Uneven Exchange

Uneven Exchange

S.K. Derban

While on vacation in Mexico, DEA agents see Alexandra and immediately note her uncanny resemblance to a woman who is sister to a notorious killer nicknamed ‘The Magician’.

Back in the US she is recruited for an undercover mission to help capture the killer, a very different task than her usual interior design. She feels God is nudging her to accept and so her life suddenly becomes very complicated.

I’m not sure how to classify this book. It bills itself as a thriller, but there isn’t all that much suspense and it continues on past where I’d expect the thriller to end. It could be seen as a love story, but again there are elements of a romance which are missing. Faith is a major aspect of the story, almost all the good guys continually pray, but I don’t get much sense of God being active other than as a name being dropped. Nobody changes or is significantly tested in their faith.

Having said all that, I did find the book to be an enjoyable read. None of the issues above were enough to break the flow of the narrative. A few times I wished for a situation to be more developed, but it didn’t push me out of the story. The villain of the piece is nicely complex and human.

If you aren’t concerned with pigeon-holing the genre of a book, you will enjoy reading Uneven Exchange. It has a bit of thriller and romance with some faith thrown in as a garnish.

Buy the book at Amazon

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Rarity from the Hollow – 2nd Edition

I received a review request for this second edition and remembered having reviewed the book some time back. Here’s that original review:

When you imagine a young girl who will save the universe, you will never picture Lacy Dawn, who is back country poor, the daughter of a soldier with PTSD and his sweetheart, now beaten down and almost broken by life. These are people who would be described in a non politically correct way as white trash.

Lacy Dawn is a bewildering mix of brilliance and childhood innocence. She has a boyfriend named DotCom, a dog named Brownie and a ghost friend named Faith. She is eleven at the beginning of the book.

There is humour in the book, there is discussion of sex and drugs and abuse. It is also a book about hope. What Lacy Dawn wants more than anything in the world is to fix her parents.  I found the first part of the story a bit on the slow side, but it picks up pace gradually until you suddenly realize you’re flying down a gravel road at insane speed in a pickup truck held together with duct tape and chewing gum. It is a heck of a ride.

I recommend the book for people who don’t mind some real life intruding on their sci fi and can handle the rough and raw edges that are a large part of this book’s charm.


Having read the second edition I can attest the book reads smoother without losing any of its charm.
Rarity in the Hollow

Robert Eggleton

Lacy Dawn is a true daughter of Appalachia, and then some. She lives in a hollow with her worn-out mom, her Iraq War disabled dad, and her mutt Brownie, a dog who’s becoming very skilled at laying fiber optic cable. Lacy Dawn’s android boyfriend has come to the hollow with a mission. His equipment includes infomercial videos of Earth’s earliest proto-humans from millennia ago. He was sent by the Manager of the Mall on planet Shptiludrp (Shop ’till You Drop): he must recruit Lacy Dawn to save the Universe in exchange for the designation of Earth as a planet which is eligible for continued existence within a universal economic structure that exploits underdeveloped planets for their mineral content. Lacy Dawn’s magic enables her to save the universe, Earth, and, most importantly, her own family.

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt from Chapter 13

…Jenny (the mother) walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn’s name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.

I hear her voice. Why won’t she answer me? 

“Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods.

Nobody responded. The trees weren’t supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.

I will always love you guys. 

Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.

Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front. 

Jenny looked to the left of the path.

There ain’t no cave Roundabend, but there it is. 

She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face.  Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn’t exit and into a blue light that did.

“All right, you mother f**ker!”

“Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you’re supposed to (a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story).”

DotCom (the android) sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner.  Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.

“Grrrrr,” emanated from Jenny.  It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie (Lacy Dawn’s dog) made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house.  It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate.  No one moved.  The spaceship’s door slid shut.

“Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”

“You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out,” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.

Stay between them.

“Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I’m old enough — like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend — what you call it — my fiancé.”

“You been messin’ with my little girl you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce.

“MOM!  Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”

Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.

He ain’t got no private parts, not even a little bump.   

“DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”

Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.

“Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.”

I will need much more training if I’m ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.

“Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”

Jenny’s left eye twitched.

DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother…

…(scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself)… “Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There’re a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You can see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain’t complained since the shots started — not even with an upset stomach.”

“He’s a doctor?” Jenny asked.

