Tag Archive: Indie


Announcing – Supremacy: Reformation

Gather ’round one and all for I have a story to tell! It begins with a little fifth-grade boy who dreamed of becoming a writer. He spent his childhood day-dreaming of the surreal, collecting whatever flew through his head as doodles across his notebooks underpinned by scraps of writings. Eventually these seeds grew into fantastic tales that he bottled up inside his head waiting until the right time to release them.

Well, today is that day! My fifth-grade self has waited patiently until this very moment to unveil his first foray into the world of independent publishing! May I present,

Supremacy: Reformation Series 1

Cover art by Robin Ludwig Design

Synopsis

With most of the galaxy shrouded in darkness, the Second Order stands as humanity’s final bastion of hope until the Gods return. Its citizens cling to their emperor as he rules with the divine mandate bequeathed him. Bladicos, the emperor’s own brother, sees through this guise of selflessness and plots to wrestle control of the Order away and give it to the people. Humanity must decide its own fate before the Gods are resurrected.

About

The Reformation series will be the first journey into the Supremacy universe. Series 1 is comprised of 10 episodes that focus on Bladicos and his plan for the Second Order. Each episode should take about 45-60 minutes to read and will be individually available for purchase on all e-reader platforms. An omnibus edition will also be available that will be updated with each of the 10 episodes as they are released.

I do not have any firm release dates quite yet, but expect this soon!

I have officially read nearly 100,000 words of the paranormal romance genre after finishing up Mated by the only paranormal romance author I have ever read, Zoe Winters. The journey to get here has been incredibly strange as I have had my brain infused with more emotional instability than I have ever experienced before. Hopefully I can still function as a normal citizen.

I have been hearing lately that digital publishing is getting readers to branch out from their mainstay genres, but I never thought I would be caught up in it myself. The truth is, though, that if Zoe Winters had been traditionally published, I would have missed out on her work because you will never catch me even glancing at the romance section of the bookstore. After branching out into the jacked up fiction that is paranormal romance, I have discovered some pretty good stuff.

Mated is the final chapter in Zoe’s Blood Lust trilogy (which should be coming out in print form soon) and what a final chapter it is.

MatedSummary

So what we have here is another crazy chic, Jane if you remember her from Claimed, who has been pretending to be goth to fit in with the vampire crew. Unfortunately for her, she gets wrapped up with these crazy awesome Furries (or werewolves if you prefer the non-hilarious connotation). The alpha furry, Cole, takes her as payment for one of the vampire’s debts and things get awesome.

He is all like, ‘my furry senses tell me that you are my mate’, and she is all like ‘but I don’t get down that way’. So, he keeps her locked up in the hive with all the rest of the furries. They actually have a nice set up for being a pack of furries without real jobs besides eating defenseless forest animals (they even have a TV). Lucky for them, Cole runs a successful web business to pay the bills.

Did I mention there are demons? Yeah, apparently the furries are in league with the demons. Cain, a demon friend of Cole, tells him that one in his pack is actually killing humans instead of defenseless forest animals. Cole’s hatred of forest animals pushes him to find out who it is and gets himself and Jane wrapped up in an insane plot where they may or may not end up romantically entangled by the end of the story. Stuff goes down and blood is everywhere. Because that is how furries like it.

Review

Once again, Zoe has shocked me with her ability to tell the oldest story in the book (boy meets girl) and actually keep it interesting. I seriously doubt a plain romance novel would keep my attention the way she did (not that I am going to test that out). The Blood Lust story keeps evolving and Mated beautifully continues the tradition.

The wolves’ subculture within Cary Town is just as meticulously crafted as the ones from the first two Blood Lust entries. You will be drawn into it along with Jane and walk with her as she slowly releases her prejudices about the wolves. The interactions among this world and its characters melds seamlessly into the plot with nothing feeling out of place.

It is a difficult job to use legendary creatures and not devolve them into hackneyed archetypes, but Zoe walks that line like a pro. Her tremendous talent to bring them to life will fill you with genuine empathy for their plights as they become more like good friends than fictional people. You will not find boring, flat development here. Zoe only writes with 100% pure 3D characterization.

The plot was good and well thought out. It moved along with good pacing for the most part, but there were a few moments that I felt it begin to stall just a little in the middle. It is really not much to complain about as the encompassing world soaks up the plot’s deficiencies. The build to the final climatic scene was so riveting it had me glued to the screen. The sheer emotion fueling the two main characters’ battle with fated love was written so excellently I began questioning whether or not I have actually ever really been in love before.

Mated is worthy as the final chapter in the Blood Lust trilogy. It is a great read that is ridiculously under-priced for its quality. I am by no means a paranormal romance authority, but I can safely recommend it to anyone who needs something deeper than Twilight to test the genre out.

I give it one out of one wolf bites (because that is all it takes to pierce your heart).

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Apparently I am not man enough to pry myself away from this insane Blood Lust series, so I thought I might as well read the next installment. Judge me if you want, but I am kind of digging this whole paranormal romance thing. On second thought, don’t judge me, just leave me alone so I can wallow in my own manlinesslessness.

At least I am branching out. Women dig that sort of thing right? Perhaps I should attend the nearest paranormal romance convention. I am sure I will find more women there than I would at the nearest sci-fi convention. Who’s the smart one now?

Anyway on with the review of Claimed by Zoe Winters.

