Book Review

Book Review: The Reckoning by Kayla Knue

I can’t believe that it is really April 14th! It’s been a crazy couple of months in which my own writing process has exploded. I’m beginning to see the fruits of my labors of love.

I know that each step of this process is incredibly personal to an author, especially when it comes to their debut novel. There’s a surreal quality to every step of the process in which one asks ‘Is this really happening?’. Over the last few months I’ve watched as Kayla has taken these steps, shared blurbs, teasers and revealed their book cover as seen below.

The Reckoning by Kayla Knue, Book Cover

It has been an amazing process to witness, especially as someone who understands both the heart ache and excitement of publishing.

We’ve finally made it to the 14th of April. And today is not only the author’s birthday, but The Reckoning has released for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and other formats via D2D (this include Apple Books, Thalia, !ndigo and more). In addition to these digital releases, this debut novel is available in paperback and hardback through the Amazon Market Place.

I don’t want to give away spoilers to Kayla’s novel, but what I can do is offer you an honest review and a link to the live reading where you can hear the story strait from the creator’s mouth.

The back matter for The reckoning includes the following:

A Dark Fantasy novel with LGBTQ themes. Dark Fantasy comes with dark themes. Some which may make readers uncomfortable if they are outside of their own comfort zone. Including those found in reviews written by other readers:

Beatings, blood and gore, death, loss of a loved one, murder, physical violence, psychological abuse, rape (explicit description), sex, sexual violence, trauma, victim blaming.

If these elements are not for you, The Reckoning may not be the book you want to pick up next.

What I will tell you is something that may not make much sense to other readers who enjoyed the Hunger Games and similar dystopian novels that pit characters against each other in a fight for your life type of tournament.

First I HATED the Hunger Games. Hated. Capitol H, full stop. I barely made it through Katniss volunteering as tribute in her sister’s stead. That doesn’t mean I didn’t finish the book. It just means that I found Hunger Games very contrived and predictable. It needed something more to make at as immersive and captivating as Kayla’s debut novel.

If Hunger Games had broader spectrum of characters, magic, and a Beauty and the Beast trope, I might have enjoyed it and gone on to read additional works by Susan Collins.

In The Reckoning, the characters are not only diverse and well rounded, they’re relatable. They felt and continue to feel real in a way that meant I found myself disappointed at the end. That disappointment wasn’t in the quality of the story telling or the world that the author created, it was from reaching the end and knowing I have to wait for the next installment.

I cried with Harrison in the beginning. I despised what happened to him and wanted to jump through the pages and claw out Jess’ eyes. That or scream at the author for putting him through such a horrific experience. I cried again when he finally was able to feel the love that he deserves.

If you haven’t noticed, Harrison is my favorite character. I really dislike Jess with a passion of a thousand fiery suns and actually hope that at some point Daniel kills her. Mercilessly and viciously! The kind of death where there’s nothing left for magic to re-animate and the remains of her soul shredded. Wait… I hope Kayla hasn’t planned for some sort of zombie type death magic in the future. If so, I apologize for the spoiler! Sorry, not sorry?

What else can I tell you without giving away the guts of this amazing story? Lets start with reviews that have been posted by other readers:

Still not sure if The Reckoning is for you? Why not give a live reading of the first seven chapters a try? The first is linked below and you can find chapters 2 – 7 (with the seventh during Kayla’s stream on Friday, April 16th) below.

I can only hope that you love the story as much as I have and that you’ll consider purchasing your own copy in order to support this talented new author.

Me, I’m off to start a second pass through The Reckoning before I get to my writing for the day.

Until next time!

Project Updates

Why write a book?

I think this question came up more than a dozen times over the last year. At first the question was, why write? Why waste the time? Why focus on writing? Why not try harder to find another job?

It is one of those questions. One that leaves my brain spinning. Why write a book?

I have so many stories to tell! That is the answer.

Another reason to write

Can you imagine? You’ve lived the life of your protagonist in another world filled with magic and monsters or adventures in outer space?

If my main character’s life was really my own in a parallel universe, well efff.. that would be insane! Being a detective hunting serial killers and werewolves? OH MY! I’m not even sure if I could fathom what something like that would be like in real life.

Why write a book?

For fun? To declutter your brain? To express yourself? To pretend to be someone else? To be an actor without having to be in front of the camera?

There are so many reasons to write. It is hard to even just pick one.

Why would you write a book? Why would you share your imagination?

The answer? Why not.

I’ve committed to this process and seeing what comes of it. Where does that leave this sparkly unicorn of a person?