“What’s your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know.  You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that’s different — even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”

“Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.

“So?”

Mommy’s right. Maybe I need a different argument.

About Robert:
Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997. Today, he is a recently retired psychotherapist from the mental health center inCharleston, West Virginia. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.  http://www.childhswv.org/

Author Interview

Congratulations on publishing Rarity in the Hollow’s new edition. How do you feel about publishing this book? Does it feel different from releasing the first edition?

Thanks, Alex, for the opportunity to share my feelings about the new edition of Rarity from the Hollow. Yes, having the new edition published feels very different than when the original edition was published. As you are aware, it’s my debut novel.

I’ve been on a learning curve within the world of books for a few years. I guess that I’ll always be on the learning curve. I was ecstatic when the original edition was published, but I quickly crashed. Having worked with two editors for months, I tried to move into the self-promotion phase immediately upon release of the original edition after coming home from my job as a children’s psychotherapist. I didn’t even check out my novel. Between not knowing what I was doing and exhaustion from having worked with abused kids all day, my progress was very slow and frustrating.

On 5-29-15, a glowing review of Rarity from the Hollow was published on a beautiful blog: http://www.errantdreams.com/2015/05/review-rarity-from-the-hollow-robert-eggleton/ However, it reported “confusion” in the early chapters. A few days later, a paper-only magazine posted a similar glowing review: Tales of the Talisman volume 10, issue 4. This review specifically mentioned an attribution problem with the head thoughts in the story. I opened my novel.

What I found was disturbing. The italics for the internal dialogue were not there. I notified the publisher: http://www.doghornpublishing.com/wordpress/books/rarity-from-the-hollow  Adam Lowe, the owner, was shocked, as well. He posted on Amazon and in an email to Talisman that there had been a formatting error affecting the original edition of Rarity from the Hollow. From that point forward, I marketed my novel as an ARC and explained that the italics were missing — an embarrassment.

I digested every book review along the way. The original edition of Rarity from the Hollow received twenty-five five star reviews by independent book bloggers, and forty-three four star reviews likely influenced by the missing italics for the internal dialogue. The critical reviews that it received appeared to be related to comfort zones despite the info in my pitch that described the novel as not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended. The first edition was awarded two Gold medals by major review organizations:  http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/ and https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow. It was picked along with The Martian by Andy Weir and Revival by Stephen King as one of the five best books of 2015. http://codices.info/2015/12/top-5-for-2015-ventsi/ Still, I felt hollow. Forgive the pun. The formatting error in the original edition continued to eat at me. I knew that the book’s potential had not been realized.

Over a period of several months, I worked with the editor on the new edition. A new edition was produced which not only restored the missing italics and a few other errors that were discovered, but incorporated findings from book reviews. On December 5, 2016, the new edition was released on Amazon. I felt overwhelmed. My ecstasy returned like when the original had been published. I had authored a book that I could be proud of holding in my hand. A few days later, a review of the new edition was published. The closing lines were: “…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s Animal Farm.” “I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for-rarity-from-the-hollowby-robert-eggleton/ As I face death, as we all must, I feel comforted by having achieved something that may outlive me.

Tell us more about yourself. What else have you published?

I’ve paid into the U.S. Social Security fund for fifty-two years, the last forty working as a children’s advocate. I’m best known locally for investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where I worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency. Over a hundred of my reports have been archived by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. I also contributed to one book that contained group therapy exercises for youth living in out-of-home residential settings and authored a research project that was presented at the 1983 National Association of Social Workers conference.

Except for a couple of poems, one published in a zine and another in a journal of a state competition for college students, I have a very limited history in the world of fiction. Last year, one of my poems won first place in an international poetry competition: http://wildcat.wsc.edu/clubs/willycon/zine/. Rarity from the Hollow is my debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Most of my writings since have been articles posted on various topic and published by dozens of book blogs with a common purpose – promotion of the novel.

I’m going to give Rarity from the Hollow a little more time with self-promotions, and then I hope to write, write, write, and write some more fiction.

Rarity in the Hollow is the story of a young girl growing up in what would be considered horrible conditions, yet she remains positive and makes a significant contribution to the world and community. What inspired you to write this story?

