#Indie #BookReview: The Wolf You Feed by Angela Stevens

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Review:

Epic family drama with werewolves. If that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will!

By epic, I’m referring to the great swathes of time the story covers: about sixteen years by my reckoning. During this time we see Tore defy his clan for the sake of love, rescue a friend and tries to build a new life, only to have tragedy dog his steps.  The family dynamics are compelling and play out like a classic drama: power struggles, heirs, pride, usurpers and revenge are the names of this game.

The title is a reference to a famous Native American proverb that is really the mantra of the story, which makes me think of it as like a fairy-tale retelling in a way.  You can read a condensed version of the proverb in the blurb below.

I enjoyed The Wolf You Feed a lot, more than I expected since it’s such a unique mix of genres. Because of the epic nature of the story there were moments where I tuned out a little (I’m sorry, I can’t help it! It just happens…) but I can definitely recommend this to other readers.

Recommended for lovers of family dramas, or those wanting to read a different kind of urban fantasy.

Like my review? Like it on Goodreads too!

Author Goodreads Page.

Author Website.

Amazon buy link.

The Wolf You Feed, by Angela Stevens

Book Length: 251 pages

Paranormal Family Drama (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

Tore Vargr finds his world turned upside down when he is forced to choose between the love of his life and the life he loves. He chooses Annike, disrespects his brother, Erik, and sets off a chain of events that shape his life in a way he could never have imagined.

Outlawed from his clan, Tore embraces his new responsibilities of father and protector as he carves out a new life in a human world. But a jealous brother has a long memory and Erik is nothing if not patient when it comes to exacting revenge. When Tore’s past catches up with his present, he has to learn to pull from an inner strength.

There is a battle of two wolves inside us all.
One is evil: it is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, jealousy, resentment, lies.
The other is good: it is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, truth.
The wolf that wins?
The one you feed.

– Cherokee proverb

Spanning two generations The Wolf You Feed is the first book in a heartbreaking trilogy set in the shape shifting worlds of werewolves and skin walkers.

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Black Swan Book Sale, now 99 cents! Starts Today!

Book promotion

Spread the word! My book is now on sale!

The facts

1) The sale starts today, March 23rd, and continues for two weeks until April 6th.

2) My urban fantasy ebook “The Black Swan Inheritance” was US$2.99, and now it’s US$0.99. That’s less than half price!

3) The sale is across the board at all major retails (including iBooks, but I can’t link to that:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble (new price isn’t showing yet but should by tomorrow!)

Kobo Books

Want to read reviews of my book? You can check out the goodreads page.

Want to know what the book’s about? Here’s the blurb:

The striking Black Swan is native to Australia, unrelated to the seemingly pure White Swan of Europe. She is found in the strangest of places – from ugly mines to cultivated farms, beautiful bushland to violent coastline.

Yet, she always shies away from humanity.

The Black Swan is always beautiful, surprisingly resilient and very, very powerful. Most Black Swans are wise enough not to use that power to challenge the status quo.

Most…

Anita had the kind of reputation in high school that no one wants to carry into adulthood, especially since she wants to be a doctor like her dad. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well, it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening. Turns out Anita’s over-active libido has become more than something hormonal – it’s magical.

The Black Swan is a powerful legacy that brings both temptation and danger. Having now inherited the title and all that comes with it, Anita finds herself beset upon by ancient abominations that won’t take no for an answer. No wonder the Black Swan had been driven to seclusion and banishment in the past. But Anita is determined not to run away – she is here to help, whether the medieval dragon-wolf or the undead cultists want it or not.

She will be no one’s pawn. She will rise to the challenge.

If she can just manage to deal with her own flaws first. Anxiety, panic-attacks, and bouts of bitchiness does not a successful diplomat make.

Children’s Book Review: Runaway Smile by Nicholas C. Rossis

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Review:

It’s a little different reading and reviewing a children’s book as an adult. I did go back and read some old Secret Seven books when I bought the hardcopies two years ago, and I guess Runaway Smile is roughly the same age-group(?) Although, kids all read at different levels, don’t they?

Runaway Smile was a fun blend of everyday life with regular doses of the fantastical. The illustrations were a real treat, really adding to the story without being imposing. The poem at the end was a nice touch, but I did I wish it would’ve rhymed more.

I know for a fact my nine-year-old self would detest (if she knew the word) the dog being referred to as ‘it’. That’s just a personal thing, since to me ‘it’ indicates an inanimate object without feelings, but then, some people prefer to use ‘it’ as it’s neither masculine nor feminine. I just know what the nine-year-old in me thinks, and she thinks it’s mean to call a dog ‘it’.

