Obligatory Gift Idea Reminder Post

One week to Christmas. Remember the ease of giving readable gifts this season! (See visual below for two good examples)
They are great books, but don’t take my word for it. You can read 4 & 5-star verified-purchase reviews on Amazon: http://ift.tt/2nAqbm9 and on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36425571.
Ebooks. Paperbacks. Audios. Pick your format, there’s something for everyone. No, really.
(Sorry, no sweeping political intrigue sagas, no grimdark grit, no bloody horror. Just good, solid characters, thrills, and surprises.)

(Editing to add the review below because wow. As a lifelong X-Men fan, I’m torn. I feel I should somehow defend their iconic goodness but am too busy melting from the power of the complimentary comparison.)

 

It’s here and it’s beautiful!

Welcome to amazing author Debbe Manber Kupfer, who has an announcement so big it’s taking over my blog today.


Feast your eyes on the cover of Umbrae (The P.A.W.S. Saga, Part 3) created by the ever awesome Rachel Bostwick.

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So what’s it about?

Step into the Shadows of Umbrae …

Miri’s world at P.A.W.S. in St. Louis is falling apart. First, Danny is accused of stealing her opapa’s charm. But before he can defend himself, he mysteriously disappears. Miri seeks Josh for help and advice, but he too has gone missing.

Then Lilith has a vision – Miri dragged away by wolves. Miri needs answers, answers that she feels sure are hidden in the blank pages of the book of Argentum.

With the help of Lilith, she travels to the ancient city of Safed. There, with the aid of a mystical rabbi and an outspoken werecat, her omama’s story is slowly revealed. And Miri uncovers something else, a world hidden deep beneath our own – the labyrinth of shadows also known as Umbrae.

preorder-umbrae

Help spread the word:  support my Headtalker campaign!

Add Umbrae to your Goodreads TBR list!

AND! AND!

Coming soon in paperback!

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Save the Date for Savings

July 25-27

Controlled Descent

Weaving Ends ebook Cover

 

Weaving In the Ends
Kindle Countdown starting at 99c
Controlled Descent (Restoration Adventures #1)
FREE on Kindle

 

Calendar achievements deserve celebration.  That’s why I’m running a Kindle Countdownshameless self promotion NEXT MONTH for Weaving In The Ends when it hits its publication month-iversary.  To make sure all is crystal: the sale is in JULY. There are two months, both spelled with four letters starting with J. Ample room for confusion.

Here in my space I can confess I have mixed feelings about this sale. I love the Countdown Deal, but I hate having no way to advertise it. Good online ebook promotion sites ask for 5 positive reviews, and many want 10+.  Weaving In The Ends has none. Zero. Zip.

Basically I’m throwing a savings party without any way to deliver invitations. It’s my own fault, and I don’t exactly regret it.  Weaving In The Ends is a combined edition of two titles published last year. Most interested reviewers have already offered their opinions on each separate story.

So I feel kinda stuck. “Anybody wanna write another review as a favor?” sounds as lame as “Hey, want a sharp stick in the eye?” but I would love to be able to promote the sale with more than just my personal, limited reach.

I guess I lose nothing by asking, right?

Hey, anybody want a sharp stick in the eye? if you’ve read Turning The Work, Joining In the Round (or both)  I would be delighted to see your opinions planted into an Amazon review for Weaving In The Ends. You do NOT have to buy the new book to review it. Just follow this link– Weaving In The Ends –and select “write a customer review.”  

 Much gratitude in advance to anyone who ponders the possibility for more than a few seconds. No expectations. I’m just scratching that nagging sensation that saying nothing would be paving a road to disappointment with passive aggression.

If you’re looking for some other way to earn this author’s undying gratitude, keep an eye out for the FB & Twitter posts I’ll have lined up when the Big Days arrive. If those are the only platforms I have, shares & retweets will be my only way to spread the word.

Okay, that’s enough wheedling for a while. As always, thank you for reading.


PS:
I’m offering Controlled Descent free at the same time because that title is always free to read by anyone with access to the Self-E module from Biblioboard. Why not offer copies to those who aren’t so lucky? And what better time than when another book is on sale? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

PPS: edited for clarity on dates. 6/26 11:30 AM CDT

 

Big News from A. D. Trosper

Biggest sale on books you may or may not have heard of!

 

Many have read these, many more have not. Some will share this because they love them, other won’t because they don’t wish to inflict my books on people they care about. On the flip side of that, if you didn’t like them, share this to your enemies! Plenty of opportunity abounds for lovers and haters alike! Here is your chance to spread the love (or torture those you feel are deserving). All of my books are on sale in one way or another, so take advantage of it since I don’t do these often. The sale runs from today, May 27th thru Monday, May 30th

 

A New Beginning (short prequel) – FREE

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In the War of Fire, death often heralds a new beginning…

Dragons, magic, and war are commonplace for sixteen year old Emallya. Though she longs for the simple life of hearth and home, some things are not meant to be.