In 2002, I accepted a job as a children’s therapist for our local mental health center. It was an intensive day program that served kids with mental health problems, many of them having been abused, some sexually. Part of my job was to facilitate group therapy sessions. One day in 2006 during a session, I was sitting around a table used for written therapeutic exercises and a little girl with stringy, brown hair sat a few feet away. Instead of just disclosing the horrors of her abuse at the hands of the meanest daddy on Earth, she also spoke of her hopes and dreams for the future: finding a loving family who would protect her.

This girl was inspiring. She exemplified resilience. She got me thinking again about my own childhood hopes and dreams of writing fiction. My protagonist was born that day – an empowered victim who takes on the evils of the universe: Lacy Dawn. I began to write fiction in the evenings and sometimes went to work the next day without enough sleep. Every time that I would feel discouraged, when I felt like giving up, I would imagine Lacy Dawn speaking honestly about the barriers that she faced in pursuit of her dream of finding a permanent and loving home. This girl inspired the creation of Rarity from the Hollow.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read and write?

I like to read and write genre fiction that has a literary element. I love clever metaphors, allegory, and witty puns. I’m no longer into pure escapist fiction – life is too short and I don’t want to miss anything by getting sucked into an escapist story. I never did read erotica, not that I’m moralistically opposed to it. I just never felt the desire to substitute reading about sex instead of engaging in it. Otherwise, I’ll read and hope to write in many genres.

What is your writing space like?

Despite having a Master’s degree, I’ve never been paid a very high salary in my career. In 1988, my wife and I bought and fixed up a small house where we still live. It’s located in a lower class neighborhood a few notches above the housing projects where I grew up. I don’t have an office, so my computer is in the living room. My desk is a multipurpose mess, but I’m very good at focusing on-task. It’s okay.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’ve written a couple of stories that should be touched up and submitted. Most of the time since Rarity from the Hollow was originally published has been spent on self-promotions. Shortly after its release, however, I was so energized that I wrote the next Lacy Dawn Adventure: Ivy. Based on my experience, I want to rework and update it before I send it to the editor. It has a science fiction backdrop, as well, and asks the question: How Far Would a Child Go to Save a Parent from Addition?

Part of the proceeds of sales are going to prevent child abuse. Tell me more about that and why you made that decision.

Yes, half of author proceeds from Rarity from the Hollow have and will continue to be donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ After talking about conflicting interests with my wife, writing vs. ongoing children’s advocacy, there wasn’t much choice in the matter. Even though I hope that my novel sensitizes readers to the huge social problem of child maltreatment, to keep me from giving up in this highly competitive marketplace, I needed a stronger motivator, something to help justify my retirement in May 2015. Frankly, I doubt that I could be productive as a writer if I felt that I’d turned my back on needful children to write fiction.

How did you come up with the character, Mr. Prump, in your story?

I was watching The Apprentice on television. I was already familiar with Bernie Sanders as a politician and supported his interest in social activism. Having worked in underfunded social services for years, governmental support and struggling fund raising, I began to imagine a world in which extreme capitalism and democratic socialism met in the middle, at least to protect maltreated kids. Thus, Mr. Prump and Mr. Rump were born for my novel.

Purchase links:

http://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B017REIA44/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B007JDI508

http://www.doghornpublishing.com/wordpress/books/rarity-from-the-hollow 

 

 

 

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Back reviewing, sort of.

After almost a year taking a break from reviews, I’ve decided to dip my toes in the water again. One of many reasons I stopped was the queue of 40+ books to read which was honestly overwhelming.

To avoid that situation from repeating, I will review one book a month. At the peak of my reviewing days I received a review request a day. So here’s the deal. You need to be the best book presentation the month you submit. I don’t mean most eager, or the one with the most glowing previous reviews. I mean you need to pretend I’m a customer. I pick up your book to look at it. Why should I read yours over the next one on the shelf? The answer is a combination of good cover, but even more importantly a good blurb. If you aren’t sure about your blurb, head on over to celticfrogediting.com and check out my article on blurbs.  Send me the first page of your book as well, I can tell a lot about a book from that first page.

What I will be doing the rest of the month is reading other books, free books from newsletters, ones which intrigue me, but aren’t my review book of the month. Those I will post on a page if I finish them, and a one sentence comment. It won’t be long enough for an amazon review, but it will be something you can use as an editorial review.

