Through the Door, a book review

through the door

Celtic mythology and the modern world collide in Through the Door, the first book in the new urban fantasy series The Thin Veil.

Cedar McLeod lives an ordinary but lonely life, raising her six-year-old daughter Eden on her own while trying to balance the demands of her career and the expectations of her mother. Everything seems normal until the day Eden opens her bedroom door and finds herself half a world away – and then goes missing. Suddenly, Cedar realizes her daughter is anything but normal. 

In a desperate search for answers, Cedar tries to track down Eden’s father, who mysteriously disappeared from her life before Eden was born. What she discovers is far beyond anything she could have imagined. As she joins unlikely allies in the hunt for her daughter, Cedar finds herself torn between two worlds: the one she thought she knew, and one where ancient myths are real, the stakes are impossibly high, and only the deepest love will survive.

Facebook was actually the one to recommend this book to me, by advertising along the sidebar telling me that it was similar to my favourite book in the whole world and beyond, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. High praise indeed, so I clicked the link and decided to wait until the day came that I would own a Kindle. Then I would buy it and revel in Celtic lore. This is something that has always fascinated me, partially because of my love for history, partially from Outlander, and partially because I’m Celtic (my father was born in Wales). The other day, in order to test how Purity looked in format, I downloaded the free Kindle app to my smartphone. I remembered how I wanted to read Through the Door, and here we are. I read it in about two days.

Through the Door follows the story of Cedar McLeod, who is an ordinary woman from Halifax only trying to be happy. When she finds out she’s pregnant, she is anxious to tell her baby daddy, Finn, the good news. But before she can even get the words out, he vanishes from her life without a word. Fast forward seven years, and their daughter, Eden, is coming into some very strange powers, and these powers get her into trouble when she vanishes. In order to explain the inexplicable, Cedar hunts down Finn’s family and finds herself in a world beyond imagining. Continue reading

Release… the PURITY!

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The time has come—

Purity is upon us!

Caitlyn is a bright, headstrong girl with a twisted past she unconsciously smothers into lost memories. When she is only eleven, she is kidnapped by her father’s business rival in hopes of giving up much-needed information. Refusing to talk – and knowing nothing of use – she is placed in the Silver Room, a desperate man’s sinister torture chamber, where she meets the monsters who inhabit her nightmares. 

A lifetime later, on an innocent summer vacation to her paternal relatives in Romania’s notorious province Transylvania, these memories return in a flood when she meets strangers with an aversion to sunlight and bloodstained smiles. 

As prisoner to a condemned prince, Caitlyn becomes privy to an underground world where myth and nightmare are all too real, and where at every turn, a new threat emerges. 

With dogs waging war and men bent on bloodshed, Caitlyn must team up with the unlikeliest of people to save what is theirs, while standing on the precipice of destruction.

Are vampires your thing? Werewolves? Dark magic, mythology, and a world only dreamed of? Heroines out of their element, brooding heroes, and allies who toe the line; blood and bones and an internal struggle; business and politics, scheming and plotting – Purity has all this and more.

 PURITY is now available for sale on Amazon, for a scant $4.99

Postscript: Final formatting for Apple Books, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble will happen over the weekend, and she will be for sale in those places sometime next week. Keep your eyes peeled for further updates!

I’m so excited I can barely function right now 😀

The countdown to Purity

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OCTOBER 25, 2013

 

A friendly reminder to all that it is only 3 days until Purity is released on Amazon. Once it’s prepared for release on Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, I’ll let out another announcement. Friday is the day, people. We’re coming up quick 🙂

Purity: a love story

A tentative but less tentative than before release date for PURITY has been decided upon:

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OCTOBER 25, 2013

A week or so before Halloween, Purity will be released and available on AMAZON. At a later date will come Apple Books and Barnes & Noble admittedly because I am fresh and new at this self-publishing thing and don’t want to overwhelm myself. Judge me not.

I am eternally blessed to be able to show my passion to the world. Though, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, I’m a very odd mixture of terrified and over-the-moon excited to do this. Maybe because I’m still technically editing her. But no matter.

In two weeks, Purity will be available on Amazon.

Knowing when you’ve made it as an author

It isn’t when you start making an actual profit on your books, or even your own satisfaction with your writing and your plot.

You know when you’ve made it as an author when a reader feels genuine emotion for your story.

It has to be for your story and characters, too – emotion felt for their plight, because they’re unhappy with a character’s behaviour or thrilled when something finally goes their way. When I feel intense hatred reading Twilight, that isn’t a compliment to Meyer’s work at all – it’s the exact opposite, because I have no respect or enjoyment from the way she writes or her listless characters.

