Book Review: Crown of Ash (Blood Skies- Book 4).

Firstly, let me say that this was not a paid-for-comment type of thing. The author posted on social networking sites, asking for people who might be interested in previewing a book for review, in the hopes of generating some interest or conversation about their upcoming book prior to release. I put my hand up. If I thought the book stank, I would have written that as much as I would have written anything else. So all opinions are actually my own, and do not stem from being paid for my pleasantries… which I wasn’t… because I’m not generally pleasant.

This book is well entrenched in the fantasy genre, but it’s not your average swords and star-crossed lovers coming together under impossible circumstances. The characters are well developed, with no gaps that force you to make up your own back story to flesh them out. The world is far enough separated from our own to make it “other-worldly” but not so far removed that pages are needed to describe the simplest of concepts. The action is believable, with powers and magic having flaws just as any other combat style might.

“Eric Cross and his team have been to hell and back, but their journey isn’t over yet.”

It has a certain ring to it. And indeed they have. If you haven’t read any of the series, I strongly advise you do so. They are an easy enough read. We’re not talking Lord of the Rings trudging to be done here (aaaaaand, cue the hordes of menacing Tolkien fans who want to rip my head off and offer it up as tribute to the Eye of Sauron). The pace is easy to keep up with and, unlike some other writers, I do not find that it goes from dull when developing the story to the world zipping past you in times of action.

Marooned in the remote criminal city of Blacksand, the only way for the mercenaries to get home is to help a local crime boss protect his territories from the Ebon Cities.

To complicate matters, Danica Black is also being hunted by The Revengers, a powerful band of corrupt prison wardens, while Cross himself is trapped in the Whisperlands, a realm of darkness controlled by a cadre of evil mages known as the Shadow Lords.

The team will battle their way through corroding wastelands and deadly vampire outposts, but even their considerable skills might not be enough to save them from the cruel machinations of the Shadow Lord’s mysterious master, a malevolent creature who has manipulated their destinies right from the beginning…

Return to the world of The Black in Book 4 of the BLOOD SKIES saga!”

If you like you fantasy with a touch of reality, try this series. If you like you like a good amount of action served with your dystopian world, go for it. I just really enjoyed them and I think for a light, yet engaging read, you could do a lot worse.
You can buy Steven Montano’s book from Amazon in either Kindle edition or hard-copy.

Writing about Yourself…

… Or: Why Writer’s Will Spend Foooorrreverrrrrrr Writing Their Own Bio or Intro.

“My name is Melissa Nile and I will be writing these posts for you. I have covered previous conferences, blogging and tweeting my way. I will be your resident blogger and tweeter for the conference, so please approach with caution, preferably with a suitable offering (coffee and cake is entry level. Vodka and lime will afford you a single question and answer. Real conversation requires creativity on your part)…”  – Needless to say, this will not be the intro I include.

Okay, let me get one thing straight. I am not a writer. Well, not in the real sense. I have published one poem in a book in my life time. I have submitted chapters of stories that have never been picked up, presumably because they were crap. I have always thought my style of writing was more of an insight into the feeble mind of a something-something than anything worth a Grand Prize. Having said that, other people clearly have faith in my ability to write, at least in certain circumstances. Apparently I am particularly good at covering events with blogging and tweeting. It’s a talent, what can I say? I type hard and fast and never look back. I am like the Hunter S Thompson of the tweet-verse… and yes, this is bat country.

ImageSo, if I am okay with introducing speakers and topics for discussion, why is writing a short introduction to myself so freaking hard? Does it stem from a sense of unworthiness (that is when you feel like you’ve stumbled into a room full of experts and you have to make conversation, knowing absolutely nothing about whatever it is they’re talking at you about!)? Or a dislike of sounding like a conceited clown (that’s when you make your intro sound self-important but then throw in a line you think is hilarious to lighten the gravity, but no one else gets, and so you end up looking like a douche)? For me, it’s a bit of both.

I have a somewhat over-inflated sense of self-worth. I know I’m good… I’m just not quite sure at what yet. So covering events attended by experts in a field I might like to feel “one of the team” is stifled a bit by the feeling I’ve somehow got there on a pretense. I’m not actually this blogger-extraordinaire. I’m an imposter! I have no idea what I’m doing!

This, of course, isn’t true. I do know what I’m doing. I know what I’m doing and how everyone else should be doing it all the way I do it. I guess the fear is that someone is going to see me dither at making an editorial choice, point the long Bony Finger of Shaming and cry out to all and sundry, “Faker!” I will be lead through the streets wearing a dunce’s hat, forced to write lines in chalk on the footpath. “I must not pretend to be as good as I am,” they will say. Line after line, until someone washes it away and makes me start over.

And then I wake up…

It was a dream after all…

Now can I go back to the one where everyone else brings me the tribute?