While we’re on the subject of Amazon. Their review system is geared toward customers, not bloggers. I’ve had most of my reviews pulled down because I post the review on my blog first. I will post on Amazon, but don’t count on it staying. If your book is on Goodreads, I may post there as well.

The first month I will be accepting book for review will be February. If you send it in earlier, I won’t ignore it, but you won’t hear until February if you get chosen. If you don’t hear, you didn’t make it. Try tweaking your blurb and/or cover. I moderate a group on facebook ‘Better Blurb, Book Covers and Books’ you are welcome to request to join and work on your blurb there. You’ll get some good feedback from the group.

That’s it, that’s the new process for celticfrogreviews.

Keep writing.

Alex

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Blackmail

Blackmail

Arthur David

Blackmail is the first book by Arthur David, or rather it is the second iteration of his first book. One of the tough things to do as a reviewer is to tell the author a book is not ready for print. Especially when that review is going out where people looking for books to read will see it.

The first time I saw Blackmail it had a great concept at the heart of it, but needed a lot of work. I posted the review. Arthur sent me a note thanking me and I didn’t think about it again until Arthur contacted me to ask me to look at his book, now revised and review it again.

I get so few people coming back asking for me to look at a rewritten book, I decided I would take it on. I’m glad I did.

Blackmail introduces a character with that name. She works for a shadowy organization called ‘The Third Party” whose appointed task is the improvement of the world. She is given a new recruit to train so we get to ride along and learn what the life of an agent is like.

Blackmail is my favourite kind of hero. She’s not perfect. She makes mistakes, takes bruises and is human. We get to see a lot of that humanity in her training as, in spite of herself, she starts to care about her trainee.

The book is intended as a first in a series, but Arthur does a good job of closing it out, while leaving little doubt the story is not done. We get introduced to a variety of characters, villains and heroes and it isn’t always easy to tell them apart. What is particularly well done is the motivation of the villains is the same motivation as the hero.

While the book is not quite up to my standard for five stars, it deserves four with a fun to read story with solid characterization and truly interesting world building. I recommend it to people who like thriller/near future sci-fi.

You can buy the book at Amazon.

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Blood or Destiny by Angela Stevens

Blood or Destiny is a continuation of the Vargr Saga in which we are introduced to a unique interpretation of Werewolves and Skin Walkers, add in Vampires and magic and you have a strong world inhabited by strongly developed characters. Though this book doesn’t depend on the earlier Trilogy to be understandable, reading the earlier books will make it more enjoyable, plus you get to read three great stories.

Angela has a gift for developing characters and letting them struggle in relationships. The internal battles are as deep and interesting as the physical ones.

For those of you who like paranormal, this book and the earlier Trilogy is for you.

Buy her book at Amazon.

blood-or-destiny-final-owl-ebook-small-copy
Blood and family ties run deep but when destiny comes calling, which do you choose?

Becoming an adult is never easy, but Eva Vargr faces a unique challenge. Caught between two cultures that historically despise each other, Eva struggles to please the two most important men in her life.

For her brother, Rune Vargr, the answer is simple. Eva must embrace her Lycan side, keep to her own kind, and stay safe under his protection.

But Eva has different plans. Her grandfather’s band of vigilante Skin Walkers have fascinated her since childhood. As Eva turns twenty-one, she falls in love with a young warrior, Pilan. When Eva’s powers blossom, he encourages her to join the Black Walkers and fight by his side.

Rune, a Lycan and Pilan, a Skin Walker—both tug at her heart. One is her blood, the other her destiny. When it becomes clear she cannot have both, Eva is faced with an impossible choice.

Blood Or Destiny is the first book in a new action-packed fantasy-paranormal series. A spin off from the emotionally charged Vargr Clan Trilogy, readers can reunite with Eva Vargr, her Lycan family, and the handsome band of Native American Skin Walkers as they battle against the evil, power-crazed Clizyati that threaten the shifter and human worlds. Please note: this can be read as standalone series but readers planning to read the Vargr Clan Trilogy may want to read that series first to maintain the chronology and avoid any spoilers.

author-picBio:    Angela is British born but moved to the United States a decade ago. Always a keen traveler, she has enjoyed spending time living outside of her native country. She is an ex-teacher and the mother of two children. When empty nest syndrome threatened, Angela turned to writing novels to fill her growing free time. As her hobby grew she found storytelling began to fill her waking hours.

