The Swarm of Reviews

The Shadow Swarm review tour has gone pretty well. I’ve read all the reviews so far, and some of them are great! There’s a a link to the tour page below which has all the reviews of Shadow Swarm so far.

First, a disclaimer, I work for Novel Publicity. So there won’t be any stars for my review here or on Goodreads. For that reason, I won’t post a review at Amazon, but would really love to because I did very much enjoy the book, and would have chosen to be part of the tour even if I wasn’t working for NP.

In this world of indie books, and self-published titles, and small house pubs, I find reviewing an increasingly difficult task. I’ve had my share of blogger bashing, and dealt with hard to handle people. I deal with that in my day job too, and honestly bullying and bashing has become far to common place everywhere (in my opinion).

Why the rant?

Precisely because D. Robert Pease is DEFINITELY NOT one of those authors. In fact, every author I’ve ever dealt with from Evolved Publishing has been wonderful so far. The books are always well edited, and don’t make me scream at grammatical errors, and even better, the authors are approachable, and professional.

Not every book is for every person – but Shadow Swarm was definitely for me.

I’ve found some of the comments interesting. One blogger mentioned not finding the relationship between Aberthol & Elise believable. I clearly must be more of a romantic. He obviously fell in love with her because of the song, and the poetry… right? There’s something absolutely charming and undeniably beautiful about the possibility of ‘love at first sight’ that I found in the beginning of their relationship. While it requires a suspension of belief, I still enjoyed the story, and didn’t have a problem believing in the relationship.

I’ve also read some reviews with remarks about the religious content. While I agree there’s definitely symbolism there, I don’t think its necessary to call it Christian, or anything else for that matter. many books use symbolism, and whether we’re talking about creation stories, Ark stories, or anything else, they are common in many religious, and not just Christianity. So, my ‘official’ thought on the use of symbolism in Shadow Swarm, is that it works, and it works well. I wasn’t bombarded with undertones of a particular slant or religion, the song Elise sings in the beginning of the book is certainly ‘hymn-like’ but I definitely wasn’t offended, and I’m definitely not a Christian either.  My opinion is that you could read this book whatever your religious background and still enjoy it and not be distracted. After all, geeks all over the world love Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. It has religious symbolism all over the place.

The story is generally well told. The descriptive elements are wonderful. The use of adjectives and adverbs was not over done, and the imagery really played out throughout the tale. If I had teenage kids, or maybe a little older, I would definitely recommend this as an entry level book into the sci-fi genre. It’s a saga, and not nearly as daunting or difficult to read as so The Gormenghast trillogy, but equally as intriguing.

Finally, a note about chapters. This is one of my personal pet peeves. I like chapters that are chapters for a reason. The end of the chapter should be an END of some sort. The cut of a scene, and indication that an event is over. SOMETHING CONCLUSIVE. I find with many, MANY self-pubs and indie books, they chapters are super short, and I’m not always sure why.

Shadow Swarm hit it out of the park with chapters for me. There was only one instance where I questioned why a chapter ended where it did, and as an editor I would have made the same choice (to end it where it was). There wasn’t a super clear spot in the next chapter to end, and combining them would have made for a very draggy long chapter near the beginning of the book. This wasn’t jarring enough to distract from the general story though. Convenient though, that it can bring up a good talking point.

What is it with all the super short chapters I find in ebooks now?

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of Shadow Swarm! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Shadow Swarm tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the book:  Aberthol Nauile doesn’t know that he once led legions in a war that raged since the dawn of time, against an enemy that cannot be killed. He doesn’t know that he rode on a dragon with his father, and saw his mother die while giving birth to him. He doesn’t know that he once saved his great, great, great grandfather by defeating the black enemy on the slopes of a volcano. Aberthol doesn’t know that he beheld the creation of the world, as his grandfather eight generations before took the planet ravaged by a war of the gods and began anew. All he knows is that he awoke in a coffin in a tomb, and now the whole world thinks he is their savior. All he really wants to know is his name, and why he keeps hearing voices in his head.Get Shadow Swarm through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author:  D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn’t been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer’s Sirens. It’s not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters he brings to life.
Connect with D. Robert on his website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads..


Depression: STFU

Originally posted on Urbicolous:

I’m in a bad mood today.

Robin Williams died, and it was sad in the distant way that any celebrity or far-removed acquaintance’s death is sad.

And then the internet chimed in.

Post after post of “it’s selfish” was met with the far more insidious psycho-babble that’s so dangerous to actual sufferers of depression.

My bad day comes as a relief, a reprieve from a solid month of anhedonia. So thank you for making me angry, Internet. Let me return the favour by telling you why you should shut the fuck up about depression.

The absolute, No. 1, worst thing you can say about depression, in my books?