Project Updates

We’re going through changes

This weekend, we escaped RV Resort Land. Resorts serve their purpose. They come with concrete slaps, paved roadways, pools and amenities we’d never use. The best part about all of this for me was getting my new desk set up organized… though my funkopop dolls are not on their shelves right now.

I love the view!! TREES!!!! Not concrete and campers, but trees!

We have quickly learned that resort life is not for us. The last place we parked at full time was amazing. We would have enjoyed more if we weren’t on the ‘kid row’.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore children. We’re still going through the medically necessary steps to transfer our last embryo. While we feel that we’re blessed to live in a time that IVF is possible, it doesn’t come with emotional pitfalls.

In this case nearly twenty of them running wild, unsupervised. The worst thing that happened while we were there included a young man leaning against the patio of our rig and kicking, YES KICKING!! Mr Wizard’s motorcycle.

I probably don’t have to explain why that environment made it hard to focus in and write. 

During our last few months in Resort Land I finished HB90 Bootcamp and Publish and Thrive. Two courses offered by Sarra Cannon that help you get focused in and get shit done.

And it helped. Hello Q2 KanBan board!!! And check it out!!! I’ve got one of those major projects complete already!

I finished the rewrites of my first novel and sent it off for proof reading on Friday.

There is still a sense of ‘Did that really just happen?!?!?!?’ It did. And now I am anxiously awaiting news from my editor who is making a last pass through the changes, commenting on loop holes I may have missed and proof reading.

What does this mean now? It means that my new office set up now comes with a view of trees and an occasional campfire.

It means that there is still a lot of work coming. I need to make a decision on cover art, go through the rewrites of my second book and so much more.

This is where those changes I mentioned last week are coming in. 

I got organized. Crazy? Yes!

In doing so, it’s getting easier to get shit done. I have six blog posts, two news letters and social media posts planned in addition to setting up a series bible to help keep things inside of the White Moon Paranormal Mysteries Universe as concise as possible. 

I guess this means I need to set up a News Letter service?

What else will you find here? That’s not hard. Life as a writer who camps full time can be as boring as it can be exciting. We’re even working out the particulars to host a writing productivity stream that will include a live campfire and maybe me sneaking out to make s’mores. I’m currently running a poll on Instagram in order to determine which chocolate makes the best s’more. I am torn between classic Hershey’s Milk Chocolate and Hershey’s White Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cane.

We’ll see how that goes.

Project Updates

Pet Peeves – Day 4 – And Insanity!

That’s right, it is actually day four of these insane edits. I made it through to the end of my last round of developmental and line edits… only to move on to a list of words and phrases that I over use and ones that I use incorrectly.

Running through this list of words and phrases will complete my work on Exile, my debut novel. From here it goes off to my editor for one last proof reading.

While Exile will be done, I’m afraid to say it won’t be released until the fall. I’ll have my cover and formatting done, get author proofs, but then things will wait for a bit as I plan to rapid release the first three books in this arc of White Moon Paranormal Mysteries.

This does change a few things for me moving forward.

What are those changes?

You’ll be hearing about them soon! I promise! Let me get through these crazy edits and I’ll tell you about all of the coming changes in our lives.

Book Review Thursday

Book Review: Daisy Chains

I love supporting Indie Authors. I can’t say that enough. Often I get so caught up into the traditionally published full length works with sequels galore and miss out on ones put together through the blood sweat and tears of an Indie Author who works to push their book out on their own.

This past November, as part of my efforts to succeed at my third NaNoWriMo I found myself participating in the NaNoWriMo: The Committed Discord Server. It was there that I had the opportunity to meet several up in coming Indie Authors including author, YouTuber, Gamer and Arialist: Kayle Knue who’s first book, The Reckoning, will release on April 14, 2021 and Blue Coutell.

Both writers were instrumental in encouraging me to meet my writing goals and affirm the decision that I wanted to self publish, but that’s not why I’m writing today.

Today I’m here to tell you about Daisy Chains by Blue Coutell.

Released on September 29, 2020, Daisy Chains is available on Amazon as a print to order book, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. If you read on Kindle Unlimited, I encourage you to scroll all the way until the very last page to ensure the author gets full credit for your read!

From the book’s listing:

Daisies grow without any permission at all. Astrid is a daisy, but Ivy is a rose. In the beauty of budding sexual identity lies a hungry dark. Ivy uncovers Astrid’s dark, not realizing she’s taking steps to reclaim her own. Love, flowers, and literature. What could go wrong? Daisy Chains is a selection of short stories depicting a love story in reverse. Trigger warnings: suicide, abuse, bigotry

Blue Coutell

It’s important to heed the warnings as this dark love story reminds us of the tragedies that can occur when the love of a family is not as unconditional as it should be. Because of the content, it’s difficult to review this particular novelette, but you can infer from the author’s own words that this story is a tragic story told completely backwards.

