March 2023 Review: Johann by Grae Bryan – love it

Cover of Johann by Grae Bryan

“Johann” is another one of those M/M fantasy romances I’m reading as comfort books. And this one is even more special to me, because Johann, one of the MCs, is possibly autistic.

But first things first.

“Johann” by Grae Bryan is actually the fourth book in a series about vampires finding their fated mates. And yes, it would be better to read them in order, simply because the inside jokes are much more fun that way.

My favorite character in “Johann”

Obviously, my favorite character is Johann himself, or Jay, as he prefers to be called. Jay is an old, old vampire who hasn’t seen much of the world. He comes across as quite naive, really, but that’s because he has such a zest for living that he considers everything an adventure. And he is so clearly autistic in his mannerism and thinking that I absolutely adore him. (I’m on the spectrum myself.)

For example (this is from another book in the series, “Lucien”), Jay actually pokes a cactus, knowing it will hurt. Because the pain means, it’s real and he is truly there to feel it.

He is also mercilessly kind. He waves to everyone, human or pet. He talks to everyone and throws out compliments, again to everyone. In fact, he utterly charms Alexei, the second MC, when he adores Alexei’s eyes (hazel) and hair (multicolored).

Of course, Johann (as well as Alexei) carries deep scars from emotional abuse from the centuries he spent as a companion to an ancient vampire lady. Naturally, those scars will come to the surface during the story, and will be healing at the end.

What I really liked about “Johann”

The story is told in third person and past tense (which I prefer), from the viewpoints of the two main characters. They don’t always alter, but PoV is indicated at the beginning of each chapter. That makes it really easy to follow the story.

I also love how all the characters from the previous novels appear as side characters. You can see how their relationship has grown in the meantime. And even some other side characters poke their heads in again, which is always fun. It turns Hyde Park, the fictitious town the stories are set in (except “Lucien”) into a place that’s populated by recurring people, and that gives it a more real feel.

In particular, I love how the author uses props to indicate the characters’ moods. Jay, for example, loves the little bell on the door of the coffee shop where he works (Death by Coffee, what an awesome name!), while Alexei is grumpily annoyed by it. Oh, and Death by Coffee is a setting that sees much use in the series, as well.

The basic plot of “Johann”

Well. This is a romance novel, so of course, the couple meet, dance around each other, fall in love, face difficult obstacles and have a happy ever after.

In this case, the obstacles arise from both Jay’s and Alexei’s past, with vampires from Jay’s old, awful den causing most of the trouble. Turns out that there are agreements which Jay decided to keep secret, because he wanted to pretend he was free – for a year. And when a vampire comes to collect, things get dire quickly, with Alexei paying the price.

Even so, the story is never totally brutal or gory. This is cozy fantasy, in a way, which is why I enjoy reading it. Right now, I cannot deal with dark or too harrowing.

If you enjoyed the books by AJ Sherwood that I mentioned earlier, you’ll love Johann and the entire series. Definitely recommend!

The book is in Kindle Unlimited, you can grab it here: Johann

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Progress Report March 2023 – the good and the bad

ArtBreeder Header for the Progress Report March 2023

Progress Report for the last four weeks or so. Writing has been difficult, as it has been for the last year or so, but I have a new aspect to consider.

You see, I’ve known for a about a year now that I’m very likely on the autism spectrum. I’m still figuring out what exactly that means, of course. Even so, it seems I’m sliding into Autistic Burnout. Recognizing this is the biggest step of all, because now I can set a course to getting better.

Unfortunately, this will affect the Winds and Pillar series, because the most important step is reducing stress.

Progress Report for the Winds of Destiny/Pillars of the Empire series

I have been writing Sun’s story for a few weeks now, making very slow progress. Annoyingly slow progress. In fact, I have been so fed up with his stalling tactics (poor guy is rather embarrassed) that I started the story of Moon.

And Moon, let me tell you, has a plan. In fact, she has spent years planning her escape, and once she moves, she is unstoppable. Or so she thinks. (I’m starting to really like her, as well, even though she is so different from everyone else.) And I just thought of a really neat plot point, too.

Now for the bad news. I did mention Autistic Burnout and reducing stress, didn’t I?

That means I will not release the next book in the series in April. Instead, I’ll take a bit more time to get “Earth Splits” all sorted and polished, and I’ll publish it in May. I’m really sorry about that, but this is actually such a relief. I hope this will make writing fun again.

Dragons Progress Report

I’m slowly, meticulously pondering an update for “Dorelle’s Journey”. I did write a prequel about how Dorelle ever met Mashira and gained her place among the dragonriders. I’m thinking about merging it with the journey book, add another chapter or two, and releasing a new book called “Dorelle’s Dragon”, to replace the old first book in the series.

And I’d love to get a really good cover for it.