“Depression is … ”

Depression is 100% different for every person. A lot of symptoms overlap but they change from hour to hour. And if you use “anhedonia” to describe depression I will seriously consider punching you in the face because just…

View original 1,687 more words

Interview, Cover Reveal & Giveaway with Fantasy Author, Melissa McPhail

Interview, Cover Reveal & Giveaway with Fantasy Author, Melissa McPhail

1. How important do you think cover art is to selling your books?

I think cover art is essential to book sales. A well-crafted cover will tell the reader in which genre the book is classified, represent in some way the story’s theme, and give an overall impression of the world. Fantasy book covers are vital to presenting a sense and feeling of the world. In many cases, the cover is the only visual representation a reader gets.

And of course, we all know that a book cover done well will catch a potential reader’s attention. It’s your best and sometimes only chance to make that memorable first impression. 

2. For self-published and small house published authors, what do think is important to remember when deciding on the final cover for your work?

I stand firmly on the side advocating book covers that support the central themes of the story they contain. For literary fiction, you can get away with more creative (or minimalist) covers that don’t have much to do with the story itself but are artful and visually compelling. 

But for fantasy and other genre fiction, covers should capture a particular feeling that’s prevalent in the story (loneliness, peril, mystery, love, longing…) and give the reader some sense of the world.

No matter your genre, ensure your cover communicates the things you need and want it to communicate, and don’t settle for anything less. The cover is your first communication to a potential reader. Make sure the communication you want is what gets across to them.  

3. Who did you choose to use for cover art, and why? What was your process for deciding on who to use?

With the original covers for Cephrael’s Hand and The Dagger of Adendigaeth, I used an independent digital artist, Kentaro Kanamoto, to create the artwork, and then I designed the covers around the artwork. 

The new covers were produced by I really liked their approach to cover design and was attracted to them originally when I saw a cover they produced for another independent author. They ask for a lot of information about the story and its central themes up front, and then they get busy creating. They worked with me through a number of revisions until I was happy with the covers.

4. How does the new cover better relate to the book and its characters?

It was important to me to ensure that the new covers give a sense of the world as well as some of the story’s key thematic elements. All three of the new book covers give a visual representation of more themes that are central to their part of the story. 

Cephrael’s Hand is the name of a constellation that features prominently in book one, so of course those stars are represented on the cover. 

Patterning is the name of the magic system in the world, and some representation of Patterning is included on all of my new covers. 

For the cover of Cephrael’s Hand, the most central character in the story is working a pattern. This was important to me, as I feel having that image there helps establish a visual concept of Patterning for the reader early on in the series. The new Cephrael’s Hand cover also gives a sense of the time period and setting of the story.    

5. Can we expect similar covers for the rest of the series?

Yes. I decided to rebrand the entire series with new covers. Having all of the books similarly branded as part of the same series is important for continuity and will help readers from becoming confused. The covers also help establish a growing concept of the world as the story grows.

Interestingly, I debated rebranding the earlier books, since ideally once your readers are heading into the second or third books, they’re already committed to your series. It brooked the question if book covers were still that important later in a series. But as I looked at this topic, I saw that you never know at what point a reader will come across your books. Too, it isn’t always the first book that grabs their attention. So great covers are a must for every book.  

6. Speaking of the series, when will books 2 and 3 be available?

Book two, The Dagger of Adendigaeth, was released in 2012, and book three, Paths of Alir, will be available in October 2014.

The Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Cephrael's Hand - NEW COVERAre you ready for the reveal of the new Cephrael’s Hand cover? Because here it is! What do you think? Does it do a good job conveying the fantasy genre? Is it a book you’d be attracted to in the store? Does it make you want to learn more?

Thank you for helping us celebrate! If you’d like to see the new covers for books 2 and 3 in the series stop by, and check them out.

Guess what else? The author is offering a special giveaway as part of this grand event. Check out the Rafflecopter form below (it’s also available at to find out how you can win a Kindle Fire. Hooray!

Oh, and don’t miss learning more about Cephrael’s Hand and where you can pick up a copy—that’s below too.

All things are composed of patterns…” And within the pattern of the realm of Alorin, three strands must cross:

In Alorin… three hundred years after the genocidal Adept Wars, the realm is dying, and the blessed Adept race dies with it. One man holds the secret to reverting this decline: Bjorn van Gelderan, a dangerous and enigmatic man whose shocking betrayal three centuries past earned him a traitor’s brand. It is the Adept Vestal Raine D’Lacourte’s mission to learn what Bjorn knows in the hope of salvaging his race. But first he’ll have to find him.

In the kingdom of Dannym… the young Prince Ean val Lorian faces a tenuous future as the last living heir to the coveted Eagle Throne. When his blood-brother is slain during a failed assassination, Ean embarks on a desperate hunt for the man responsible. Yet his advisors have their own agendas, and his quest for vengeance leads him ever deeper into a sinuous plot masterminded by a mysterious and powerful man, the one they call First Lord.

In the Nadori desert…tormented by the missing pieces of his life, a soldier named Trell heads off to uncover the truth of his shadowed past. But when disaster places him in the debt of Wildlings sworn to the First Lord, Trell begins to suspect a deadlier, darker secret motivating them. Honor-bound to serve the First Lord in return for his life, Trell continues on his appointed path, yet each day unveils new and stranger secrets that eventually call into question everything he knows.

Get it on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever awesome eBooks are sold!