Spoiler Free Summary: In Moth to Flame by C. Rose, Clover Moth gets in over his head as he’s set up to take the fall for hacking his company. His only possible source of help? Valerian is a mysterious bar owner who gives Moth a path to follow that will only make his situation worse. Moth must convince Valerian to help him get out of the situation she put him in.
Character: Moth is the person who shows us the story, but it’s Valerian who grows in this particular story. I honestly wish I had more from this character and a bit more from this story. It felt a tad rushed to me. It wasn’t bad, but I found myself wanting a bit more development from the characters.
Exposition: This probably went back to Rose’s norm for this anthology. It wasn’t bad, but there were some data-dump sections that I wish would have been different. They weren’t excessive, but they were notable.
Worldbuilding: This story does expand a bit more on the lore of this world. It introduces another dimension that I wish I’d had another story on. I won’t detract from this anthology because I wanted a few more stories, but this story took the most dramatic turn in this regard. Valerian’s origins were what fascinated me, and I wish I had more.
Dialogue: This was probably the main narrative device for Rose in this story. It drove most of the plot and events. It wasn’t stilted, but the dialogue was why I felt most of the plot was a bit forced. Rather than show things that could be translated visually, the characters talked. It’s a technique a lot of people do. I just wish I had more actions and demonstrations to go along with the talking.
Description: Rose got a bit more visceral. Where the other stories saw a jump in physical descriptions, this story opens up some other senses that give this story a bit more of a realistic feeling.
Overall: This story put ponderous end to Posh Bytes, but this book still sits high on my list of books read this year so far, even after all the books I’ve read after. I still stand behind my opinion that this book has a very “Hugo” worthy feel to it. It’s great for speculative fiction fans who like a bit of morality in their scifi. I was glad to meet the author and to have read this book.
Spoiler Free Summary: In Clover Fields Forever by C. Rose, Clover is looking for money to pay the rent. The problem is she’s a shopaholic narcissist who’s out of money. Lucky for her, Honey, (previously seen briefly in Eye of the Beholder)has some. Unlucky for her, Honey’s had it with her freeloading sister. Clover’s boss is fed up. Her landlord is fed up. She has to find a way to make it on her own.
Character: This story was probably my least favorite in the anthology. Clover’s arc wasn’t bad. In fact, it was expertly written. Where Supernova had a glimpse of hope and a tragic resolution, this story is tragic because of Clover and her actions. It’s not my least favorite because it’s poorly written; it’s my least favorite because it’s an expertly written story of a character who tragically refuses to learn. Some may say that makes it bad, but that’s more a matter of opinion. A lot of readers these days want to see the character evolve, and so they judge a story by whether or not the characters do. Some times people don’t change, and that’s unfortunate. This is a story I’d like to discuss with other authors after reading to evaluate the options and what could have been done. For me, I simply hated (and I’m supposed to) Clover.
Exposition: Strangely, where her exposition is normally a consistent knock on Rose, in this case, the exposition supported the theme. Readers have to see if they buy off on the theme. Those who do will appreciate this story. Those who don’t will not like it.
Worldbuilding: It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed one of these stories (I review stories in the same order I read them). With that in mind, I’d like to mention again how much I enjoy several stories in one setting (or planet). Add to that some clever character appearances, and I’m impressed. Honey’s role is larger here, but the reader can expect things from her because of her role in Beholder.
Dialogue: This might have been a bit forced at times, but it was never too bad. Dialogue and character are linked, and when one doesn’t like the character, he tends to be annoyed by the dialogue as well. There were some spots where the dialogue felt like exposition, but it never lingered or dragged the story down.
Description: This was solid. Rose gave detail on the things I needed to see clearly, but she didn’t beat me to death with specifics that my mind could just as easily fill in. The last few stories got stronger in this area.
