Reviews!

I sent out my ARCs (Advanced Reviewer Copies) at the weekend and I have three positive reviews back! I am so amazingly happy and over the moon about this. Of course you want to know what they said don’t you?

You can read the first one I received from Benjamin Beaulieu here.

Then SloopJonB sent over this one:

The official blurb: 

No one escapes the Wyrd Sisters. Thalia gave it her best shot. She ran away and devoted her life to tricking black market traders out of their money. She could only run for so long. They always catch up with you, one way or another.

Wyrd Calling is a dark urban fantasy, the first in a projected series, Wyrd Bound, concerning the trials and tribulations of a shifter, Thalia. Thalia is bound to the Wyrd Sisters (the three Norns of Norse myth) to perform such tasks as they might assign her. Wyrd Calling opens as she is re-assigned to her fate again after some considerable time on the lam. Somebody – or something – has been killing sirens in the city, and the Sisters would like it stopped. One way or another.

Two things to say here before the review proper. First, full disclosure, I was provided with a free advanced review copy for the purposes of this review, as I am acquainted with the author. I promised an honest review, though, and that I will try to deliver. Second, dark urban fantasy isn’t really my thing, so I’m not really very well up on the conventions and tropes of the sub-genre. All I have to compare it with is a read of a couple of Harry Dresden books some while ago. So, DUF fans, excuse any naivety here.

OK, this is as I say the first volume in a series, so readers expecting to have every T crossed and i dotted will be disappointed. We do discover a lot about Thalia and her backstory as the book progresses, but by no means all, and there are a lot of loose ends left over to carry forward into the next book. There is, necessarily, a lot of set-up as we are introduced to Thalia and her pack, and the plot thus takes some while to get going, but the material on the lives of shifters and the dynamics of the pack is interesting. Suppose there really were people who were part wolf (amongst other things); how would they live? How would they interact? What would drive them? These questions are quite thoroughly explored and the answers require very little disbelief to be suspended to be convincing. These shifters are neither cuddly nor sparkly … these dudes are dangerous, and Thalia is quite possibly the most dangerous of the lot.

Thalia comes across (despite many hints of her great age) as a bit of a wild child; she likes dancing, drinking, flirting, stealing and hunting down victims ruthlessly. Unlike most werebeings in fantasy fiction Thalia has three aspects, and the interplay of these is a fascinating character study. (While the psychology of shifting is explored in some depth, the mechanics aren’t, and I really, really wanted to know what happened to her clothes each time). We also get to see some of – or rather some of the aftermath of – Thalia’s complicated love life, and her two … or is it three? … maybe four … love interests present something of a contrast to one another; the emotional and tormented Alex, the cool and enigmatic Lee (who always calls her Suriel, for reasons presently mysterious) … and then there’s Kit the fae, and I for one don’t believe her protestations that she’s not interested in Dan. Much more to come on this front, clearly.

In summary, fans of dark urban fantasy will find much to interest and fascinate in this story, with a lot of world-building and revelation yet to come, and the question left in their minds after reading will be what happens next?

Wyrd Calling  will be published in e-book form in November 2014, and the sequel,Feathered Touch is already in preparation.

SloopJonB 

To finish the trio, I had Matthew Cloke give me this one:

I don’t normally write reviews for books but Wyrd Calling certainly deserves one. I absolutely adore this book, I couldn’t put it down! Shen Hart has managed to create a dark and interesting urban fantasy world in which she tells the tale of a reluctant anti-hero Thalia. Shen does a great job of teasing bits of information about Thalia, the wyrd-bound shifter, without giving away too much, this certainly left me wanting more! I enjoyed reading the interactions between Thalia and her new pack, as well as the other characters, which you can tell have all been thoroughly planned. You can tell as you get deeper into the story that Thalia, although somewhat reluctant is dedicated to doing what she feels is right, and sometimes that isn’t to everyone else’s liking.  I really like the direction this story is taking and I can’t wait to read the next in the series to find out more about Thalia and her allies.

