is a rather large elephant in the room. Ready? Maybe you want to cover your ears. Twilight. I’m not going to hate on the author about this because she did have some really cool original ideas. However, I was reminded often of Twilight. And I will leave it at that.

Altogether, this was a nice read and I recommend it to those who like ya paranormal romance.  

Tags

The 10 Question Self-publishing Tag

Happy Monday! Self-publishing was a long journey for me and I thought I would share some of it with you guys through this tag. Hope you enjoy. 🙂

1. What is the title of your debut novel?

Ashes of Glass

Ashes of Glass. It’s a retelling of Cinderella with a few twists.

2. Why did you choose self-publishing?

I think it chose me. I sent queries to a number few agents and heard back from one of them, “While your work has merit, it is not quite a fit for us. With respect and regret, we must decline.” After a while, I wasn’t sure where to go. Do I keep sending out queries? Do I just leave this novel and start writing a new one. During the summer I worked at a u-pick berry farm and met a woman who was a self-published author. She told me about CreateSpace and the royalties a self-published author receives. Prior to this, I didn’t know much about self-publishing so that day I went home and looked into CreateSpace. I was hooked right then and there. I was going to publish my book! Before I did, though, I edited ferociously and laid the foundations so I could begin building a social platform.  Finally in January 2018, I felt it was ready and hit the publish button!

3. What’s your favorite thing about being an indie author?

I can do pretty much whatever I want! I made the cover myself, I designed the inside, I added and removed scenes. But this can also be a pitfall since as the author, it’s sometimes like I’m wearing blinders. Whether the cause is stubbornness or pure ignorance, problems sometimes arise from my desire to be independent.   

4. What’s the hardest thing about being an indie author?

Building a platform and getting reviews. You obviously want people to read your book. That’s why you published it, right? I needed to get myself out there, make a twitter account, get a blog going, review books, join goodreads groups etc. But at the same time, I had to be careful not to spread myself too thin. I couldn’t do everything.   

5. Looking back is there something you would do differently?

Umm maybe get an editor. I would definitely have tried to find some beta readers. Like I said, I love being independent with this all, but it’s really hard. It’s amazing how often I missed things and when I did eventually notice, I was like, “How did I let this happen?”

Image result for how did this happen gif

6. How important is social media (blog, twitter, goodreads)?

Sooo important! I mentioned this already, but you need a social platform, you need to get yourself out there.

7. Did you hire an editor?

No, I didn’t. Maybe I should have, but it’s quite expensive and if I’m careful, I can probably catch the grammatical errors myself. I will be looking for beta readers for my next book, though. (So if you’re interested… 😉 I’ll hopefully be posting something within the next three months.)  

8. What’s your personal editing process?

First draft I just write, no regrets. Second draft and maybe third draft I read through the manuscript and fish out as many hiccups – grammar, plot, characters etc. Then I use the search on microsoft office to look for words that I shouldn’t use; for example, after, before, when, like, suddenly, slightly, hopefully, really, very, stand, turn, etc. My list is pretty long because I’m picky about it and you should be too. It’s a super important step and helps to clean up your writing. Another thing I do with my manuscript, is put it through a text to audio converter and then listen to it. This is a tedious task, but well worth the effort since it especially reveals awkwardly worded sentences and typos. After this, I print the manuscript and go through it with a red pen. This also is a lot of work, but everything looks different when you see it on real paper. Finally, I design the interior and do all the formatting and hopefully by then, it’s ready to go. 🙂   

9. Will you self-publish your next book?Related image

Yes, definitely. Self-publishing was a lot of work, but it was worth it. Right now I’m about 75% done the 2nd draft and things are already falling into place. (Does that mean I’m getting better or that I’m missing a lot???)  

10. What’s your advice to people who want to self-publish?

Start a blog and review as many books as you can. When you’re in the reviewer mindset, you notice the imperfections and if you’re smart, you’ll learn from them. Reviews on your blog will also get you noticed by other readers interested in the same genres. So when you publish, they’ll be like, “Oh hey, this person likes the same books I do. I should give their book a try.”

Are you veering towards self-publishing? How would you answer these questions?

If you have any other questions for me or want some advice, feel free to comment or shoot me an email. Here is the link to my Contact Page.  