Overall: Lest favorite story of the anthology or not, this is still one of the best books I’ve read this year. While my affection for this story was low, my appreciation for the quality of the writing remains as high as ever. This is a good anthology for fans of speculative fiction, especially those who spend time thinking about the vanity in today’s world.
Spoiler Free Summary: In Shark Bait, from Posh Bytes by C. Rose, Shark is a professional thief who seems to be having a great deal of trouble stealing the pheromones of a popular singer. As Shark, a professional of great renown, fears he’s lost his edge, he strives to get this job right. But when he finds out who his client is, his world will really change.
Character: First off, I think it’s cool that we see pretty much this whole cast in Supernova. We also get to see Valerian (one of my favorite characters) again. That said, the way readers will feel about this story is directly related to how they accept Shark. Without seeing Shark at his best, it’s hard for me to buy his skills given the situations he ends up in. This story will be an adorable love story or a hard-to-believe accident depending on how the readers feel about Shark. I was still charmed by the plot, but that’s because Supernova foreshadowed this particular story. So the way I feel for Supernova probably helps Shark Bait in that way.
Exposition: This story probably has more than some of the others. It relies on a lot of exposition to provide back story I’m not even certain we need. It doesn’t necessarily bog down the story, but it is noticeable.
Worldbuilding: I can only rave about this aspect of the anthology so many times. With several characters in this story having already appeared in the others, this story felt like nice, light dessert after great meal.
Dialogue: I think the reason I like Valerian so much is how uncomfortable she makes people, but also how truly magnanimous she is. She’s like the world’s most seductive, frightening fairy god mother.
Description: This story relied less on description than others. While this gets a tad steamy (in some cases literally), it doesn’t have the same visceral quality. However, this story was clearly meant to be a light counter to the more tragic story that came before it.
Overall: The charm of this story helps it hold up in the anthology. I don’t think it would stand well alone like Supernova would (and another I’ll talk about next week). However, as a part of a whole, placed brilliantly between two heavier stories, it works.
Spoiler Free Summary: In The Hawk, from Posh Bytes by C. Rose, Sparrow is working to recover from an injury to his implant, which makes him a risk to fly. The more he worries over his future, the more he begins to resent the wife who’s only trying to support him. A low moment will test his love, but it will also provide him an opportunity.
Character: I certainly felt strongly for Sparrow, but the truth is I hated him. I can’t really explain why with out spoilers. He was believable. But he was reactionary in everything he did and mostly incompetent. We do meet Valerian, who I’m a huge fan of in each of the stories she makes an appearance.
Exposition: I’ve already noted this is a weaker spot for Rose, but it’s not something that drags the story down.
Worldbuilding: The stage set in Eye of the Beholder builds with this story. Club Lush, the central location in Beholder, becomes a link between stories and a lunch point for this tale in particular. These little Easter eggs are why I’m so pleased by the anthology.
Dialogue: If I’m being honest, this got a little uncharacteristic from time to time. Some of it was more forced than it may have had to have been. It wasn’t terrible or even bad, but there were scenes where I felt like I was being force fed information.
Description: This story wasn’t as visual as Beholder or any of the other stories. It was more a character drama than the others. It still touches all the senses, but it’s not as visceral as it’s brothers and sisters.
Overall: This is probably my least favorite story in the anthology, so I want to be sure you all understand that these comments are strictly related to this individual tale. Even assuming this is the least of the stories (as you’ll see), it’s still a relatively powerful story that I assure you will yank at your emotions. Some of you will be happy about the ending; others will hate it for the way it ends. Though not the best story, it still holds up in quality with the others in Posh Bytes.
Spoiler Free Summary: In Eye of the Beholder, from Posh Bytes by C. Rose Lavender is a distraught widow trying to move on in her life. She’s set up on a blind date, but in a world where everyone has access to virtual beauty programs, it’s hard to find real love. When she meets her date, everything clicks until he asks her to see him without his program, revealing a secret that forces her to confront the idea of letting go of the love she’d already lost.