You have made it as an author when a reader weeps over the death of a favourite minor character. When a reader forgets to eat or sleep because they have to know what the hero will do next.

I have experienced this kind of thrill and joy as an author several times, but several rather notable times in the past.

I got my friend Bethany to read Of the Arbour and its sequel, Of the Arena, when I was first writing them. As she was in the midst of the sequel, I accidentally let it slip that one of the minor characters dies. This minor character happened to be her favourite. She was so upset with me she had to put the story down and hasn’t touched it since which actually works out okay since I’m rewriting it anyways.

More recently, my friend Lexi started reading Changeling. When she finished, I printed off a short story collection, The Time Between, that takes place between Changeling and its sequel, Abomination. She was so upset with the behaviour of one of the main characters, one usually charming and endearing who turned into a bit of a brute, that she almost phoned me to chew me out. Rather than do that, she stifled her rage until we met up at work the next day.

This very day, too, she read a defining chapter in Abomination that upset her. I hadn’t planned this chapter – I don’t really plan anything except major plot points though I guess this counts as one, technically, and the characters just sort of started acting this sequence out. It is a rather heartbreaking chapter, I’ll admit – and I even hesitated to put it in the book in the first place. But I decided that keeping it would allow for a sweeter, happier ending, so it remained.

Lexi read the chapter on her break today. I was putting out magazines when she finished. She found me, crouched down, picked up an ad slip that fell out of a magazine, crumpled it up, and threw it at me.

Don’t get me wrong – there is more to my stories than sadness. The happy stuff gets them too, but the things that upset readers seem to really stick out to me. I’m terribly attached to my characters, and I love it when others are, as well.

Despite the fact that both Bethany and Lexi were upset with me, I feel like I’ve accomplished something great, here. They were both so attached to the characters that when they did something decidedly out of character – or died – it genuinely touched them.

To me, that feeling is more important than any amount of money I might make.

Arranged Love: Changeling teaser

“He loves her, doesn’t he?”

Alistair sighed and cracked open one eye. “Just when I was about to fall asleep, too,” he mumbled, and rolled onto his side. By the light of the fire across the room, he could see Aisling staring up at the ceiling. The firelight cast shadows across her face, illuminating her frown and scowl. “What are you babbling about?” he asked, squinting at her as he rubbed his face.

“Lord Hession.”

“Please, just call him Sonny. He only stopped cringing at his title a few years ago, and I don’t want him to revert back to it.”

“Trained him like a dog, did you?”

“Can’t do less with Cantons.”

“No, I suppose not.” She brushed her hair off her face and rolled to face him. “Sonny. He loves his wife?” Continue reading

Of the Arbour rewrite update, and the similarities in style

As you may have seen with a previous post, I’ve begun writing a rewrite for Of the Arbour. It started out strong and feverish, but now that the initial excitement has worn down a little, it’s become as plodding as the other stories I’m working on not that I’m slow, per se, but I’ve been weathering a slump as of late. I’m very pleased with the direction it’s going so far, despite being only around 15 000 words in. I’m still really excited to get to some of the major plot points coming up. Sage’s final year at the Arbour is only just starting where I’m at, and with it come strange dreams, a permanently crippling injury or two, and a life-shattering revelation. I’m also very excited to get past his time at the Arbour, and touch over his time spent as a mercenary before leaping into his meeting of Maia and Stride, rediscovery of old friends, and the beginning of the main plot’s manhunt. I plan on this being a lot darker and more violent than the original, which was fairly violent to begin with. Lots more descriptions of how bleak and grim of a place Hailstone is.

Not a lot of note has changed since the original, save a few minor things touched on in a previous post.

  • Carol’s name has changed to Thalia
  • Sage has more friends
  • but is more reviled by his classmates
  • He doesn’t deal with this well, and gets into more fights than the original (in which he got into a lot of fights; 15 000 words in and he’s already been hospitalized 4 times) as his way of dealing with it
  • He knows virtually nothing about his parentage (he used to know a little about his father)
  • He’s self-conscious about his appearance—despite being a strapping young lad in my head—and especially his height (he towers a head over most men)
  • Kell, a friend two years younger than he, has become a major character quite without my meaning her to. She’s a fiery redheaded giantess (she’s taller than Sage by an inch or two) with a foul mouth and a hairtrigger temper. Which actually ties in with the second part of this post:

I noticed something the other day as I was writing a scene between Sage and Kell in which she harasses him about his sex life. While he fumbled about in true, head-to-toe blushing, awkward Sage fashion, she sat there with a wolfish grin and watched him squirm. She talks in slang and is considered foul and uncouth by other characters.