I have to extend a huge thank you to all of my advanced readers, they’re all stars and I’m eternally grateful for the time and effort they’ve put into reading and reviewing Wyrd Calling. I can’t wait to release it in November!

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First Review!

I sent out the ARCs (Advanced Reviewer Copies) of Wyrd Calling at the weekend and I got my first review back earlier!

A quick book review! I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Wyrd Calling by +Shen Hart . You can’t find this for sale yet, but when it goes up, you may want to get a copy!

Do you enjoy reading books with shallow characters and a barely realized setting? If that’s the case… don’t pick this up. This thing goes deep. From the very beginning, it’s clear that both the characters and the world have been given considerable thought. I read the book and knew that we had just barely skimmed the surface of what there was to see. The main character is not a shallow bimbo or a straw dummy used to advance a story. She is someone with a long, complicated history and an actual personality. We get glimpses of her past as the story unfolds, but we don’t need to have everything spelled out. You don’t get your hand held with the cliché “history of everything told by a third party”. You experience the story and touch its history as you go along. The relationships between the characters are just as deep and intricate as the world is. The people in the world (Is “people” the right word? You’ll see what I mean!) don’t all have the same voice (something new writers seem to have a problem with), wants, skills, or personalities. They aren’t just static pieces that dance to the author’s tune (Dance, my pretties!). They grow and change and the entire experience is better for it. I don’t want to give away the story, but it’s a magical adventure from the very first word and leaves you crying out for more.

This genre (urban fantasy) is not my usual fare, but I’m almost sad I’m reading the book now. If I was reading this a few years from now I could keep reading the next books, which is exactly what I want to do!

Benjamin Beaulieu

To say I’m happy is a huge understatement! I am grinning like a Cheshire cat and bouncing around like a fool. To see people enjoying my work is an absolutely incredible feeling.

I have thanked them a number of times before but I have to do it again – thank you to all of my advanced reviewers, you’re all absolute stars and godsends.

Shen.

Scenes From The Wyrd!

I have not one, but two scenes from Wyrd Calling characters to share with you today! They’re not directly from the book, but they are from characters. They’ll add a little bit of something to the story and your understanding of the characters.

Poor Ryan…

Nik had been sceptical at first, but that was his reaction to most things; I knew he’d come around. It was an amazing opportunity; we were going to be working with the Wyrd Sisters, man! My sister was off on the other side of the world saving some selkie colony or something, while I was going to make areal difference. I would finally show everyone that I did have value and a place in the world. I was going to prove them all wrong and prove that I could do more than wander aimlessly. Wasn’t I? I mean, that’s a big job, they’re the Wyrd Sisters. They control the fates of every being, or at least I thought they did. That’s a lot of pressure, I mean, what if I screw it up? Will I accidentally wipe out a country or something? Fuck. Maybe this wasn’t such a good plan after all…

What if poor Ryan really does wipe out a country? Is that possible…? 

There’s so much more to Lee than first meets the eye.

I didn’t know why they had insisted that I approach her this way. There were far more… fun methods, but I wasn’t in a position to argue, much to my chagrin. My heart skipped a beat every time the image of her face came to mind. I wanted nothing more than to hold her close, to run my fingers over her pale skin. I glanced over to the clock, it seemed to be moving agonisingly slowly. I had some ten minutes before I would leave to meet the draconics. They were thick-skulled idiots, but they would allow me close to her. I wondered if she would remember me, if she’d be able to tell who I was through the disguise. My heart skipped a beat again when I thought back over the times I had hidden my form and watched her from afar. She carried such sadness during those days.  I hoped it had lifted. I had wanted to brush my finger over her lips and feel her smile beneath my fingertips, to whisk her away to our sanctuary. To lose ourselves in each other again, but I couldn’t. As they kept reminding me, she wasn’t mine to have. If I was very lucky, I might get to snatch some precious time with her, but she would never be mine. Not truly.
Why can’t Lee ever call her his own? Why must he settle for glances and brief moments?
Read Wyrd Calling to find the answers to those questions and more!
ARCs are going out very soon!

