Monday, September 30, 2013

Mini-Review: Caleb

Summary:  Educated as a companion to a rich white boy in Boston and promised freedom, Caleb was instead sold down South into the hard life of a field slave. Bought by a new master after five years, he uses his brains to jump from the cotton fields to a soft job and gain the trust of his master, but will settle for nothing less than freedom. As the Civil War threatens, he uses his fists to fight his way out of slavery. After a perilous trip north, he joins the Union army and sets off on the adventure that will bring him face to face with his former master on the field of battle.

Caleb is a historical novel that chronicles one man's fight against adversity, daring to succeed in the face of insurmountable odds and terrible hardship.

Review:  This is an interesting Civil-War-era novel form the point of view of a Northern slave sold south, where he gains his freedom, goes back north, and joins the army just as the war starts.  I found the perspective refreshing, as the characters were realistic in their complexity.  They Southern slave owner whips Caleb for refusing to talk, yet helps him buy back his freedom, coming up with a plan where Caleb can earn the money.  Some slaves preferred the security of their own slavery on the plantation to the unknowns of freedom.  In the North, some jobs and bosses were on par or worse than those of the slave-held in the South, which is what leads Caleb to the army rather than any desire to "free his Black brothers."  My only complain is that words the end, especially, things come too easily to Caleb.  He worked hard and was smart, but it was all a little to pat.  Nonetheless, a good read.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mind Over Psyche Excerpt: Tasmae Kicks Butt

I was asked by Beth Barany if I had kick-butt heroines in Mind Over Psyche, so I thought I'd share a little about Tasmae, who is the heroine of the trilogy.  Tasmae is immensely powerful, physically and psychically.  She's also way out of her element, half trained in her true Talent and saddled with the responsibility of protecting her entire planet--from another planet.  I don't mean the people; I mean the planet.  How does one woman stop another world from crashing into hers?  Ah, spoilers!  Read the trilogy, lol.  I can tell you she can't do it alone--Deryl, also known as the Ydrel, is going to work with her.  In the meantime, she's also been trained as a warrior, and she's really good at that and a bit vicious, as you can see in this scene.

Tasmae left Joshua and Deryl brooding over the last of their meals. Leinad would not have approved, but he did not know Deryl like she did. She trusted Deryl, as the Miscria had always trusted the Ydrel. Still, it bothered her that Deryl refused to answer her questions until he’d taken care of his friend. In truth, he seemed as confused about his arrival as they were. Perhaps Leinad was right that the answers could only be found in the Remembrance.

She reached out with her senses, determined where Salgoud and Leinad stood conversing, and headed in that direction. The earthquake had stilled under her care, and she thought she had a few days’ respite. If Deryl could advise Salgoud directly on the strategies she had tried to adapt, she could take time to experience the Remembrance. Not that she had a choice, but she would do it on her terms.

She found them, as expected, leaning against a wall in the outer courtyard where many of the warriors busied themselves with sword practice. Salgoud’s eyes were on his troops, taking in flaws of step or swing, noting improvements, but even so, he kept his attention on what Leinad was telling him—about the Ydrel and probably her, no doubt. She did not interrupt. She would know what she needed to know soon enough.

Leinad pinned her with his stare. She felt his urgency, the call of the Remembrance—

And I shall, she agreed. But that is not my only duty now, and I cannot allow it to monopolize me. She shared with him a hint of the obligations pulling on her: the preparations for war, the increased needs of Kanaan, neither of which she could tend to while under the influence of the Remembrance. Add the sudden, mysterious arrival of the Ydrel—

That is why the Remembrance Calls! he protested.

Salgoud, whom they’d included in their conversation, added that Ocapo and his everyn, Spot, understood their roles well enough that they could do without her for much of the training. For whatever reason, the Ydrel is here. Let him teach us directly, Salgoud added.

She projected warmth—how often they thought alike. She told Leinad that she would take time to make the arrangements with Deryl, and then—if Kanaan were still—she would give herself to the memories of Gardianju. She felt his sullen assent, turned to go.

Salgoud pushed her into the middle of a sparring circle. She managed to duck and roll to avoid getting smacked by a practice blade. She came up in a crouch, her short sword out of the scabbard she wore and a dagger from her hairpiece in her other hand. The two sparring warriors hesitated only a moment before turning on her. She ducked below the swing of one, scored on the side of the other, barreled between them, and spun toward Leinad and Salgoud. She swung her sword toward the unarmed Leinad, forcing Salgoud to defend him, while with her other hand, she jabbed her dagger toward the warrior’s gut. He anticipated the move, blocked it, and the two stood, weapons locked, until neither could stand it and both broke into snickers.