Character: The scales on how one judges Lavender depend entirely on how readily the reader believes one could be devastated by the loss of a loved one. I, for one, found this situation to be believable. Lavender is trapped between wanting to want to move on, and not being ready to let go. This is her key conflict. She’s not very proactive, but she is sympathetic and competent. As I’ll mention in future reviews of other stories from this book, there are more compelling, more enthralling stories, but Lavender delivers a nice tale that sets up what’s honestly a fascinating anthology based on a singular world and premise.
Exposition: I think this is where there’s the most room to grow. Short stories / novellas have to move quickly, but Rose does tell a more than she shows on occasion. Her gift in other areas offset this issue, and she never dwells in exposition too long.
Worldbuilding: This is where Rose shines! This story sets a scene of a world surrounded by digital beauty and dark, tragic vanity. As each story progresses, the world grows deeper, and there are so many pleasant nuggets that connect one story to another. It gives the anthology as a whole a very Tarantino feel. This is why Posh Bytes is currently my second-favorite book of 2018 (so far). While it’s a young year, and I have a lot of great books I’m excited to read on my TBR, I really found myself fascinated by the concept of this world and setting.
Dialogue: I think this is solid. If I’m being honest, I don’t remember much. This means it wasn’t worth remembering or worth stewing over. That usually means I thought it was decent, but not amazing.
Description: This is another strength for Rose. Her delicate use of adjectives and careful narrative paint a picture that sets the director in my imagination off. She’s better at describing things than people, but when she takes time to describe a person, that individual becomes unique and memorable.
Overall: Eye of the Beholder is a lead-off story for what’s currently a great anthology. It’s expertly crafted speculative science fiction that does more to force the reader to think than it does to entertain. For me the distinction is in the satisfaction I get while reading the story. Most Spec. SCIFI is enough to get one to think; it’s very rare that one is forced to think without falling out of the story or feeling lectured. I’ll be reviewing each of the stories from this anthology individually as I feel that gives them the full credit they deserve. This story wasn’t the one that hooked me, but it was the one that showed me C. Rose is an author who truly let’s the concept drive the story.
I’m happy to report I’ve finished another draft of The Worth of Words. I’d like to take a quick moment to thank my Alpha Readers: Ben Duke, Grace, and Eduardo. Your feedback was invaluable, and I’m so glad you all liked this version. Your input made it possible to take this story one step closer to being what it needs to be.
I’m awestruck with WoW. It’s a thrill to see where I was and where I am now, and stories like this help me feel like I’m on a level I hadn’t previously reached in my time being published. When I get the story out, I hope you all feel the same way I do about it.
I’ll send WoW off to Sara for a developmental edit. In the meantime, I have two new submissions forThe Power of Words anthology to edit and make a decision on. I also have another draft of a previously signed author’s contribution. That’s how I hope most of February goes. I’d like to get the Beta Draft of Repressed done by the end of March. If I maintain this pace, I should be working on Betrayed (Oneiros Book Two) in June. I’ll step away for the anthology, but there won’t be that much more once I select the last few authors and start layout and design. If you’re still interested in contributing, please feel free to send a submission. I won’t close submissions until I’m ready to go into layout and design.
I just wanted you all to have a quick glimpse regarding where I’m at in this passionate pursuit of mine. I hope to have one of my usual book reviews up next week, but the timing worked out to put this update on Wednesday.
There’s only one month left till the (hopefully final) deadline for The Power of Words update. If you’re interested and want to know the requirements and submission method, please feel free to click here or just send me an email.
I did have a chance to review the submissions that were sent in so far, so I’m happy to announce that three authors have been confirmed for the anthology!
The contributors so far are:
Here’s his bio. Writing is an escape, and an outlet.
The job, the family, the things that make up a normal life — these are no place for wild, dark ideas. And so, in the quieter moments, TW Iain emerges. He taps away on a laptop, or on a phone, sometimes at a ridiculously early time in the morning, and gives these ideas their freedom. When he’s not writing, he’s lurking in the shadows, thinking about the next story.