That’s such a minor gripe though, and the book is a fun, short magical read for bedtime. The ending was especially sweet, and I’d like to see what the writer and illustrator come up with in their next collaboration.

Like my review? Like it on Goodreads too!

Author Goodreads Page.

Author Blog where you can read it online for free!

Amazon buy link.

Runaway Smile, by Nicholas C Rossis (author) and Dimitris Fousekis (illustrator)

Book Length: 64 pages

Children’s Fiction

According to the Blurb:

“I woke up this morning and I had lost my smile and it wasn’t my fault and I looked everywhere and it was gone. Then I met a workman and a king and the best salesman in the world and a clown and no-one wanted to give me theirs. At school, I asked Miss to give me hers, but she gave us a pop quiz instead, and then no-one was smiling and…”

A little boy wakes up in the morning and realizes he has lost his smile. After spending the entire day trying to find it, he learns the truth behind smiles: the only real smiles are the shared ones.

Self-Publishing Data: Free Promotion Results

For the past ten days I put my book up for free on as many retailers as I could in celebration of my new cover designed by Emma Wakeling:

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I really wanted to see if I could shift 100 copies, and thanks to everyone who helped publicise it, 120 copies were picked up!

What’s interesting about these results is when I compare them to Charlotte Cyprus’ results. Charlotte Cyprus is also a self-published author, but she is enrolled in KDP Select, and it definitely seems (just by comparing our two sets of data) that KDP Select does help new authors promote books. Having shifted 5x the number of copies as me, that data doesn’t lie!

Of course, her book could just be appealing to more people than mine. Our books have more differences than similarities, I think.

The other downside to being non-exclusive to Amazon is that Amazon doesn’t allow free ebooks on its site UNLESS you’re KDP Select, and then you have five days every month or something where you can elect to put your book up for free. So no free sales via Amazon for me.

Having said that, I’m still content to not be Amazon-exclusive. It’s just what I feel more comfortable about. I’m a little attached to Smashwords, because it is a bit of a ‘free-for-all’ environment, and I know if I want to push some boundaries with my stories, there will always be someone else on there who has gone further than me. That reassures me, in a weird sort of way.

I also like the reporting Smashwords does, and how it gathers data from the other major retailers under their premium service plan:

Smashwordsresults

The only downside is that Kobo doesn’t report it’s free book sales to smashwords, but I also have an account with Kobo so I can check those numbers (I only sold 5 books through Kobo).

I was surprised about Barnes and Noble. Being Australian, I was only vaguely aware of it, but I guess there are quite a few people out there with Nooks.

So I learnt some things with this experiment. As always, I am willing to provide a free ecopy of my book in exchange for an honest review. For now though, the price is going back up, and then some. Comparing the length of my book to other books of my length, my book was very cheap, but it wasn’t garnering any sales. Maybe $0.99 gave the impression a 75k word book wasn’t going to be any good? Regardless, I have decided to increase the price to be on par with other similar books, so The Black Swan Inheritance is now $2.99 at all major retailers…

Although with some retailers the price change is taking a while to kick in. Barnes and Noble, for instance, is still selling my book for free. Give it a day. *shrug*

At least now with the price increase I have other options when I decide to next put my book on sale. I can do half-price, drop it to 99cents, or go for free again.

As a footnote, a few other people have added my book to their TBR on goodreads, and I now have 10 ratings and 7 reviews on the site! Amazon has 7 reviews up (with some reviewers different to the goodreads’ reviewers), and 1 review on Barnes and Noble 🙂 All up, 10 different people have written reviews on my book across the different sites (and some blogs!)!

Sequel status: 67k words out of approx 80k. Downhill run!

So that’s been my experience of my first sale. I think I’ve waffled enough now.

MdD

 

Interview with the Author: Mae Wood

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For my first ever ”Interview with the Author” segment, I have chick-lit and contemporary romance author Mae Wood with me to answer questions on her debut novel, Risking Ruin (which I reviewed here), as well as her writing process, and her upcoming sequel, Surviving Bitsy.

When writing Risking Ruin, how much do you draw from your own life?

Clarification: I am NOT asking about the sex scenes. That’s your business 😉

I am an employment lawyer like Marisa, so I hear about all sorts of workplace craziness.  Many of the allegations of workplace harassment in the story are drawn from events I’ve read about in court papers.  Marisa and I have the same job, but our lives differ greatly from there.  I’m married and a mother.  I’ve never been as career-focused as Marisa is, but I know plenty of women who are.  I don’t draw from my life per se, but I do draw from stories of my career-minded friends who are in their 30s and struggling through (or have struggled through) awful dating situations.  Trust me, that woman at the head of the boardroom table closing a billion dollar deal or speaking in front of thousands at a MacWord-style conference still has self-doubt.  I know.  I’m her “ordinary” friend and I get the emotional phone calls.