Glossary

Beta Reader: A test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing (similar to beta testing in software), giving feedback with the angle of an average reader to the author about remaining issues. A beta-reader is a non-professional reader, so that an uncolored opinion of an average reader can be obtained. Usually, a beta reader will be unpaid. The feedback is used by the writer to iron out remaining overall issues with plot, pacing, and consistency. The beta read also serves as a target audience test to see whether the book has the intended emotional impact and feel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_reader

Self-publishing: The publication of any book, album, or other media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher.

CreateSpace: Through our services, you can sell books, CDs, and DVDs for a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing, while maintaining more control over your materials. We make it simple to distribute your books, music, and video through Internet retail outlets, your own website, and other bookstores, retailers, libraries, and academic institutions. https://www.createspace.com/AboutUs.jsp

 

Book Reviews

Crystal Magic by Madeline Freeman

Image result for crystal magic book

I’m going to skip right to the end… What just happened? Like how could Freeman just leave us hanging like that?!?

Image result for what just happened gif

Deep breath.

Okay, let’s try this again. This book was a fun, pretty chill read. The main character was sweet and kind and definitely level-headed. Even when the “mean girl and her posse,” tempted Kristyl with magic, she didn’t dive in head first. One of my favorites, though, was Jodi. She was awesome!

Moving on, the writing was okay. It was nice, but didn’t wow me. Also, the story was a little slow at times; although, I don’t think the author intended it to be an action novel. And just one more note about the ending… What a crazy twist! I did not see it coming and now I kinda want to read the next book…!  

Lastly, this was a relatively clean read. One girl gets called a bad name, but that’s pretty much it. Altogether, I recommend this book to lovers of urban-fantasy and young-adult.

Book #2:

Image result for wild magic madeline freeman   

 

my writing, Ramblings

Thank You Thank You

I would just like to quickly send out a huge a THANK YOU to all those who have read and reviewed by book “Ashes of Glass.”

cat, cute, followers, funny, i, kawaii, lol, love, pics, picture, pusheen, thank, thankyou, you, ♥, everydayiscute

Your words mean a lot, not just because it helps get my book out there, but also because feedback will help me in my future writing projects. It was kinda scary to put my work out there for the first time. I spent months writing and editing “Ashes of Glass” and when I hit “publish book,” there was a big part of me that was worried people would hate it. Despite this, my reviewers have been super gracious and have said many wonderful things. Here are a few highlights 🙂 

Reviews

 

Thank you again! And also, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the strength God has given me. Praise be His name. Soli Deo Gloria.    

E.J. Hill

my writing, Tags, Uncategorized

Author Tag: 10 Questions

Tags are super fun and I stumbled across an author tag so I thought I would give it a go. I did not come up with the tag, it’s from a blog called Fantasy, Mash-Ups, and Mayhem.

I hope you enjoy!

1) WHAT IS THE WORKING TITLE OF YOUR BOOK?

Ashes of Glass

Ashes of Glass Cover.jpg

2) WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM FOR YOUR BOOK?

I LOVE Cinderella! It’s one of my favorite fairy tales so when I finally decided that I was going to try my hand at writing an entire novel, I chose to do a retelling of Cinderella. Since then it’s sort of evolved into Cinderella-with-some-major-twists, but hey, the seed was Cinderella.

3) WHAT GENRE DOES YOUR BOOK FALL UNDER?

Inspirational romance or Christian romance works too.

4) WHICH ACTORS WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO PLAY IN YOUR MOVIE RENDITION?

Hmm… Probable Emilie de Ravin as Arella and Henry Cavill as Prince Friederic.

    

What do you think???

5) WHAT IS THE ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS OF YOUR BOOK?

:O hmm.

Arella is a penniless servant and Friederic is a prince destined to marry a foreign princess, but their lives become intertwined and they find themselves fighting the disapproval of the nobles, mysterious debts, murder, and a cruel lord willing to do anything in his quest for power.

Haha sorry… That’s a long sentence.

6) WILL YOUR BOOK BE SELF-PUBLISHED OR REPRESENTED BY AN AGENCY?

Self-published. Yep, I took a leap of faith and went solo. Crazy right?

7) HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT?

I think around 8 months. At first, I wrote a lot, but then I went through a little dry period. When I picked it up again, I started writing an average of 1,000-2,000 words per day so that made things gallop along at a nice pace.

8) WHAT OTHER BOOKS WOULD YOU COMPARE THIS STORY TO?