Maybe he’s always existed, in the school-boy who filled exercise books with stories. Maybe he was there one winter, when a first novel emerged around shifts at a four mill (a first novel, like many, that does not deserve to see the light of day). Maybe. But he came to the fore at the start of 2015, and work on these stories became serious.
Since then, TW has published three novels and other shorter works in the Dominions series of dark Dystopian thrillers, and the first novel in a new sci-fi/horror series, Shadows. He also posts a free short story every fortnight on twiain.com.
TW’s story is called Ghost Stream. Here’s a summary:
In the Citadel, everyone listens to the Voices, and it is Cass’ job to monitor this, swimming in their streams. But then she stumbles upon the mythical ghost stream, and discovers how this can be used to influence the Voices. With attacks to the north, and a silent protest in the heart of the Citadel, those above her are not happy. And when she works out how to add her own voice to the ghost stream, she knows they are after her.
But is staying silent ever an option?
You may recognize the name. His book Expedient was featured in one of my Book Cover of the Month brackets. So I was just thrilled when he sent a submission. His story went straight to the theme of the anthology. I was excited to read the submission, and I’m happy to say I just received his revisions.
Richard T. Drake:
Here’s his bio. Richard T. Drake is the author of the Hollow World series of Epic Fantasy novels.
At age seven, in the dungeon-library of his 19th-century boarding school, Richard discovered the classic fantasy gamebook The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and became so lost within the infamous ‘Maze of Zagor’ that he needed to draw a map to find his way out. His love of epic adventure and fantasy has been growing ever since.
He graduated from gamebooks to tabletop role-playing where, as game master, he would invent worlds, draw maps, and weave adventures for his friends. As heroes fell and legends grew, Richard discovered a love of epic storytelling.
Over the next few years, he set to work crafting an original fantasy universe, envisioning a vast array of planets and galaxies bound together by powerful magic, ancient covenants, and the schemes of primordial gods. Finally, the Hollow World was born.
When he isn’t writing, Richard keeps busy with the other staples of a heroic fantasy lifestyle: dressing up in superhero costumes, playing MMORPGs, and collecting an absurd number of action figures and comic books. He’s also a black belt ninja.
His submission is called Catalin’s Gambit. Here’s a summary:
In a shadowy tavern in the slums of Syrentium, one meeting will decide the fate of the city.
Catalin Ruic, a young woman raised in the throat-cutting alleys of the docklands, is about to come face to face with the most powerful and dangerous man in the Circle of Kingdoms.
Her plan goes beyond bravery; it is practically suicide.
But the stakes are too high for half measures. Catalin is the last protector of the lives of her people, and perhaps the very soul of Syrentium.
This is a clever negotiation story I felt had great tension and conflict. It’s clever because lots of authors use fighting for tension. It takes a lot of skill to build tension in a simple conversation. Richard has done that. He’s currently working on revisions based on my initial feedback.
This is particularly awesome as Heidi is a friend of mine I met during my online adventures as an author. She and I did a few panels together, and I’m pretty sure she’s a mind reader. We don’t really disagree on much. She heard about the anthology and was kind enough to send the first book in a new series she’s working on. She’s someone I respect enormously, and I’m honestly flattered she decided to join in on the fun.
Here’s her bio. Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac and wordsmith. She is the author of The Hunters Saga, The Clear Angel Chronicles, The Hell School Series and Survivalist Bible series releasing Fall 2017. She also created Royal Prince Vince, Creative Exercises to Inspire, and A Penslinger’s Ponderings. When she is not reading and writing, she can be found spending quality time with her family. You can learn more about her and her work here.