Leinad, still flat against the wall, gave them the full brunt of his displeasure.

You know what happens when you bring a Remembrance into a ‘war’ zone; besides, we need to work on your reflexes, she chided lightly as she backed more carefully away from her general and left the practice grounds.

The Ydrel and his friend had had enough privacy, she’d decided. It was time they spoke with her.

Purchase links for Mind Over Psyche: 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mini Review: Kindle Book Millionaire

This book covers aspects of writing, self-publishing, and marketing Kindle books, form choosing your topic to what words to include in your title, even tips for making a teaser that sells.  Rayappan is not a fiction author, but a writer and a businessman, who at the beginning at least, hired people to write the books he then sold on Kindle.  Thus, his focus is making the book high visibility on Amazon, especially Kindle Direct.  Non Fiction writers will get more out of this book than fiction writers, as some of his techniques may not work.  (For example, he suggests 5 percent of your words in a description need to be keywords.  So, a marathon book should use the word "marathon" five out of every 100 words.  A good and effective idea if the book is about running a marathon, but imagine saying "marathon" five times in a one-paragraph teaser for a romance starring a marathon runner.)

If you get this book, definitely read it with a notebook or open file to take notes.  (BTW, he's not a millionaire, but does claim to earn about $2700/month on his books.)

Pruchase it on Kindle:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Exclusive Excerpt of Mind Over Psyche

This month is my Mind Over Psyche book tour.  It came out Sept 13 from DragonMoon.  For the next couple of weeks, I'm sharing some excerpts.

This is from near the beginning of the book.  As you may know from Mind Over Mind, Deryl has psychic abilities that drove him insane years ago, but working with Joshua helped him get them under control.  However, no one but Joshua and Dr. Malachai believe him--and Malachai has had no intention of ever releasing Deryl from the mental institution.  In Mind Over Mind, Deryl, while feverish, thought demons were after him (they were) and used telekinesis to fight them off.  This scene takes place a couple of weeks later, in Dr. Malachai's office:

When Deryl didn’t answer except to glare his challenge, Malachai shrugged.  “Thanks to your…demonstration…while delirious during your appendicitis, I believe it’s safe now to admit you do have some unexplainable talents, and that they may indeed be a factor in your emotional stability.  Quite a breakthrough, if you think about it.”  He leaned his elbows on his desk, hands clasped, and regarded Deryl with a not-quite smug smile.

Deryl seethed inside, but forced himself to mimic the psychiatrist’s posture.  He was getting out of this place, one way or another.  “So?”

Malachai raised a brow, and the fullness of the plan pressed into Deryl’s mind even before he felt the invitation.

Still, Deryl squinted, making a show of concentration.  No way would he let Malachai know the extent of his abilities.  He’d always had a hard time reading the chief psychiatrist—now was his chance to take advantage of Malachai’s openness.  Besides, he needed time to think.

Malachai’s name on respected psychiatric journals.  No more articles in rag-mags like Psychic Living Now!

“You want to study my abilities openly…” Deryl spoke slowly.

Malachai on the podium at international symposiums, presenting his findings to his peers, video of Deryl in an MRI chamber performing tricks while the results of his brain scan played on a separate screen.

Malachai nodded.  “In return, I will arrange for you to have outpatient status.”

Deryl being called to his side, like a faithful dog, and told to perform similar tricks for Malachai’s audience.

Malachai pointed to the EEG machine in the corner.  That surprised Deryl; usually, it remained discreetly behind the cabinet doors until he had Deryl’s cooperation.  “It’s the best we have at the moment, but enough for a start.  We’ll do a simple telekinesis exercise and get some preliminary readings.  Monday, I’ll use that data to arrange for more precise instruments.  This is your chance at a normal life…”

Malachai with his own private institute, combing the country for other psychics.  A team of scientists under Malachai’s direction, drawing blood, administering drugs—playing with Deryl’s body chemistry to determine the cause of his abilities.  Seeking a way to replicate them in others.  

A normal life?  Deryl shivered.  “And if I refuse?”

A barrier clamped down so hard on Malachai’s thoughts that Deryl flinched.  

“I think neither of us wants to investigate that possibility,” he replied, but Deryl felt the threat in his bland words.
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