TEN-ZERO-NINE

Some book availability updates:

TEN-ZERO-NINE is the psychological thriller sequel to my Rishi’s Wish series. A short, fast-paced read that will leave you biting your nails and afraid to turn the lights off. Get it free here:

Some things you can’t take back.

All Steve wanted was to find the balls to tell the girl of his dreams how he felt.

And he finally had.
Today was that day. A day engineered with no distractions. A day for just the two of them. No roommates. No cowardice. No second-guessing that the friendship they’d built over the last year wasn’t more.
Today was the day his hellish existence would move into the light.

Snatched away by four simple words, Steve’s day turns dark. From one second to the next, taking his future in his hands turns to a speeding train bearing down on him.

Each day more torturous than the last, he’s forced to watch his love slumber through a dangerous experimental procedure. A procedure that has never worked. A procedure that turns her from his friend into subject 10-0-9.

When she wakes, when she finally comes to, the first to survive, Steve wants to take it all back. The nightmare he’d been living was nothing compared to this.

Book Review: The Witch’s Revenge: Myth and Magic, Book 1

Book Review

The Witch’s Revenge: Myth and Magic, book 1

By: S.W. Millar

Urban Fantasy
4 stars

My name is Henry Stone.

Twenty-four hours ago, I was a regular twenty-one year old with a regular life. Over-protective parents, annoying best mate, about to graduate from uni and start a Masters in Creative Writing.

All that changed when I witnessed something I was never supposed to see, and it got my parents killed.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I discovered I can do magic. Not the rabbits out of top hats kind, either. I know it sounds crazy, but I’m a witch. A real one.

Now I’m on my way to a top secret training academy for supernatural assassins—known as The Covert Executioner’s Network (COVEN)—with nothing to my name except the clothes on my back, my parents’ wedding rings, and a sworn oath to avenge their deaths.

I’d say wish me luck, but I think my luck has already run out.

I really enjoyed S.W. Millar‘s The Witch’s Revenge. The Magicians meets Shadowhunter Academy, it was a ride of constant excitement. A straightforward magic system, with plenty of eggs laid for future adventures, I’m looking forward to more. Give me demons, Mr. Millar!

Henry Stone is an oft-times infuriating protagonist, but I find that true of so many main characters. Wanting to slap them is often part of the fun of reading these suspenseful adventures, and I found it true here. Lots of angst, of past trauma poisoning the present, lovers of The Dresden Files will definitely like Millar’s debut. Well-paced, The Witch’s Revenge will keep you flipping pages long after you should have gone to bed. Even after, if you’re like me, you’ll be wondering about his nuggets of reference to Camelot and sorcerers and demons…I’ll be waiting in anxious anticipation for book 2.

Happy Reading 🙂

From the Start…

From my own experience and from what I often hear from other writers, there’s a tete-a-tete that happens between what we want/think our stories should be, and what the story itself has in mind. Right away, when writing KILLING GAME, that became my truth. Daniel was meant to die from the outset–this much necessary point to show Desiree the severity of her situation, and the even more daunting idea of consequence–but continued to live. Dimitri came to life to force that point when the first character refused to stick to his script. So much of that happens in so many stories I hear about. These tales have a life of their own, and any good creator allows them their necessary space.

Sometimes, an idea just isn’t that great. Sometimes, the market knows best.

I purposefully wrote Rishi’s Wish sans a real love interest. Sure, it’s one of the main points that makes Urban Fantasy what it is, but I decided I didn’t want to use it. At least not right away. I wanted this clueless girl to stumble and fall and pick herself up on her own. I wanted her to figure out that playing meek and quiet wasn’t a sure path to the right thing just falling into her lap. Does she receive help along the way? Sure. Are there those who wish they were in a relationship with her? Yes, but it’s not the main focus of the story. Not even the third focus.

Even so, reader feedback showed me these love connections are so important. While I’d wanted the romance to stay periphery, comments suggest this is an impossibility. I have team-Hamal and team-Daniel conversations frequently. Readers want Dee to fall in love.

There is a quick almost-togetherness in book 1. Hamal does pine. Daniel has doubts. Pollux shows interest. Maybe I did lay the groundwork more than I meant to…

This quote from book 1 sums up what I was trying to say. Ironically, this scene got cut:

“Careful your solitude doesn’t create emotional ties that wouldn’t exist if given other circumstances.”

