Monthly Archives: January 2015

Review: Gilded


Title:  Gilded

Author: Christina Farley

Publisher: Skyscape

Genre: YA Fantasy (Myths and Legends)

Rating:  4 stars

I’m always on the lookout for a good new YA author or series. I also happen to have a fierce love of Asian myths, so I was excited when I came across this book which deals with Korean legends and myths.

There are the usual expected tropes for a YA novel–love interest, lots of self doubt, problems with friends and parents, etc. The book moves along at a swift pace, however, and I liked that the stakes were high for Jae Hwa, an American-born Korean who is in Korea to study after her mother’s death.

I loved how the book used Korean gods, demons, and monsters. I really hope to see more Asian fantasy out there, and I think this was a good way to introduce young readers to a broader world. It amused me that the heroine is into archery. That seems popular nowadays with heroines!!  I guess if you’re going to choose an ancient weapon, a bow’s not a bad way to go. It does conjure images of Diana. And it looks badass. I also found it amusing that the heroine kept winding up in traditional Korean dresses.

Overall, this was a light, enjoyable read, and I may be back to read the next book in the series.


Review: Shade



Title:  Shade

Author:  Marilyn Peake

Publisher: Marilyn Peake

Genre: YA Paranormal

Rating: 3.5 out of 5  (rounded to 4)

Readers of my blog may remember when I reviewed another of Marilyn’s books, “Mutant Z: The Ebola Zombies” and featured an interview with her. I also read the first part of this book and found it interesting enough to read and review.

I thought this was a pretty good book for YA–the voice is spot on for the genre, and there’s some nice interaction between the characters, particularly Shade and the ghost who lives in her room, Brandon. I also liked and appreciated the gravity of the situation with Shade’s mother who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ve known a couple people diagnosed with this, and the writer got it spot on.  They’re no fun to deal with, and it made me pull hard for Shade to have such a parent.

Thy mystery was a bit weak, but I mostly forgave that due to the ages of the characters. The ending was well done, particularly the aftermath, which too many writers like to leave out. (I’m looking at you, J. K. Rowling.) This book is about being different, being an individual, and I think it gave a good message.

Overall, I found this enjoyable. If you like YA paranormal, give it chance!

Free today through Friday! A paranormal novella

Dreams copy small

The holidays were so crazy, I nearly forgot all about this! From now through Friday January 9th, you can grab my paranormal novella on Amazon for free!  Dreams of the past become a message for the present when Iona starts seeing Mayan temples and dreams of death.



By day, Iona Mendoza is a college student at the University of Arizona, studying psychology and trying to avoid Justin Tabers, an annoying fellow student. By night, however, she is the daughter of a Mayan priest, being forced to marry against her will before the neighboring kingdom attacks her city. As the danger escalates, Iona begins to encounter issues in her real life–or are the dreams more real?

She must figure out the mystery before war comes to her dreams and possibly takes away both her futures.


This can’t be a dream.

Iona walked through the center of the marketplace, bustling with women wearing cotton blouses and skirts or men wearing only loincloths. They spoke in a near constant chatter of syllables she knew she shouldn’t understand, but she did. It was crowded, the sun blazing overhead, and heat of the earth seeped through her thin sandals. People muttered about the lack of rain, the lack of food. It hadn’t always been this way, Iona knew, although she didn’t know how she knew. She fought her way through the busy streets, towards the temple district, towards home.

The palace was a long rectangular building with many windows and doors, two-storied and flanked by towers. There were memories, memories that Iona had but could not clearly recall, of battles that had been fought between local tribes, leading to the buildup of higher walls, grander towers. She lived inside the palace, in one of the many rooms, but she was not royalty. As soon as Iona thought that, she was inside the palace, in one of the rooms, dimly lit by a single window shining light onto an earthen floor. Her father was there, speaking to her.

“There’s talk that Ucit Zok is going to attack the city again,” he was saying, but Iona was only half hearing the words. Something felt wrong, but she wasn’t sure what it was. She looked down at her hands, noticing the brown skin, the calluses and cracked nails. There was a jade bracelet on her wrist that looked like a parrot. Those were not her hands. And yet, they were.

Her father spoke again. “Ixtar, do you hear what I am saying? The city is becoming unstable. I want to make sure you are safe. I’m going to arrange your marriage to Tuk Baal, the merchant. He is wealthy, and he has the option to trade with our enemies or leave this city if things grow worse.” Iona stared at the wizened-looking man before her, wearing a long loincloth and a beaded necklace with some kind of animal claw dangling just above his chest. He was a stranger. Yet he was also her father.

“I don’t wish to marry him,” Iona found herself saying. And she didn’t–Tuk was a stupid, loud man who laughed too much and showed off his wealth.

“You will marry him. The wedding will take place in three days, during the summer solstice. It is an auspicious year.” A chill went through Iona at her father’s words.

“I would rather die,” she told him, but she obediently took the clay tablet from him to deliver his message to Tuk Baal.

Writing goals for 2015

I posted a few weeks ago about meeting my 2014 word goal early, and that much of that writing was in another pen name. So I won’t really go over specific projects. However, I like to post my overall goal in this blog each year, so I will make that statement.

In 2011 I probably wrote about 50,000 words or so. Much of that was in fanfiction.

In 2012, I wrote about 78,000. Most of this was in short stories and Journey To Landaran.

In 2013, I wrote 96,000.

And in 2014, I wrote 146,773 words of NEW writing, for books, novellas, and short stories. That word count does not include edits, blog entries, or anything else. It’s my best year ever.  My goal was 125,000.

So what’s my goal for 2015?  I think I can make 150,000 words. I find that the more I write, the easier it is to write more. Writing creatively is like running–it uses “muscles” which must be trained and honed to be able to produce more. I started with very modest daily goals, and now I’m writing between 750 to 1000 words per day. I’m going to make it a goal in 2015 to have as many 1000 word days as possible.

I also want to finish the next Spirit Mage book, which right now is at 44,000 words. The first book ended up at 118,000 so that’s about where I expect the second to be. I started writing this book a year ago. For some reason, my epic fantasy novels are just harder to write, and I take longer. Fear not! It will be written, and then published.

I’m also going to be publishing the next installment of the Cathy Pembroke series of short stories, “Ogres At Alcatraz Isle.” This will come with a new cover, and I also have a new cover for my tale “Fairies at Fisherman’s Wharf.” I plan on taking down some of my older stories including “A Troll Under Golden Gate Bridge” so if you want it, now’s the time to get it. In addition, I have a couple science fiction tales that I’ll be publishing as a two-pack.

We’ll see what else 2015 brings.