Claimed
Summary

So, we start off during the ending of the first novella, Kept, except we are following the perspective of the vampire, Anthony. And let me tell you, if you thought you saw crazy in Kept, you haven’t seen anything until you dive into the hidden world of Cary Town’s vampires. They are all over the map. There are vegetarian vamps, emo vamps, hardcore old-school vamps, and then there’s Anthony.

Anthony is like a goth version of Fonzie that can charm you while simultaneously sucking your blood. After running drunk on the poison he siphoned out of Greta, he goes on a wild rampage and terrifies poor, innocent Charlee (Greta’s former roommate). Her memory gets all jacked up because of this and so Anthony is forced to hide her at his awesome penthouse until after the upcoming vampire tournament where he will vie for absolute control over the vampire coven and become the vampire king for the next century.

Linus, the big, bad vampire that vants to suck your vblood rolls in to town to let Anthony know he isn’t the only one that has a shot at the crown. They have a mini-showdown in which Charlee, of course, gets completely caught up in. Everything gets supremely complicated after that as she and Anthony romantically spar over every little thing they do.

She hates him, but he has to protect her from Linus. Blah, blah, blah….happily ever after. Or is it? I guess you will have to read it to find out.

Review

Overall, I found this next installment to have more depth and meat than the first. The intriguing world of Cary Town is further enriched as the darker, vampire side is explored. The imagination fueling it actually made the story feel more like a fantasy novella than paranormal romance. Zoe certainly knows how to paint a vivid world.

Thankfully that world is inhabited by an expanding list of interesting characters. The two main characters here, Charlee and Anthony, are completely different than those in Kept, but still wield the same amount of power over your mind. Even though their situation nearly mirrors Greta’s and Dayne’s in Kept, they interact in unexpected and exciting ways. Their chemistry is so real, you will wish you had your own vampire to cuddle up with at night.

The story weaving all the events intertwining the characters with the world is so organic that it really blurs the boundary between fantasy and paranormal romance. I never gave the paranormal romance genre much credibility with me being such a sci-fi elitist and all, but Claimed has commanded my respect. It certainly raises the Blood Lust bar of telling a good story that just so happens to involve romance. The quality of the story was never sacrificed to force in romantic elements for the sake of genre.

If you are looking for a good paranormal romance or just need a break from your standard genre, I highly recommend you give Claimed a shot. You won’t regret it. The only feeling you’ll be left with by the end is a craving for more blood…

I give it two out of two vampire fangs! (in the neck if you know what I mean)

Snag It

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Ever since my young days in middle school, I have primarily read science fiction. I rarely stray from this superior genre and then only to read non-fiction books in pursuit of knowledge. Then one magical day a few weeks ago, while reading the blog of Michael A. Stackpole, I stumbled upon an independent author by the name of Zoe Winters who doubles as an indie evangelist, preaching the gospel of independent publishing. So, I started reading her blog and began to get into the idea that big New York publishers are the devil and authors just need to branch out on their own to directly connect with their audience and bypass the ridiculous hand-holding of the publisher. Her blog was so great that I wanted to see what sort of fiction she wrote. That was when I discovered that she is a *gasp* paranormal-romance author.

With the enormous success of Twilight and other spin-offs, I was immediately repulsed by the notion of reading paranormal-romance because it would hurt my sci-fi/nerd cred (and would make me less of a man). However, I decided to suck it up and read her first published work, Kept. So, I hopped on over to the Kindle store and purchased it for a paltry $1. Soon after that, I downloaded it to my BlackBerry and was prepared to enter a forbidden world that only women and angsty teens typically enter–the world of paranormal-romance.Kept

Summary

From what I can tell, Kept is about some crazy chic, Greta, with superhuman strength who can transform into a cat (called a ‘Therian‘) and gets wrapped up in this crazy plot to kill her for the crazy magical powers contained within her blood. There are vampires and other Therians who are like ‘I want to kill you and drain your blood’, so she seeks asylum with some crazy sorcerer, Dayne, who is all like ‘I will protect you only if you give me your blood’. So she is all like, ‘fine, but if you do evil stuff I will just like leave’. They pretty much stay inside his house and have crazy heat-induced sex (when in human form, Therians have like crazy sex powers). Then other stuff happens that I can’t tell you since it would ruin the story (yes, I know romance stories are quite predictable, but you still have to read it).

Review

Overall, this is an excellent read. Especially for the $1 price tag. The writing style of Zoe will keep you engrossed in the story while keeping you guessing as to what is coming around the next corner. The dialog is good and very believable considering all the characters should be locked up in an insane asylum. She weaves great moments of sarcasm and levity with genuine emotion to spin a truly original tale.

As far as romance stories go, this one actually had more to it than two people simply falling in love. Yes, the two main characters in the story do fall for each other, but it happens in an exciting and novel way surrounded by plenty of unnatural surprises. One major problem some romance stories have is that the plot will halt in its tracks while the characters try to figure out exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Kept never suffers from this problem as the plot moves in lockstep with the romance.

Zoe has created a fascinating world to lose yourself in. The characters feel real as the entire world evolves around them throughout their journey. The ending will definitely leave you wanting more. Fortunately for us all, this is only the first entry in her Blood Lust series. The next chapter will be released fairly soon. Check out her blog to stay up to date.

Kept brings a unique take on vampires and were-things that is thoroughly entertaining, even for me–a hardcore sci-fi aficionado. I may have to keep up with the rest of the Blood Lust series (as long as my friends never find out). If you have been looking to read something original and entertaining, Kept is exactly what you are looking for.

I give it 5 out of 5 vampire fangs.

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