“Captive Maiden” by Melanie Dickerson or “Cinderella and the Colonel” by KM Shea.

9) WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THE BOOK?

My love for stories and writing. I simply enjoy creating stories and I wanted to be able to share one in its entirety.

10) WHAT ELSE ABOUT YOUR BOOK MIGHT PIQUE THE READER’S INTEREST?

Overall, it has a handful of alterations from the traditional Cinderella retelling. However, it is also a clean read. I don’t really agree with profanity or inappropriateness in books so my writing obviously doesn’t contain it – people can read it without having to cringe at certain parts.

 

Are you an author? What would you answer to these questions? Or do you have any questions about my book or myself? I’d be more than happy to answer them. 😀

Also…. find out more about my book here, or oooor read the PROLOGUE.

It’s on Amazon too!!!

Thanks for reading!

my writing, Ramblings

My Little Letter to the Readers

This little letter appears at the beginning of my book and I put it there because I really felt I needed to explain a little and also warn people that it’s not a perfect book – it was my first try so I am sure there are lots of mistakes hiding in the shadows between the front and back cover. But you know, a lot of it comes down to me simply holding a physical copy of my book because that is a dream come true!

 

Dear Readers,

I know few people rarely read these little blurbs from the author (I don’t usually), but I thought that I could not leave it out, there are some things I feel as if I need to say.

First off, thank you for picking up my book, it’s an honor to have ensnared your interest. I hope you like my story. When I began writing it at the end of high school, I only knew that I wanted to write a novel in its entirety, not just the first half. Since then, I have learned many things, how to commit to writing the end, how to cut mercilessly, how to create a cover, how to format a book, and the list could go on. Now with all that said, other than me, no one has read or edited this novel so yes, there are going to be flaws. There will probably be more mistakes than I even care to admit, but hey, I got it done, I published it all by myself. So alongside a cup of embarrassment, there will be a delicious chocolate chip cookie of pride.

I hope my faults do not ruin the story for you, I truly hope you enjoy it.

God bless you,

Emma Hill

 

If you’re interested, you can read the prologue here for free and if you think maybe, possibly, there’s a slight chance you’d like to read the rest of the book…. you can find it on Amazon.com as a paperback or e-book.

 

my writing

Ashes of Glass Prologue

Happy New Year everyone!

My book is finally finished and now it’s just a matter of working with CreateSpace to get it published! But because I’m impatient and can’t wait that long though… I thought I would post the Prologue.

Ashes of Glass Cover.jpg

Prologue

I remember the day my mother died like a distant painting. The outlines, the colors, the solid facts are visible, but the details are obscured by the smoky haze of grief.

I remember her pale cheeks and the way her blue eyes appeared to have clouds covering their crystal skies. Occasionally they would fix themselves upon me and her parched lips would form my name, “Arella.”

Then just as swiftly, her mind seemed to travel to a different place, tearing her gaze away from my face. It was during these episodes that she mumbled about the little fairies from the stories she used to tell me. I heard the maids whisper about their mistress’s madness, but Father and I just held her hands, nodded our heads, and hung on to every word, knowing that it could very well be her last.

The rest is a blur. I think at some point in that long, cold night I fell asleep because I remember the warmth of Father’s arms waking me and his gentle voice whispering words of comfort. After that, I lived in a bubble with only Father as a companion. People came and went, but their words fell on deaf ears. I knew they meant well, so I managed small smiles and warm thank-yous till the flow of sympathizer’s ceased and daily life began a new normal for my merchant father and me.

In time, the pain reduced to a dull ache and Father found himself lonely. He loved me, I had no doubt of that, but he felt heavily the absence of a woman’s presence in our home. Finally on a sunny day, while we were having tea outside on the veranda, he breached the subject.

“Ella,” he said, nervously fingering his china teacup. “It has been some time since your mother’s death and I think maybe… Well, what I mean is… You are growing from a girl into a young lady and it is at this stage in your life that I think you need a mother most. So…”

“So?” I urged him on with an encouraging smile.

“So I have asked Lady Madonna Durante to marry me.”

His declaration took me by surprise, but for his sake, I tried to show some joy. Leaning forward, I grasped his hands in mine and said, “Father, if this is what makes you happy, then you don’t have to be ashamed or afraid to tell me. I am happy if you are.”

“Thank you. And Ella, I have only your best interests at heart.”

“I know, Father. When is she coming?”