Now, this is big for me, and I worry about upsetting my readers. Let me know what you think okay?

Proofreading / Editing Progress Report

I’m booked for March and possibly April. I have openings after that. I prefer editing fantasy, feel-good stories and funny tales. If you’re interested, check out my editing offers. There’s a form to fill in, if you want to connect with me.

The Newsletter Popup (not a Progress Report)

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Progress Report February 2023

Landscape created with ArtBreeder for entertainment purposes for the Progress Report. It shows a dreary valley with broken trees and a strange crystal growing out of the ground on the right. A green tree on the left offers hope.

This is the Progress Report for the end of January and the beginning of February. I write these primarily for my newsletter, so expect them on or just before every 13th of the month. (Of course, you also also simply subscribe to the newsletter, there’s a form at the bottom. You’re welcome.)

I’m still having trouble writing more than a few hundred words every day. This is frustrating, but right now, it is what it is. I’m working to rebuild energy and creativity, but I really haven’t found the right potion for that just now. If you know a mage who sells them, let me know.

The image above does reflect my bleary emotional landscape right now. At least the days are getting longer and I really hope that once we make it out of the gray darkness that is winter these days, some of my energy will return.

Progress Report for the Winds of Destiny/Pillars of the Empire series

North Shatters Cover

The biggest news first: North Shatters has been released!

I did get the book up yesterday and it’s finally available in all stores (yes, Apple, looking at you, with your snail-speed servers). Print will take a little longer this time, my cover designer is still working on that.

North was tricky to write. She is basically rescued by a Priest who quickly becomes her love interest, a guy called Varden, with dark red hair and lovely green eyes.

When they just lounged around in the icy wilderness with no interest in moving, I had to get them into trouble, and then I had to rip Varden away from her. Yet I didn’t want to kill him, either. So I found another way to send him packing and give North the space to find her new family and grow. That was great fun, and to my surprise, she discovered something that developed into a huge plot point. You’ll see…

Oh, grab the book here, with a clever Books2Read link so you can pick your favorite store: North Shatters

It’s the final book about the Winds and the series will continue with the Pillars of the Empire books next. I’m planning to release Earth Splits in April. The story is basically all written, except for the showdown which I need to revisit and change. It will be fun because she (and her lover) will end up in Iceburg and meet North. (Mwuahahahahaha.)

Sky’s book is also basically done (Sky Falls), I still have to make some tweaks and tied up loose ends for side characters that I brought in and then sort of lost along the way. That’s no good, but there is plenty of time to clean that up.

Right now, I’m writing Sun Burns, and dear gods, this afternoon I had some nasty ideas for the poor guy. He’ll go through hell (don’t they all?).

Also this morning, when chatting with my author friend in our mastermind meeting, I discovered who Moon Owl is (Moon Rises, Book 8). She’s going to be so much fun to write. I just hope you won’t hate her, she’s the kind of person that will be easy to hate. (Not that I can really write hateful main characters never fear.)

Dragons Progress Report

There is the Marick story, aka Dragon Pawn, set in the Cloud Lands Beginnings. It’s very close to completion, but my focus hasn’t been there. Do you want it? Let me know.

Mastodon Progress Report

Yes, Mastodon. Because that has very quickly become my favorite place on the interwebs. Seriously. Come on over there. The #WritingCommunity is strong and full of good people. You see, the trolls simply get blocked and there is no algorithm to push their posts. They just fade away.

Did I say come on over? Please. Do and chat with all the great authors there. You might rediscover the joy we all had in the early days of the www.

You’ll find me here: Firlefanz on Mastodon

Yes, I’m still on Facebook, and I won’t leave anytime soon. There’s my fan group – Hannah’s Dragonriders – but my author page is pretty dead, their algos killed any reach and I’m not a posting slave. I have writing to do, even if it *mumble mumble*, well. I have writing to do.

Proofreading Progress Report

I’ll be busy for the end of February/early March, but I have room for a client after that. I’m not taking on a lot of clients – you did see me talk about not having a lot of energy, right? – but I’m willing to work with one more person in March.

Let me know if you’re interested. (Err. Hop on over here.)

The Newsletter Pop-up. (Kind of a Progress Report)

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February 2023 Review: Magic and the Shinigami Detective by Honor Raconteur

Cover of Magic and the Shimigami Detective by Honor Raconteur (Book 1 of The Case Files of Henri Davenforth)

“Magic and the Shinigami Detective” is the first book in an ongoing series of detective cases in a world were magic and steampunk mix, The Case Files of Henri Davenforth.

Henri is a Magical Examiner, a very smart mage, but alas, not a very powerful one. He is also a bit of a hermit, a clever sleuth and very proud of the fact that he scored top of the academy in his exams. Not even the Court Mage beat him.