Her debut novel, Lemon Drops and Love grew out of her voracious appetite for reading romance and inspired by her passion for ice hockey. “I discovered ice hockey when I first moved to America. We went first to see an Anaheim Ducks game when I was visiting L.A. We all loved it so much that when we came home we went to watch our local team. Now I’m a rabid Washington Capitals fan, and can often be found ‘rocking the red’ at the Verizon center supporting the Washington Capitals.”

She rapidly moved on to writing fantasy stories, creating the New Adult books, The Vargr Clan Trilogy and her children’s book, Marquita. But which ever series or book you choose, Angela’s stories, will always provide a hero to fall in love with and a heroine who will be worthy of his love. Her characters are three dimensional and down to earth. She writes with a strong voice and in a gritty style weaving tension and suspense throughout her narrative. Her characters come to life and whisk you away, whether into a romantic or fantasy setting. Which ever you chose, be prepared to laugh out loud, cry and fall in love.

Author Interview:

Congratulations on publishing Blood or Destiny. How do you feel about publishing this book? Does it feel different from the previous books you’ve put out?

I am hugely excited about releasing this book for a couple of reasons, firstly because it is my tenth release and I never thought I would ever write one book let alone ten! But also because this book has been floating around inside my head for a couple of years now. Ever since I published the Vargr Clan trilogy in 2014, I have had this hankering to do a spinoff about the warriors that appeared in the last book, and now they finally have their own book and hopefully their own series.

Tell us more about yourself. What else have you published?

I write in a few genres so currently have a set of four steamy romance books called the Cocktail Series. They are standalone stories that revolve around a set of hockey lads who are finding their one true loves—however, each book has a hard hitting underlying issue. Book 1 for example deals with domestic abuse. I also have my Vargr Clan Trilogy plus its companion novella which is an urban fantasy with a strong Native American theme. And lastly I have a children’s book, Mariquita. This is a fantasy for 8-12 year olds—a sort of James And The Giant Peach meets Bugs Life.

Blood and Destiny looks to deal with the character finding her place in the world. What motivated you to write the story?

My main character Eva, is a mixed race new adult that is feeling the push and pull between her duel heritage. The pressures of her opposing cultures cause her to feel she has to identify with one over the other and that choice is also affecting her ambition.

Eva is part Lycan and part Skin Walker and she comes up against a lot of pressure from her brother, Rune, to ignore her Skin Walker side and adhere to her more traditional Lycan culture.

My main motivation for the story actually came from the birth of my grandson. He was born earlier in the year and is mixed race too (though not Lycan and Skin Walker, I hasten to add!). My daughter told me about his first trip to the doctor’s surgery and how the form she had to fill out insisted that he had to be identified as one race or another. She was pretty outraged. How could she choose and why should she. He is equally both races. All of which got me thinking how much pressure there is on people to be pigeon holed and how out dated things are in this modern world that we live. While Eva’s issues and the story itself is pure fantasy, it does explore this to some degree.

It also looks partly at sexism. Another issue that riles me. The Lycan society in my book are very much led by domineering males that are stuck in a 1950’s mind set. The women lead traditional lives and are supposed to be protected by the males. But the Skin Walkers are a matriarchal society and see women as equals. Eva’s brother thinks she should marry a Lycan, stay with the clan and be protected by her husband while making sure her husband’s dinner is on the table, but the man she loves (a Skin Walker) wants her to fight alongside him to protect the shifter races from the evil Clizyati.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read and write?

I am an eclectic reader but most definitely have periods of favorite genres. Not surprisingly my reading reflects my writing, so I often gravitate towards romance and urban fantasy. However, for many years I was a huge fan of magical realism and was obsessed with Gabriel Garcia Marquais. I find that reading and writing romance acts as a great break from reading and writing fantasy. In both cases I love fantasy but it can be really hard work. The romance on the other hand gives me light relief.

What is your writing space like?

My writing space has recently changed. I used to write facing a wall in the study with my back to the door to shut out all distractions and mainly because that was where my desktop is. Earlier this year, I got a laptop and it has revolutionized my workspace. I now write in bed, out in the garden and on my sofa. I find being able to change places during the day makes me more productive.

What projects are you currently working on?