Her dreams for the future are changed in a single night when battle breaches the walls of her home, and she finds her true calling. The innocent hopes of youth are cast aside as Emallya steps forward into a future she never imagined for herself.

*This is a short story within the Dragon’s Call world and includes a bonus peek into Embers at Galdrilene, the first Dragon’s Call book.

 

Get it FREE on Amazon

 

Embers at Galdrilene (Dragon’s Call book 1)

embers new cover

“A ray of light, a stain of shadow, shall endure to breathe life and death into the future”

The war between the Guardians and the Shadow Riders ended in total devastation. The final battle killed all the dragons and left nothing but fields of ash. A small clutch of dragon eggs was all that remained to provide hope for the future.

Five hundred years later, the ability to use magic is a death sentence and dragons are remembered as a curse. But the unhatched dragons sing for their riders…and six lives will be changed forever.

The elements of magic are drawn together as the dragons’ call leads them on a journey where they learn everything they’ve been taught to believe about magic and dragons is wrong.

With the last of the dragons and the world at stake, they will risk everything to heed the call.

But an evil from the past rises again. Shadow Dragons ride the dawn once more…

 

Get it for .99 on Amazon

 

Tears of War (Dragon’s Call book 2)

New Tears of War cover

“Old things come again and new things surface.”

Faced with a looming war, the riders have no choice but to leave the safety of Galdrilene and reach out to the nations for help. But the Shadow Riders are doing the same and not all nations are opposed to their rule.

New discoveries are made, old wounds are reopened and betrayal hides among welcoming smiles.

As one nation begins to unravel it’s clear that some choices, even those made with the best of intentions, can have devastating consequences.

 

Get it for 1.99 on Amazon

 

Ashes and Spirits (Dragon’s Call book 3)

Smaller cover

“The incomplete weave breeds the darkness…”

Presented with impossible odds, the Guardians struggle to hold against the Shadow Riders. While enemies from within are discovered and allegiances are formed, the losses mount.

As the war escalates, one Guardian may have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save all.

 

Get it for 1.99 on Amazon

 

Bound by Time -FREE

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Time knows no bounds when you are tested to your limits…

Isobel Moore is looking forward to spending her summer break alone while her parents are overseas. But when she returns home from college she discovers it’s no longer the welcoming place it used to be…and that something sinister now resides within.

As Isobel begins to question her sanity, a mysterious neighbor moves next door with plenty of his own secrets…and Damien DeLuca has the uncanny ability to always show up when the unexplainable happens.

Now Isobel must unravel a past that tests her limits and everything she thought she knew—before the darkness kills her.

Get it for FREE on Amazon

 

Bound by Legend

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When demons show up there will be hell to pay…

At nineteen Morgan has already faced more loss than she can handle and has more experience living on the street than she wants. Unable to do anything other than keep on the move in order to hide from the demons that hunt her, she guards her heart and emotions carefully. But when the demons start talking to her and calling her by a name from another life, things spiral beyond her control.

Lucian, an ancient dark angel who has seen his fair share of lives, is happy being a free agent until he’s assigned to Morgan. Determined to do everything on her own, she’s unlike any channel he’s ever met.

As the danger mounts and a demon prepares to open a gateway to the underworld, Morgan must find a way to overcome her past in order stop him. Offered what her heart desperately wants, and holding a key that will close the gate but open another, Morgan struggles find the strength to make the right choice.

Get it for .99 on Amazon

 

What people are saying about the Dragon’s Call books

The people that were happy:

“I thoroughly enjoy these books and feel anyone that love true Fantasy, full of magic and dragons, will enjoy these books. The characters are richly written and the storyline is addictive. The interaction between dragon and rider is some of the best Fantasy I’ve read. I love the relationships the author has developed between the two.”

“Took a well used genre (dragon riders) but added a new twist that had me struggling to put the book down. Real page turner that keeps you on your toes.”

“All 3 books are just wonderful. From start to finish it will keep on edge just waiting for what will come next. You won’t be disappointed!! These books have gotten me in trouble!! I couldn’t put it down, tried for work as a result!! Dragon Loves must read set. Looking forward to reading more books by this Author!!!”

And the people who weren’t happy:

“Very boring. ….”

“This book might take prize for overall, most cliche fantasy book Ive read this year.”

 

And those that are neither:

USA Bestseller List says, “Who are you?”

New York Times says, “This is a restraining order…”

 

The happy for the Bound series:

“Such a sweet, romantic and action packed story. From the onset, you’re drawn in and intrigued by everything going on. I never knew a window could be so menacing!”