In his first case, he teams up with a somewhat mysterious woman who is mostly famous for killing the worst rogue witch the world has seen. She is both feared and hated by his colleagues, especially as she is very good at what she does.

Jamie Edwards, on the other hand, knows very well who she is and what she can do, but she is new to this world (as we find out in a prologue and in her chapters). She adores Henri because he can actually accept that she knows what she is doing.

Together, they have to stop a band of thieves who get through every magical ward with brute force. Soon, Henri and Jamie find themselves in a race against time to uncover the mastermind and stop that gang from reaching their ultimate target – which may or may not be the Royal Palace.

What I like about “Magic and the Shinigami Detective”

This is very much a Sherlock Holmes and Watson series, with two partners solving crime in a steampunk world – except they are more balanced than Holmes and Watson. Henri is very much the thinker and magic expert, Jamie is much more the active one who beats up people. I do like that the woman is the one who goes on the offensive if needed.

I love the way Jamie leaves comments on Henri’s reports, mostly ones that absolutely baffle him because they are references to her world (ours). She does play with a lot of current (or not so current, this book came out in 2018) entertainment tropes that of course, fly way over Henri’s head. This is rather quirky stuff done in different fonts, and I really love how that breaks up the usual somewhat boring e-Reader books.

The entire tone of the book leans towards cozy, even though bad things happen and some people are blatantly nasty. It’s a feel-good story in the best sense.

What I didn’t like about “Magic and the Shinigami Detective”

Yes, it is cozy fantasy/mystery, and yes, that means that the world can get hilarious and silly. And yet I wish some of the side characters had a bit more nuance to them. Many of them are fairly cardboard, especially the misogynistic ones in the police system.

I also miss a bit of the fun that Honor Raconteur’s more steamy books (which she writes under different pen names) have. These are more regular fantasy stories, not boring, but also with less… irreverent fun. I was looking for that and didn’t quite find it. Which is totally on me.

Where can you get “Magic and the Shinigami Detective”?

This book – and the entire series – are in Kindle Unlimited. That means you can read them for free if you have a subscription (yes, the author does get paid for that, no worries), or you can buy them on Amazon, and only on Amazon.

Here’s the link to the COM store, you may have to change the country extension to get to yours: Magic and the Shinigami Detective by Honor Raconteur

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Must Read Review: Forsaken Fae by RA Steffan

Forsaken Fae series image, showing a boxed set of hard-cover books.

The Forsaken Fae is an enemy to lovers story, set in a world where Earth intersects with Dhuinne and Hell – home of the Fae and the Demons, respectively.

Of course, Earth is caught in the middle of an epic war between the Fae and the Demons. And Len Greyson has been dragged into the fight, first by his ex-coworker Zorah Bright, then by his boss Guthrie Leonides and of course, his other ex-coworker Vonnie Morgan.

You’ll find those stories in The Last Vampire series and Vampire Bound series (and yeah, you kinda should read those first, there’s a catch). They are worth it.

So why am I going to talk about Forsaken Fae instead of the other two series?

Because this series is something else. It starts out with quite a funny scene – two vampires knocking on Len’s door with an unconscious Fae slung between them. It quickly becomes a fast-paced ride into heart-break land with ultra high stakes.

I love how this whole tale is told entirely from Len’s point of view, with plenty of snarky comments and little detours inside his agile mind. Not to mention all the guilt and trauma he has to work through, both old and new. Len is a mess, gay, bondage rigger, drug addict, seer of ghosts. And yet, despite knowing better, he gives everything and more to help his friends.

What I love about Forsaken Fae

Some of my favorite moments were the scenes where Len and the annoying, arrogant and irritating Fae Albigard are beginning to bond, especially after they literally came to blows in the earlier series. Len really has a kind heard – and he pays for that.

I also very much enjoyed learning more about Albigard’s history, as painful as it is. Step by agonizing step, it becomes clear why he is (NOT!) a friend of the vampire Ransley Thorpe or why he cooperates with Nigellus, the Demon. Why he goes against the Unseelie Court and actively works to thwart their plans. And it costs him. Dearly.

Now, if you like intense tales, if M/M love and sex don’t phase you, if you enjoy some gentle bondage set in a paranormal world with high stakes, if you feel like visiting Dhuinne and find out about Fae magic (and necromancer magic while you’re at it), then you should pick up this series. (Possibly after reading the other two, though.)

This series gets 7 of 5 stars, totally recommend.

Where to get Foresaken Fae

Find the Forsake Fae and the other series HERE (they are in Kindle Unlimited, if that appeals to you.) This is a set of three boxed sets, lots and lots to read for you.

There’s also a follow-up series, The Sixth Demon, which is about Nigellus. I started to read it, and it’s not quite as intense as the Forsaken Fae. It switches between two points of view, the reason for which becomes painfully obvious at the end of book 3. Book 4 comes out in May, and I would suggest holding off until then, just to save yourself some sleepless nights. Fair warning. (Now get out of my head, Nigellus!)