Her story, Survivalist Bible – Genesis, is a fun zombie outbreak tale. Where most zombie stories feature people who are ironically suited for such things, her story features a character with no business surviving such an event. What does it have to do with words? Well, our square-peg-in-a-round-hole main character is writing a journal of events for others to reference in order to survive. This is more in line with the prompt of the title than the First Amendment, but that’s just fine. It fits the theme.
Here’s a summary:
Gabriel Llewellyn is a writer. He’d like to be happily wooing women during the off hours of a writing conference. Instead he’s leaping out of windows and fighting off people who’ve suddenly decided to tear apart anyone near by. However it’s happened, he’s left a message in hopes that people will be able to look back at these events and remember. His first words are:
My name is Gabriel Llewellyn. If you are reading this, then I am probably dead. Or infected. Or maybe I dropped it while fleeing the infected. I suppose it is hard to say. I hope it’s the latter.
He’s not suited for survival in this world, but someone comes along to help him survive every time he’s supposed to end up dead, but how many times can he be saved before he has to step up?
I’ve already talked about my contribution here. I’ve already had a few alpha readers get back to me, and I’m pleased to say they liked it.
That makes four stories so far. I’ve had a few people reach out to me and say they intended to submit. I’ve had some stories I just didn’t feel were right for the project. My intention is to select four more stories, so please feel free to send in something if you think it fits the theme. I’d love to see it.
The deadline for The Power of Words anthology is approaching. I’ve received some submissions, but I don’t have seven, and I’d certainly like more to choose from. So what I thought I’d do is ask a few questions.
How many of you are actively working on a submission? You may email me or even comment below. This is a project I’m truly inspired by, but I’d like to know just how many people are working to participate.
The above question is the one that matters most. If only a few of us are interested, then those who’ve shown interest can discuss the best way to move forward. However, if more of you are interested, there may be some other factors. So, if there are more of you interested …
Will you be able to meet the Nov. 30 deadline, or do you need more time? I want this project to be successful for all related parties. I don’t want to rush anyone; however, I also don’t want to simply work with the “I’ll finish eventually” timeline. So if you do need more time, I guess the next logical question is how much more time do you need?
In my previous update, I wasn’t too worried about the number of submissions because I expected to receive the bulk of the contributions right around this period. Now, as the deadline approaches, I’m concerned that there just might not be that much interest. This is fine. Those of you reading this who are authors might have projects of your own you’re trying to pursue.
That’s why I felt it appropriate to send out a feeler and see what else might be out there. For those of you who have submitted, I promise I’m still hoping to do the anthology. Some who’ve submitted are authors I’ve already learned about through other projects and blogs. That’s amazing!
It’s still my intent to communicate with all who’ve submitted on the way forward. I feel strongly that eight stories is the minimum number for an anthology, but that’s just a personal sense. Regardless, I’ll send word with the situation and options once I learn more from this post and once the deadline passes.
I’ve been posting about it for a while now, but tomorrow’s the big day (hopefully)! Since it’s the first, and I do the Book Cover of the Month every first, I thought I’d make this post today.
This is the official opening of submissions for The Power of Words.
The Power of Words is a science fiction / fantasy anthology inspired either by the First Amendment or the prompt of the title.
Submissions must be absolutely no larger than 30,000 words. Any entries totaling more than that will be immediately discarded.
There is not limit on the number of your entries. You can submit as many stories as you like. They must be either science fiction or fantasy (anywhere in that range). Please submit the highest quality product you can deliver. While I will be making a content edit on all selected pieces and paying my editor for her proofreading services, I need you to deliver a product you’d stand behind.
Seven entries will be selected to join my contribution. Selected contributors will receive 10 percent of all online sales. They will be allowed to order physical editions through me (Order plus shipping and handling), and authors will be permitted 100 percent of any personal point of sales. Online royalty payments will be made quarterly, on the last day of the month. Please have a Paypal account, as this is the simplest way to make a payment. I’ll try to work something out with each contributor, but life is just far easier if you have Paypal.