I currently have three projects on the go. I have 2 more installments of my Cocktail series that have been drafted and will be entering the editing phase after Christmas. Then I have a project I have been working on off and on for about eighteen months. This is a bit of a departure for me as it is moving into magical realism. It is based in Iceland in the 1800’s and revolves around the Icelandic beliefs about the Huldufólk (Hidden people). It is a bit of a stretch for me and I see this as one of those projects that will take quite some time to finish as I try to wrestle this thing to get everything to line up.

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Guest Blogs over at AlexMcGilvery.com

In the past while I’ve been posting guest blogs on my alexmcgilvery.com website. It isn’t reviews, but it may help to get the word out. I’m being very particular about who I have as a guest author. Some of them are my editing clients who’ve finished and published their books, some are people I meet on facebook, and some are people who’ve emailed me and their project catches my eye for some reason. If you have something to say aside from ‘buy my book’ that is always helpful too. I don’t want my blog to become a spam feed.

Check it out and if you are interested in guest blogging drop me an email or comment here. I’m only going to do one or two a month, so don’t be upset if you don’t get picked.

Go, check it out.

Alex

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The future of Celticfrog Reviews

Over the past twelve months I’ve got slower and slower at doing the things I love to do (and everything else, but that doesn’t hurt as much). Unfortunately, that includes reading and reviewing books. Where at one time I could turn around two books a week, now I’m lucky to read two books a month. I’ve already put a hold on accepting new books for review. With much regret and no small ache in my heart I’m making that hold permanent. I will try to finish the reviews on the twenty or so books on my list, but as of this time I will be accepting no more books for review. A search for indie book reviewers will show you lists of still active reviewers.

I don’t make this decision lightly. I’ve been reviewing books for more than three decades, starting with e-zines and moving to a great website before starting my own blog. I expect I’ve read close to a thousand books for review, starting back when indie books were just gaining traction and getting separate from vanity press. I’ve met some great people writing reviews and read some fantastic stories. Your books and stories will be missed.

I will be leaving this page up, both to upload reviews as I get them done, and as an archive. If you have a great review of a special book, send it to me and I may post it. If my health changes and my brain returns from its cosmic voyage, I may reopen my queue and start taking books again. But for now. That’s all he wrote, folks

Alex McGilvery aka celticfrog.

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Deja Vu

Deja Vu

Ian Hocking

This is a fascinating book which tackles the paradox of time travel. Saskia Brandt wakes  and soon finds herself involved in a locked room mystery where the only logical suspect is Saskia herself. She is then sent off on a case of perhaps sabotage and murder.
David Proctor is asked to investigate the scene of an old crime and is soon caught up fleeing the police as he tries to determine what is cause and what effect.

 

The characters in this book are well drawn, and we get to see them pushed to the limit, not only of their capacity, but their very identity. The plot guides us through twists and turns of causality while never lecturing us on the various theories. It is a wild ride and well worth the read.

 

If you like well written sci-fi which will make you think, this book is highly recommended.

 

You can purchase the book through Amazon.

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Not taking new books for Review until May

Tall_Stack_Of_Books

It is great to be popular. I enjoy reading a reviewing you books, but I also need to give time to my editing clients, and selfishly, I keep a tiny bit of time for my own writing. So I’ve gotten a bit behind. I have about forty book in my queue to be read and reviewed. I usually like to have maybe ten or twenty books so it is months or even weeks for the review to appear.

I’m going to work on getting my queue under control, but until I do that I won’t be accepting new books. It isn’t that they aren’t great books which deserve to be read. It’s just life. Editing pays, reviews don’t. I don’t want to sell ads because I want this site to be about your books. So check in, read the reviews as they get posted and I’ll let you know when I’m adding books to my queue again.

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Amazon and Reviews.

I have discovered that the vast majority of my reviews at Amazon have been taken down. Probably because I didn’t purchase the book through them, or their algorithm has decided there is too close a connection between author and reviewer. As a reviewer I am very upset, but I doubt Amazon is going to change the rules for me. As of now, I will no long post reviews on Amazon. You are still welcome to post all or part of my review as an ‘editorial review’ on your book.

I know that reviews on Amazon are important to you as an indie or small press author, but I have no intention of wasting my time posting something which never gets to the public eye.

Alex

 

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