Sirens.

A little bit about the sirens in the world of Wyrd Calling

“Why sirens?,” I hear you ask. Well, because the Wyrd Sisters send Thalia off to stop a serial killer who’s murdering them in Wyrd Calling.

Sirens are not viewed positively. A lot of people, Thalia included, see them as nothing more than parasites. They’re often found in colonies around the base of cliffs and near bridges on large rivers. Sometimes, however, there just isn’t room or a young siren feels the need to go off and explore the wider world, and that leads to them heading into cities. It’s not such a bad thing when they’re in a colony, as they cause the suicides where people jump off the cliff or the bridge or wreck their boats on the jagged rocks. They can’t do that in the city, although they are usually to blame when someone drowns in the water obstacle on the golf course or that particularly crafty puddle.

The reason that they’re generally considered parasites is because they don’t have a positive place in the scheme of things. They kill people but they give nothing back. Fortunately, they only need to eat once every few years, but that leaves them with a lot of free time to be particularly entitled, lazy, obnoxious, arrogant, and all round unpleasant princess types.

A Favourite Scene.

With the release date being tentatively set for 7th November I’m sharing some scenes and background information which had previously being kept exclusively to the newsletter.

Today I share one of my favourite scenes from Wyrd Calling with you!

Please note that this is not the final copy of the scene. It will be copy edited and proofread at least three more times before publication. 

I had to fight to stop myself from hopping from foot to foot as I stood for a moment and looked around the store, I had to decide how I was going about it. I had, of course, brought my largest bag with me. A shiny thing caught my eye, and I made myself walk slowly and calmly over to a collection of pearl bracelets. They weren’t really my style, but I couldn’t help running my fingers over the smooth pearls and watching the way the light moved over them like a pale cream oil slick, various shades shifting and moving. I was captivated, for a moment anyway. Then it was gone, onto the next thing. A pitch-black silk top quickly grabbed me; it shone deep blue in the light, reminding me of the feathers I desperately wanted to shift. I felt my eyes changing and the familiar painful itch of a couple of feathers down my spine as I looked the top over. I took a deep breath and settled myself. No shifting, especially in public. The top had thin straps and draped itself over the wearer’s body, showing every curve without clinging too tightly. I had to have it. So I did.

Don’t forget that I’m looking for reviewers! If you’d like a free ebook copy of Wyrd Calling in exchange for an honest review, just leave a comment.

Updates!

Wyrd Calling is going absolutely fabulously. We’re onto the copy-editing and formatting stages already! I’ve also heard back from my cover artist which means that I have the hopeful date of November 7th as the release date, how exciting. <Happy writer dance>

I’m taking a short break from Wyrd Calling to let it sit so that when I go back over it I’ll be more likely to spot any little problems, that same thinking applies to my wonderful editor. I’m not sitting on my laurels though, nope, I’m still working hard. I have the rough plot in my head for Feathered Touch which is the sequel to Wyrd Calling. I’m really happy with the ideas and arcs I can ‘see’ so far. I also have the opening scene written. 😀

I’m currently making notes on various key scenes and points in Feathered Touch and should start writing it properly in the next couple of days. It has a very different tone and outlook to Wyrd Calling but I don’t view that as a bad thing.

 

All in all, great news, everything is going swimmingly!

 

Thalia.

This is the digital portrait by the fantastically talented Tressa Green of Thalia! I couldn’t be happier with it. 

Thalia17

 

Tressa captured her sad eyes and the way that she’s ready to rip someone’s throat out at a moment’s notice. The background is where Thalia loves fae bars with their hallucinogenic drinks.