“Within a fortnight.”

And that is how Lady Durante and her two daughters, Marielle and Josette, were added to our family. But were they family? Lady Durante always seemed to be occupied with the next party she was planning and Marielle and Josette only had minds for dresses and money. It was a busy life that which we had in those days, but it is hard to say if we were truly happy. Because we had so little time to find happiness.

 

I remember the day my father died like it was yesterday. He had gone to look after a shipment of goods that he was selling to an old merchant friend. It was not a dangerous journey, nor a long one, but somewhere along the way, his heart failed. He was dead before help could reach him.

When Father’s valet arrived with the news, I stood motionless on the pebble drive, stunned. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the sky was clear, but I didn’t notice. It could have been pouring rain and I still would have stood there, frozen in shock. The valet seemed rather lost for words, wondering if he should go or stay. I was about to send him to the kitchen when Stepmother appeared in the doorway. Upon hearing the news, she did not freeze as I had done, but fell in a heap of rustling skirts to the ground, all the while bemoaning her fate.

“We are ruined. Ruined,” she wailed, burying her face in her hands. I felt sorry for her and I wanted to comfort her, but there was nothing to say. She was right.

After that day, my life changed. First, the servants were dismissed because in the times to come we would not have enough income to support a full household. I said goodbye to them with a heavy heart – they had known my parents well, they could share memories of them with me. But they left and I was alone in my grief.

It was at this point that Stepmother began to ignore the fact that I was what most would call family. It started with her commenting on how Marielle and Josette had shared a room since they were little and needed some time away from each other. We had multiple guest rooms that either of the girls could have moved into, but many times I had entertained the idea of sharing a room with a sister. I thought that maybe if we got to know each other, we could become better friends. So I suggested it saying, “One of them could sleep in my room.”

Before I was able to say another word Lady Durante exclaimed, “Yes, Ella. It is a wonder I didn’t think of it myself. Marielle will stay in your room.”

I began to offer to rearrange my room to accommodate Marielle, “I’ll…”

“You will sleep in one of the servant’s rooms. If you start now, you can have Marielle’s things moved in by tonight.”

“What about my things?”

“Never mind your things. Go help Marielle,” she dismissed me with a wave of her hand and from then on my life was not my own. Every waking hour was filled with obeying the whims of Stepmother. Stepmother? Eventually, I did not even call her stepmother, just Lady Durante or Madame. I became their servant, but I could not leave. It was my home and it was all I had left of my parents. Besides, Lady Durante was my legal guardian; therefore, even if I tried to leave she could petition the king for soldiers to bring me back.

So although my hands blistered and my muscles ached, I did the work. It was a distraction from my grief and kept me from feeling sorry for myself. I suppose it wasn’t so bad, I had my animal friends and I was home. Maybe there were occasions when I yearned for another person’s company, but I told myself that if I just had faith for a little longer, things would change.

And eventually, they did.

 

my writing

Ashes of Glass

Finally! The synopsis for my book Ashes of Glass. I hope you like it! Oh and yes… the cover. I made it myself and I’m a just a tiny bit proud of it 🙂

Ashes of Glass Cover.jpg

A servant struggling to survive.

A prince becoming a leader.

A snake seeking power.

 

Arella Marceau, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, finds herself diminished to a lowly servant who must obey the every whim of her stepmother. Then she meets Freddie who is handsome, kind, strong, and of course, very charming. They spend an afternoon together, exploring ruins, becoming lost in the forest, and dealing with gypsies and Arella begins to fall for the young man. When a mysterious debt arises, it inevitably tears Arella away from what she thought might have been a shred of happiness.

Arella accepts her dismal fate, but working as a scullery maid at the palace is a tumultuous task. For it is soon revealed to her that Freddie is Prince Friederic, heir to the throne of Ormandy. Even though discovery would mean life-shattering consequences, Freddie and Arella defy social expectations and meet in the safety of a secret garden. To complicate things further, Arella’s creditor seems to be frighteningly fascinated with her, as well as with the monarchy. What kind of secrets does he keep behind his black eyes?

As Arella’s life spins out of control, she must hold to her love for Freddie and to her belief that God has a perfect plan.

Now available on Amazon.com in paperback and e-book.

You can also find Ashes of Glass on Goodreads. 

Read the Prologue and Chapter 2 for free.

And click here to read some quotes from Ashes of Glass.