In other words, she’s a redheaded Sophia Henson.

For those who might be unaware, Sophia is a minor character in Changeling, who grows up to become a major character in Abomination. She’s 10 in Changeling, a precocious raven-haired girl who has a penchant for swearing, getting her way, getting in scraps with boys—who also happens to be the daughter and only child of Vincent Henson, the pirate king of Canton. In Abomination, she’s hitting 30, has become powerful in her own right, keeps daggers on her person at all times, is known for her brutal war over Canton (during the first year of which she never bathed, so the people would see that she still wore the blood of her enemies), and uses such phrases as:

  • old whore’s cooter
  • meat shield
  • calm your balls
  • son of a cock sucking whore
  • for fuck’s sake
  • what in the holy shit
  • witching slut Continue reading

The Librarian: Changeling teaser

When we were bowed through the heavy oak doors to the library wing, and I stepped beneath the gilded dome for the first time, I thought my heart might stop.

Hundreds of oak shelves, polished and carved with the faces of the Spirits, lined the hall, stretched to the ceiling save for where the dome arched over us. Packed face to face, spines out, were hundreds of thousands of books, bound in leather and names written in gilt.

It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Hession stepped up beside me and let out a whistle. “Wow.”

Alistair grunted and touched the crackled pages of an enormous tome laid flat on a nearby table. “Where do you suppose—”

“Excuse me!” A head appeared over a nearby table. It was a woman—an elven woman—all narrowed eyes and messy hair. “Please, keep your voices down. You are aware of where you are, yes?” She straightened and tucked flyaway curls of bown back into the tight bun at the back of her head. “Who are you? I wasn’t expecting students today.”

Father let out a short sigh. “No, we aren’t students—”

“No?” She rolled down the loose sleeves of her dark dress and gave Alistair a severe stare. “Do you have guest credentials for the day, then?” Though she continued to glare, she reached up and lightly scratched the corner of her eye.

“Er, no, I didn’t know—”

“This is the largest centre of learning not only in Cyril, but the known world. You do know that, right? We can’t just let anybody run amok, especially”—her gaze shifted to me, then to Sophia behind me—“fool bloods and ruffians.”

Alistair pressed a fist to his mouth and cleared his throat. I hid a smile as he straightened his back. “What is your name?”

“I am Scholar Saraid of Oakspring, the librarian here,” the woman replied curtly. “Had you actually taken the time to get guest credentials, I would not have to ask who you lot are.”

A pleasant smile crossed Father’s face, but it was so painfully obvious that it was forced it was a wonder the woman didn’t force us out right then. “Well, let me do the honours of introducing myself, then, since I don’t have these credentials. I am Alistair Wymer of Nallis.”

“Y’know, the king,” Hession helpfully piped up. Continue reading

Whoops

Sorry for the lack of updates for the past few weeks. My better half came home from a month away working, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied with seeing him as of late.

The other day I was walking around at work, as I do, and I was struck with inspiration work seems to be the best place to find inspiration – I wonder why that is. I’ve wanted for a while now to expand on the First Men in the world of Changeling – the ancients to the people of modern Cyril who are like the Romans to us. Ruins of their civilization dot the countryside, and modern culture and government is built on their foundation. So I came up with a bit of a plan. I might write a novel (once I power through all the other work I have to do with WIPs) about one of the last kings of the First Men. It’s going to be brutal and bloody, because it will be set in the peak of their conquering. I’m pretty excited about it, myself. The past is always fascinating.

I’m also going to write another collection of short stories to go between Changeling and Abomination, as a partner anthology to The Time Between. The current working title is Paint Them All Red. It will take place in Canton during the Reclamation, when Sophia Henson conquered the country after the death of her father. So I’m pretty excited about that too.

Anyhow. That’s basically a brief update from my end. How’s everything else going in the interwebz?

Controlled, by Elisa Nuckle

My pal Elisa Nuckle has written an amazing short story for Fiction Vortex. It’s called Controlled, and it’s about dragons.

Not only is that badass already, but after having aforementioned short story published with Fiction Vortex, she won their July contest by a landslide. So that’s kind of a big deal.

So, hey, maybe go read Controlled, because you’re awesome and it’s awesome and together you’ll just be perfect.