When is your moment to write?

I like to write in about 2 to 3 hour long blocks, but I’m fine with interruption.  Typically, this means I write during my child’s bath time and her nightly viewing of Peppa Pig and while she’s up and down for hour or so after I put her to bed, demanding water, more blankets, less nightlight, etc.  (Every parent knows what I’m talking about.)   That said, by the time I sit down to write, I know where I’m going.  I’ve muddled through the next steps in my head while driving home and preparing dinner.

Where are you up to with the sequel?

Tentatively titled “Surviving Bitsy,” the sequel picks up where “Risking Ruin” left off.   Marisa and Trip are in the plane on the way to St. George.  Let’s just say that Trip’s unilateral decision to “solve” the problem in their relationship is not well-taken by Marisa at first.    I’ve written about the first 20%, including Marisa getting to meet Trip’s mom Bitsy and John returning to the story.  Marisa’s firm has hired him to babysit her and make sure her relationship with Trip doesn’t mean that the firm loses Branco’s lucrative business.

You’ll note that “Risking Ruin” did not end with an “I love you” or an exchange of rings.  For me the most interesting bit in any relationship is getting from “Let’s date exclusively” to “Can I live without you?”  “Surviving Bitsy” follows Marisa as she navigates being Trip’s proper girlfriend and them trying to blend their lives together.   As for the title, Bitsy is Trip’s mom.  But this isn’t a Monster-In-Law type story.  Quite the opposite.  I can’t wait to get it wrapped up and released late summer!

Do you intend to keep the chick-lit / contemporary romance balancing act for the sequel? Is it difficult?

I love Chick-Lit. Bridget Jones’ Diary spoke to me in my 20s and I’ve never looked back.  What I love about Chick-Lit is what I find missing in a lot of contemporary romances — personal growth by the heroine in the face of a real-to-her-life challenge in the form of a career change, money problems, or just her beliefs. Classically, think Pride and Prejudice.  Many Chick-Lit stories are love stories at base, but I view them as Chick-Lit because of the tone.  I love humor.  I love puns.  I love to verbally spar.  I also crave honesty.   For me, it’s not love unless your cheeks hurt after a date because you’ve been smiling and laughing so much.   I do intend to keep the same light and honest tone the for the sequel.

Do you let your family read your work? What if they asked?

My husband detests “Risking Ruin”!  He doesn’t understand the genres of Chick-Lit or romance at all.  He’s read though the first sex scene and then just couldn’t tolerate it any longer.  I don’t take offense.  I’d rather go on a 10 mile hike in the middle of summer than read the five volume biography of Lyndon Johnson he currently has his nose in. Our tastes in pleasure reading differ and that’s fine with me.  Nonetheless, he’s my biggest cheerleader in this project and extremely proud of me.

My family has no clue I’ve written a novel.  However, my two closest friends I consider family read my work as a serial.  When I get a few chapters pulled together, they gobble them up and then tell me what they like, don’t like, and want more of.  It’s partially their fault there is sex in Risking Ruin.  So blame them if you think it’s too much!

As for them asking to read my book, my sister would roll her eyes.  My mother would be super supportive and probably really like it. And no one wants their father reading sex scenes they’ve written!  (Okay, probably someone wouldn’t mind, but I’m from the U.S. South where daddies and daughters pretend sex doesn’t exist.)

Which supporting character in Risking Ruin have you enjoyed writing the most?

I love writing Erica!  She’s a blend of several of my friends and my grandmother.  I’ve been toying with a story about Erica.   I’d love to know if readers would like more Erica.

What do you do to pick yourself up in moments of doubt? 

I ask my best friends, my cheerleaders.  “Too much?”  “More?”  They’ve told me harsher things in life than “that scene is boring” or “no one else will find that funny” or “more sex.”   It’s that level of trust and honesty that permits me to keep going.

Thank you Mae Wood for letting me interview you and answering my questions!

Have more questions for Mae Wood? Check out her Goodreads page and ask away!

You can also find Mae Wood at her blog here.

Risking Ruin is 99c/ 99p for February and free with Kindle Unlimited!

FREE EBOOK! The Black Swan Inheritance is ON SALE!

To celebrate the new cover of The Black Swan Inheritance the ebook is available for FREE on Smashwords until 6 Feb! That means you can get a epub, mobi or pdf copy by clicking here!

The Black Swan Inheritance Final CoverThe new cover design is by Emma Wakeling of Emma’s Artbox and DeviantArt!

Through the Smashwords Premium Status function, other retailers should have this option soon (Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, etc). Stay tuned!