We meet Ivy on one of the worse days of her life, and learn how her heart has been broken. But more importantly, we learn about how Ivy found love. From Ivy’s love of daisy chains to Astrid’s love of Salinger. My favorite episode is the seventh and if you know me, you’ll know why.

In the heart of a book store, Astrid seeks out one of her favorite’s by Salinger and asks Ivy to smell the pages. I’m one of those weird people who does that and realizes that different types of paper have different smells.

Episode Eight: Go On, Smell the pages

It was this moment, after my heart had already been broken that I truly fell in love with Ivy and Astrid as characters. There was something real not just in their pain, but also in their joy that I found myself connected to that I just can’t seem to put into adequate words.

And yes, when my copy of Daisy Chains arrived, I did stop to smell the pages. I always do.

Daisy Chains is as beautiful as it is heart breaking, but don’t just take my word for it. Below are a few reviews by other readers.

I can tell you that I agree 100% with these reviews and then some. They’re simply able to put how I felt reading this novelette into something succinct. I will warn you, that you may need tissues. I know that I did.

Until next time.

Project Updates

Can it be spring?

Fall and winter months in Texas are normally my favorite. After months of adventures in our house on wheels, we’re back and trying to enjoy the cooler weather, roosting season and everything it brings, and taking care of medical needs before we’re on the road and exploring again. The hardest and also most amazing part of this winter is knowing that we may not be cleared by our doctor until next fall!

Somewhere in the Teton Valley near Yellowstone......
Somewhere in the Teton Valley near Yellowstone……

Luckily for us, COVID has not been a factor. My husband Mister J works from home and my job right now is to write, edit, copy edit and get my first release ready for publication. I have to say that the creative process is insane and our adventures have definitely helped.

What I can tell you is the start of cedar season and the hurry up and wait that comes with IVF and all of bells, clicks and whistles that these winter months that I normally enjoy have been nothing but exhausting. Luckily this exhaustion isn’t stopping me from writing.

Now for some updates!

Chronicles of Eden

Supernatural mystery toeing the line with suspense/thriller themes. There are plenty of werewolves, vampires, serial killers and more trying to disrupt Eden Fox’s life. There will be a chance for horror, a chance for gore, and maybe even a little bit of romance on the way.

The final draft of the first installment of these series is off to pre-readers for comments and nit picking before final edits are made and we go out for copy editing.

Comments on the state of Eden’s current adventures include the following:

Portals

In development is an adventure that stems from the rabbit hole of conspiracy theory videos that have been a source of fascination and laughter for me for years. This actually stemmed from videos about particle accelerators ripping hole in the fabric of space and time and even sent me on an adventure to Cornell to explore the particle accelerator hidden beneath the soccer field.

This project will be a long time coming, but the adventures the research will bring could be fantastic as I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of research here and there which will hopefully include another trip to NY once travel and quarantine restrictions have been lifted.

This project will likely be stand alone and has read to other research binges that include topics like Randonautica, UFOs, BigFoot, the Paranormal and more.

MilWordy

My start date for this MilWordy was November 2, 2020. With 294 days remaining I’ve completed 272,704 of 1,000,000 words. I really want to create some sort of widget that can show my progress. Maybe a gage or a thermometer?

Write With Us Community Calendar

There are so many amazing writers and authors out there sharing their craft and encouraging old and new writers alike to conquer the blank page. We’re working on building a resource that will allow authors to post their live streams to a community calendar that will be viewable on our site.

From write ins, live reading of their work, workshops and even just hosting live streams while they write, this is a chance to put as many of us out there in one place as a resource to the community. It’s a bit of an ambitious project, but we’ll see what happens with it.

Camp Fire at Lake Georgetown

Coming up:

While we await the completion of the Write With Us project and get our calendar up and running I will be posting a list of streams that I plan to attend during the week or in the case of Monday next which ones I would attend if I wasn’t wrapping up some IVF shinanigans.

A review of Daisy Chains by Blue Coutell and Blow Out, a Sheer Disaster by Terri Reid. I’m excited to share with you my thoughts and how and where you can find these amazing reads.

Sneak peek Saturday is almost here and I’ll be sharing a blurb from somewhere within the Chronicles of Eden Universe.

Until next time, have an amazing time creating.