Ebook Review: B. V. Larson’s “Amber Magic”

I’m currently sicker than I want to admit but the blog must go on! Which makes it about time for another ebook review, this time it’s B.V. Larson’s Amber Magic, the first book in the Haven Series.

Described as a short introduction to the epic fantasy series, I must say that I totally agree with that description. The fantasy world of the series is definitely one of the most complex, dense and vibrant fantasy worlds I’ve ever seen. The old staples are there, dwarves, elves, magic and dragons but it’s the little differences that really shine. In the world of Amber Magic the elves are more like Shakespear’s Peachblossom than Tolkien’s Arwen, and that much variety really comes through well.

That said I have to honestly admit I’ve never been more disappointed with a book purchase as I was in this particular novel.

As described this book is short – too short. The world is rich, the cultural history dense and just when you’ve gotten enough of it in to have a basic grasp of the situation the book is over. This is a fantasy that gather’s a group together to go on an epic quest and manages to end right when they’re starting their journey?

At the time I bought this book it was priced at .99 cents, the next book in the series was prices at 1.99 (which I admit I grabbed before I realized what I’d really bought) the third book in the series was then priced at – 2.99! When I reached the end of Amber Magic and realized I’d already shelled out as much money as I planned on for any whole ebook on what was likely not even a complete story

Let’s just say I wrote about 5 really angry one star reviews which I decided not to post. There’s never a great way to write a bad review but when you’re actually still angry about the issue it’s definitely not the best time. I felt cheated. Lead into a honey trap where they played on the reader’s likely picking up the “first book” at a reasonable price – only for the reader to find out that by the time they actually read the whole book that they’d actually spent enough for a good hardback copy of a single novel.

The book is well written, the world dense and intriguing, I even liked the cover – but there’s no way I can recommend it to anyone.

Advertisements

When To Pay, When Not to Pay: Book Covers

Since I’m on this great self-pub journey with absolutely no savings or income to utilize, there’s a constant struggle to gauge what is a worthwhile expense and what isn’t. How much can I really afford to pay on this book cover? Since I can only muster up so much cash, should I do it myself and pour all of that into source files or hire someone else with more skills but higher rates for everything? Can I afford a line editor? Ads?

All of those questions and more swirl around in my head every day. If I’m struggling with these questions, probably someone else out there is struggling just as hard, confused and frustrated by the wealth of information urging indie authors to SPEND HERE. Welcome then, to the “When To Pay, When Not To Pay” series on Blargle Splect outlining some of the places I’ve decided to invest my limited financial resources and why.

Continue reading

The Eternal Problem

Shyness.

One thing you learn really fast when you’re trying to make it as a self published author – it doesn’t pay to be shy. Or lazy for that matter, my sainted mother has been known to complain that I actually work more now than I ever have before, though I bring home considerably less money. Both can go hand in hand, it’s easy to hide behind being too lazy to cover up a complete lack of social grace.

When your every smile, wink and stammered pat on the back is tied to your livelihood and what you love to do – you’ll get over it quick or die a slow agonizing death devoid of your dreams.

Harsh? It’s the heat, makes me mean/er.

It’s ok to take time away from navigating the social shark tank. It’s also ok to decide before hand what’s an acceptable area to start stretching that social muscle you’ve let atrophy. But what I find helps the most is flat out make believe.

Make believe you’re a social diva. Pretend you’re the type of confident chatty S.O.B. that’s always the center of attention at parties. When all else fails don’t hesitate to spit out the first thing that comes to mind, even if it’s obscene or utter fluff and nonsense. After all where do you think Blargle Splect comes from?

Now go get ’em shy tigers!

Naming Names: Novels

I don’t know about the rest of you but I love a good name. Fanciful ones, really apt ones, names that sneak up with new meaning later on in the tale – I love a good name. Which means I’m also certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that I almost always fail at finding just the right name. Hell I have a whole blog dedicated to the fact that most of my characters start out with the same name: Sarah.

That doesn’t mean I don’t try like hell to find just the right nomenclature for each and every character, book and story. Over the years I’ve come up with a few methods for to help myself out, and on the off chance that others out there are struggling with this part of the process too, here’s my process for naming books and stories:
Continue reading

Ebook Review: Stephen King’s “UR”

Since I’ve been on vacation for so long I’ve run through all my backlogs of useful/less information about my writing life. Seems like a great time to dip into a few ebook reviews! First up is Stephen King’s “UR” a short story published exclusively on the kindle, that was actually one of the first ebooks in Amazon’s Kindle library.

“UR” is a tale for Kindle about a Kindle. A mediocre English professor orders a Kindle to spite his ex, only the machine that arrives is a bubblegum pink which the hapless technophobic prof doesn’t realize is an obvious sign that there’s something off about the device. He quickly falls in love with the machine (how could he not) before realizing that his pink Kindle shipped with a few interesting additional features…

Honestly, at first despite being a big Stephen King fan who particularly adores the man’s short fiction, I wasn’t loving this little short. King has this way of creating loveable characters out of even the most heinous villains but this professor went a different way, deliberately pushing the buttons of the very people likely to find and read this little story: snobby, arrogant, demeaning, self deprecating and a rather boring technophobic bibliophile. He doesn’t exactly redeem himself either.

Still this isn’t a negative review, the Kindle is the thing. The description of the story doesn’t give any hint that it comes from the UR, the world of the Dark Tower. That little piece in the  Tower puzzle is pretty much priceless to me as a Dark Tower fan. That said, the story isn’t exactly scary, it misses that mark even though King’s usual thrilling elements are there they come in far too late and lack teeth to bite you with once they finally appear, but most of the bits that tie into the Tower aren’t terrifying either. Worth it or not? Worth it, especially if you’re a Dark Tower fan who enjoys putting all the bits together.

When To Pay, When Not to Pay: Domain Names

Since I’m on this great self-pub journey with absolutely no savings or income to utilize, there’s a constant struggle to gauge what is a worthwhile expense and what isn’t. How much can I really afford to pay on this book cover? Since I can only muster up so much cash, should I do it myself and pour all of that into source files or hire someone else with more skills but higher rates for everything? Can I afford a line editor? Ads?

All of those questions and more swirl around in my head every day. If I’m struggling with these questions, probably someone else out there is struggling just as hard, confused and frustrated by the wealth of information urging indie authors to SPEND HERE. Welcome then, to the “When To Pay, When Not To Pay” series on Blargle Splect outlining some of the places I’ve decided to invest my limited financial resources and why. Continue reading