All selected authors will be expected to market the book as well. This is important as I’ll openly admit I’m not a good marketer. I’ll do my end on my social media accounts and with book promotions, but every author should do his or her part.
Entries will be accepted from Nov. 1 until Nov. 30. Once submissions close, I’ll post an update on reviews and when people should be notified. Anyone submitting this does not submit their rights to the story. Contracts detailing rights will be sent directly to the seven selected authors.
Entries should be emailed to email@example.com. Please type, “My Power of Words Submission” in the “Subject” line. Please include:
Your name and pen name if applicable.
A brief (50-100 word) summary of your story.
Also please include any titles you currently have published (if any).
I’ll be selecting the contributors. Selected contributions will be determined on the quality of the story and only the quality of the story. For those of you interested in what I find high quality stories, I’ll say I connect best with stories containing sympathetic, proactive characters. All stories will be considered, but I thought it fair to let you know what I find the most value in.
I’ve never done anything this ambitious before. As I’ve said, I’m honestly not sure what’s going to happen, but if one never tries something, one never achieves it. This could be huge; it could fizzle out before it gets started. I fell in love with the idea, so I felt the need to at least try. I’m happy to report I have had some interest, so we’ll see how this goes.
I can’t wait to update you all on how things are going with this effort.
It feels like a huge weight has been lifted. After some careful editing, careful design, and some rather comedic fights with Pages and page-number formatting, I’ve just turned in the PDF of the 2nd Edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter.
I can’t make this more clear. This is not a sequel! One of my readers thought that, and I don’t want to mislead anyone. I had some editorial issues with Bob that I wanted to hash out. More importantly, I needed more control over pricing, sales, and distribution. When I realized I was going to re-release Bob, I made a few decisions.
Get the price down: The original price for the soft-cover of Bob Drifter was $28. Which is almost more than a hard cover for some larger books. That’s never sat well with me. Doing this let me bring the cover price way down (12.99). There won’t be a hard cover for the book, but hard cover books just don’t sell, at least not for me.
Make each part available. I’ve already shown you the covers for each individual part of Bob Drifter. This lets readers try each part out with out the price commitment of the whole story. An Unusual Occupation (Part One of the story) should come out about three months after the full version. Yes, it also puts more books on my shelf, but the main reason is to let people pay for what they want and read what they want. Buying the full version up front will probably be more cost effective, but people like paying for only what they want.
Change the category. There is a magic system for Bob. I promise! But people just don’t see it as an urban fantasy novel. Putting it in the Supernatural and Paranormal categories is simply a better fit from a marketing point of view. Here’s hoping that leads to more sales.
The other good news is this means I’ll have new copies of Bob available when my convention tour begins in 2018.
I don’t have a release date. I also need to contact Archway to cancel the contract with the first edition. I’m a little worried about how that might go, but it shouldn’t be a big deal. (What worries me is if it’s made into a big deal.) Once I get a release date, I’ll update you all. The Ebook will be relatively close behind the paperback edition, and I’ll keep you all updated on that when I have news to offer.
In other news, I’ve heard back from three Alpha readers. All thought the Repressed was good. I’ve identified a few things I want to emphasis before I send it to Sara for editing, but so far, it feels like this was a very solid first draft.
This was a big benchmark for me. It lets me focus my attention on the future, which means Betrayed (Oneiros Book Two) isn’t too far from getting started. If you liked the psychic military action in Caught, you’ll love Betrayed. Dom has a much larger role in that novel, as does Kira and Kaitlyn. The team will have to face a lot of tension on a lot of different battlegrounds. I look forward to getting on that. I’ll finish Repressed and Worth of Words. I’m still not remotely sure how many entries I’ll get for that anthology, but I have heard from at least three people who said they’re going to submit. That’s encouraging. Big things are on the horizon in my neck of the woods. I’ll always keep you posted. I still can’t thank you all enough for your interest and support. I hope to keep delivering you stories you enjoy.