“I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bound by Time.”

“Amazing & intriguing story. From the very beginning I was drawn in & it never disappointed.”

The unhappy:

“The storyline was slow and uneventful with very little happening along the way.”

“Dull…”

“Hated main character.”

 

USA Bestseller lists says, “We still have no clue who you are.”

 

 

 

 

Review: Storm Grey by Sarah Jane Avory

Goodreads Blurb:
Briley the witch and Smokey are back!
Beware of the grey…
A storm is coming, threatening to bring death and destruction to the village of Maepole. Ghroda the forest spirit knows it, and young witch Briley has witnessed its terrifying effects during a vision.
Fraught with worry and unable to convince the villagers, only her talking cat Smokey and the new man in her life Jorin believes her.
But for whatever reason, Ghroda is not concerned about the storm, gives Briley a stark warning:
Beware of the grey… it comes for you…
At first Briley is confused and bewildered.
Until a group of strange warriors from the far north arrive at the village, all heavily armed, all dressed in grey…


The Briley Witch Chronicles series is up to book 6, I think.  I liked the first well enough to give this second one a try. I liked this one too. Smokey the cat is a hoot, I always enjoy a good coming-of-age journey, and it’s an intriguing premise/world.  The writing is designed to be accessible to younger YA readers, well  under the complexity of what I’ve been absorbing lately, so it zipped by incredibly fast. I probably would’ve finished it in a couple of hours if not for a number of issues that jarred me out of the narrative.

I hit a certain threshold of “I’m loving this, but…”  so it goes to a 2.5 on my personal scale and a 3 for Goodreads and Amazon.

But many of my issues are matters of personal preference. The presentation is heavy on exposition and low on explanation; mileage varies a lot on that point alone.

I craved more depth on the background of almost everything. I’m an immersion reader. I love being dumped into an existing setting, but I prefer to know why and how that setting works, not just what it is. I kept being bobbed back to the surfaces of the story’s whats. Things and people were the way they were, with no reasons or history detail sprinkled in to explain them. Why were particular people are trusted or not? Because. Why people are allowed privileges and others are not? Because. Why is the tech level is where it is, and exactly how did systems (economic, social etc)  develop? No idea. That’s where I would’ve loved more exposition. The world is clearly rich, but I felt stuck on the outside of the bubble.

And I know the protagonist is a teen and impulsive, but I got some reader whiplash from her lightning-fast mood changes and continual acting out with the barest of justifications.  I’m not a stickler for the “don’t tell, always show” principle, because after all, it’s called storytelling. BUT. I kept being thrown by people behaving in certain ways, because I was told they believed one thing but they then acted against those beliefs. Other people really like getting full rundowns on characters’ emotional states at all times.

Bottom line: I would say,  trust your first reaction to the Look Inside. It’s a really good story with some excellent twists & turns, plus extra bonus points for some great snappy dialogue. Other elements fall hard into the Your Mileage May Vary category, but the indicators of what those are is pretty clear right from the first chapter.

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Thinky Thoughts

Why I Don’t Know What You Know
(with apologies to Theodore Geisel)

I do not know you’ve read my books.
I do not know you’ve liked them.
Even if you’ve told me so.
Even if you’ve bought them.
Even if you’ve left a review of one. Or two. Or more.
I do not know.

If you made an offhand remark,
I dismissed it as politeness.
If you said it clearly and categorically, I heard.
But I forgot.
Most likely you mentioned it once.
So you thought I always knew.
But I do not.
Happy news withers fastest.

I seldom speak of books and writing.
I change the subject quickly.
Do I seem aloof?
Do I spurn your advances?
It’s self-defense.
Never dream I don’t care.
I do.
I care too much. And so I lock it all away.

Creation is an act of fearsome courage and exhausting effort.
Art draws on powers of anger, joy, and passion.
Disinterest bleeds passion dry.
Disdain murders joy.
Apathy kills courage.

I need my strengths, so I protect my heart by holding it apart.
I keep it safely distant.
It’s safe there.
But I cannot always see that far.
So I do not know .


Sorry for getting all doggerel poetic there, but I thought I maybe should explain it somehow, and that’s how things came out.

I don’t presume to speak for others, but for me, this is how the gig works. Unless you definitively and regularly mention that you read my words and use individually-wrapped examples to detail the particulars of what you do or do not like, then I have no idea you’re one of my readers. It doesn’t stick on the outside where I will remember it.

I am not asking, demanding or expecting anyone to talk about my writing. Ever. I’m simply explaining why, if you do,  I seem startled or unappreciative. Please, please please do not be insulted. (especially if you’ve told me a hundred times already that you liked something.)