-Daniel to Dee, cut scene from KILLING GAME

That’s ultimately why I never tie these characters together. I was pointing out how not real, or if you don’t like that, how situational their feelings are. Hamal is the only person Dee has ever met with who she can discuss the strange things happening to her. He’s the only person she knows that can truly help her. He’s the only one who’s ever given her any information.

When Dee is further isolated, Daniel is the only one to talk to. While she never sees him as more than a friend, her uniqueness pulls Daniel towards her. Just as that same oddity pulls everyone near her close. Is she some amazing personality people can’t help but love? Gods, no. She rarely shows her personality, so busy toeing the line, hiding, afraid someone will decide to kill her. That no one knows what to make of her, that no one knows how to interpret what they think of her, these feelings are mistaken for like, lust, and in some cases, love.

Not forever though

There is a love story intertwined here, but it doesn’t start to show its face until Born To Die. Hopefully, readers won’t be too mad at me for this, after having their hopes pegged on one or another character. Dee still has a ways to go. She still has to decide which path to walk. Not until then will she be ready to sit with someone as her partner.

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Book Review: Prophecy, book 1 of The Canellian Eye

Book Review

Prophecy: The Canellian Eye, book 1

By: Caroline Noe
4 Stars

Destiny can be savage.

The towering monolith of Erulia’s Prophecy stood for millenia in the watery paradise of Canellia, its warning unheeded.

That time is long past.

In the wake of dying twin suns, this generation faces extinction under the onslaught of an Ice Age.

Then, in the depths of despair, a child is born, bearing a singular birthmark: the symbol of their foretold saviour, Jehul’s Eye.

In a bid to find New Canellia, the Chosen youth launch into space, following their Prophet, Quaylan.

But where is he leading them?

“Long ago, when the stars were young and everything was possible…”
This second line of the book caught me, and while I’m not sure the author meant for me to take so much out of it, I did. It encompasses both the heart-swelling hope and nostalgia we often think when looking back, but infuses the sentiment with the reality of how ridiculous that can be.

“…when everything was possible…” It’s kind of a silly idea, yes? Was the universe different, fundamentally, when it was young that made things possible then that aren’t now? An entire philosophical discourse is reflected in that half sentence. At least for me.

I feel the main characters are tasked thus so. An impossible task blended perfectly with blind faith and pure grit. A wonderful grand scheme that is as fun to read as it is real and clever.

I was especially taken with the world and people of Canellia. The perfect use and creation of, what I imagined as, an elvish origin tied into a sci-fi world that was simply fantastic. The insane travels, the hardship of the first phase of their mission that is as exciting as it is heartwrenching. All followed by the reality of frustration that blending into a new world and culture would bring, multiplied by the questions of if their god and prophet can really come through.

Science Fiction fans who want a touch of something new, read this. People who love stories that revolve around social issues, read this. Love watching the convoluted way prophecy unfolds? Read it for that too.

Also, this book is why you should have more faith in indie authors 🙂

Happy Reading 🙂
~CMM

Our Favorite Kind of Day is Here

It’s Release day! Book 4 is here. I am truly excited to have a brand new book out for you 🙂

Born To Die was a stressful task, mostly because I tasked myself too–undisciplined. I set a deadline, didn’t do any work, then insisted I keep that deadline. I very much never want to do that to myself again. While I managed it… let’s just say I’m still a little nervous that there’s something that’s lingering about the final product I’m waiting to bite me in the ass.

Without further ado, I give you:

Born To Die

Free. That’s all Dee’s wanted since the first. That, and to know.
The knowing came with a cost, but she’s paid it. Her eyes are open. She’s conquered her demons. It’s time to start a life.

Arlo’s unexpected help sets her up for just that. Out from under the influence of the Council, who’ve manipulated and managed her since the beginning, Dee thinks nothing else can stand in her way. But it’s impossible to guess all she still doesn’t know. She hasn’t thought far enough ahead. She doesn’t know she hasn’t even begun to pay.

Leaving Hamal and the others behind puts them in a scramble, forcing them to walk straight into a trap designed for Dee. A trap set by old and new enemies working together to ensure Dee is finally taken care of. These won’t stop until their goal is reached, and they’re not afraid to take the rest down while they do it.

Frantic, Dee is forced to make decisions that leave too many in danger. Every step is a step towards death. Despite her great power, she wonders if maybe she wasn’t Born To Die.

Happy Reading 🙂
~CMM