I do try. Please understand that. But I won’t always know.


To keep the bad poetry company,  here’s a short essay.

Why You Don’t Know What I Know.

My stories are my life. I breathe, eat, drink, and dream the work of creating and selling the adventures of imaginary people. Their unreality and my reality overlap and intermingle in ways that are difficult to balance. Fiction informs and invades all that I do. It is often all I have to offer in polite conversation, and it doesn’t play well with others.

At the foundation of my happiness is a oiled, muscular monster of ideas so powerful and inexorable it cannot be contained within the fragile confines of social courtesies.
It I let it loose, or if someone else cracks open its Pandora-style emotional container with an ill-considered question like “What are you working on?” it takes flight.

And then it knocks over the lampshades, dances on the tables and sings loudly. It corners people and talks them to death about matters of deadly dullness. I become That Bore Everyone Wants To Escape. (It’s okay. No need for denials. We’re all friends here.)

I’m not expecting people to brave that dire consequence. I don’t expect people to care about my passions the way I do.  No one else could care as much about my unreality as I do.

That’s why I’ve adopted a strategy I call Deflecting the Awkward Social Pause ™  If you write too, you may know these:
“How’s the writing going?”
“It’s coming along.”
<Awkward Pause!>
This is the point where my lid starts rattling. One tiny expression of interest, and I will explode with dull details and inelegant enthusiasm. More often I’ll get one of the fifteen red-flag comments (hey, another blog post there, woo!) that remind me, this is only a social encounter. No one wants to listen to you.
And so I engage in a clever deflection like, “So, what do you think about the weather?”

The phrase starving artist applies to more than finances. This artist starves for affirmation, attention, validation, inclusion, connection. Passion consumes. Art devours. I inhale inspiration from every positive bit of feedback. Hungry glutton that I am, I feed my ego on every tiny crumb of interest that falls my way, and I become drunk on the weakest and thinnest of compliments.

And no one likes a sloppy drunk who eats all the Cheetos.

That is why I seldom talk about my writing, even when politely encouraged.

Review of A Dragon Problem by Rick Rossing

A Dragon Problem: The Dragons of Phelios, Book IA Dragon Problem: The Dragons of Phelios, Book I by Rick Rossing

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a fun book, and reading it whiled away a pleasant afternoon. I recommend it to people who love a good portal fantasy the way I do, and I’m following on Amazon so I can grab the next in the series as soon as it comes out.

The author has a clean, straightforward storytelling style, and the first-person point-of-view in this book brings out the best in it. The setting is a basic fantasy world (magic, dragons, semi-feudal societies warring over territory and power) Nothing notably twisty or shockingly original, but all perfectly enjoyable. The story is YA-friendly with a romantic pairing that never goes behind closed doors.

I would put 3.25 stars if Goodreads would allow fractions.

You may well ask, why the compliments but not more stars? Because I am a mean and horrible person. No, wait, that isn’t it. Because I am a literary snob? Bwahahahahaha. no. I like all kinds of books in all genres, and I enjoy a wide variety of writing styles and levels of complexity.

I am an avid reader, however, with a lot more books in my brain than my Goodreads profile indicates. (I am also lazy, and rating hundreds of extensive bibliographies holds no appeal.) My experience does influence my evaluation.

A book has to have something special to even catch my eye these days, and I don’t start from five stars and subtract. Like a figure skating judge, I start at zero, and a book has to earn my interest and respect one character, one trope, one plot twist at a time. “I liked it” describes my satisfaction level for a lot of good books.

I would put 3.25 stars if Goodreads allowed halvsies, but not more. This one hit some personal buttons about character depth, convenient coincidences, and plot-driven motives (the romantic sub-plot especially) The writing and ideas are good enough I wish there was more than the basics, and that’s where the .25 comes in. But when there’s no one in the book for me to relate to, then it won’t ever get more from me.

Nothing red-flagged;  it’s just a lot of the usual: strong woman warrior who conveniently still needs rescue and of course falls in love with the male hero, everyone trusts the outsider hero because a wise elder gives the seal of approval, modern dude comes in and unites the natives who can’t fight the evil themselves until he points the way…

There’s a reason these are popular tropes. They’re satisfying and fulfilling for many people. I don’t happen to be one of them. I’m bored when the only characters who share my gender in an adventure tale are sidelined and/or treated as a prize–and the stereotyped romantic dialogue made me roll my eyes. Plenty of lip service is paid to the strength and importance of the female protagonist, but in the final analysis, everything she does and says is aimed at helping the hero and serves to make him look good. Yawn.

So. Read the “Look Inside,” and if the main character makes you smile, then grab this one up and enjoy the adventures.

View all my reviews