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You’ll get some writing news, new book news, some book promotions, a review and – last but not least – an Ember tale. Ember is my cute little red dragon familiar (don’t tell her she’s a plushie, she’ll flame you!), and she’s responsible for the pet content in my newsletter.

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Progress Report January 2023

Progress Report for January 2023

This is the usual progress report, this time for the rest of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. The image is an Artbreeder AI generated one. It is a poignant reminder that we’re set to loose almost all glaciers on Earth… but I’m digressing.

To be honest, not much has changed, although I do have a new book out. That deserves its own little paragraph of fame, because it has a bit of a story right there.

I’m also playing therapist tricks on myself (you may or may not know that I am a trained therapist), mostly to improve my mood and sense of self. It’s starting to work, I’m happy to report.

In addition, I’m using my new daylight lamp in the mornings (as much as I can with having to be in the office for two days a week for the day job). Need to resume the walks in the park, but the weather has been rather beastly for weeks.

New Book Release Progress Report

Okay, new “book” is a bit overblown, it’s a little short story I published this week after the rights reverted back to me.

“The Backup” is a sweet little SF story that I wrote in 2018 for Neil A. Hogan. Yes, the man running Alien Dimensions, among other things. He published it in 2019, in his “Fantasy Short Stories Anthology Series Book 2”. Don’t bother looking it up, it’s no longer available. Neil took it down after the rights reverted to the authors.

I was reminded of that anthology last week and realized I could publish the story myself. So I looked around on Depositphotos for an image I could use for a cover, found something awesome, grabbed it and did the typography myself. Here you go:

The Livingstone is in serious trouble.

Emmaley’s brain is handing her one scenario worse than the other. Unless they find oxygen soon, she’ll have to freeze the crew to survive. If they get back, she’ll rip the repair yard mechanic a new one. If.

Being a rogue out in space isn’t easy, but Emmaley has managed to get out of scrapes before. This time, however, it looks bad. Their only chance is an unknown planet, and the best they can hope for are some slimy algae. But how come it looks like Earth?

This is a hopepunk SF short story with an ecological twist. If you like a glimpse of an optimistic future, an environmental mystery, some native lore and a surprise ending, this book is for you.

Grab the book here: Books2Read buy links

Progress Report for the Winds of Destiny/Pillars of the Empire

I’m still writing Sky, although I’m moving in on the big showdown. And yes, there’s a certain black mule in the story, and poor Jeko is getting battered. Again.

I’m struggling with editing North, especially as the release date for her tale is coming closer. I’m still planning to get the book up early February, but I’m running out of time. The cover is commissioned, I hope to have it by January 20th, and then I’ll show it off.

In addition, I have to rewrite parts of Earth, but there’s still plenty of time to get that done. I’m planning to release that book in April.

I will admit that going to a release schedule of one book every two months is much, much easier on me than the Wolf series. This is especially true now that my writing speed has gone down so much – I don’t even manage to write 1000 words a day. (The plan is to get that back up, but it takes some time.)

Social Media Progress Report

Hey ya’ll, come on over to Mastodon. I’m serious. Best place on the internet if you’re a good person looking for decent human contact.

On the other hand, don’t bother if all you want is reach and to stir up the pot. That simply does not work on Mastodon, for a very good reason:

There are no algorithms. The only way to get reach is when people boost your post. All the Twitter rage building practices do not work there. People share with their friends what they like, not to build a bigger echo chamber. They mute or block what they don’t like.

That took me a while to understand.

By now, I’m so relieved and glad I made the choice to leave Twitter behind. I did check back in the other day (keeping my account, although it’s locked), and most people are simply going on, more or less cheerfully.

Serious moment warning: I cannot. I’m German. I know what fascism looks like, I know a lot of arrows are pointing in that direction right now, and I will not aid one of the tools dragging people there. I’m not adding content to Twitter anymore. That’s the dark side now.

And if you like me and if you want to keep our world as safe as possible – leave Twitter. Now. Come over to Mastodon. Support the good side, grasshopper.

Find me on Mastodon: @Firlefanz@WritingExchange. I’d be happy to see you there.

Proofreading / Edition Progress Report

I’ll be honest here: I could use a few more clients. I have one proofreading job coming up end of January, and then I have openings. Right now, you’re getting entry level prices.

Being German, with English a second language, I can actually pick out errors better than many native speakers. And I am very, very good with continuity. I will pick it up if your heroine’s horse changes color mid-story, or if your MC’s car switches from automatic to stick shift or vice versa. (Yes, I have seen that happen.)

Interested? Check out my offers HERE. Talk to me if you have questions, all right?

The Newsletter Popup (not a Progress Report)

We both hate popups. I know they work, but I won’t inflict them on you. This is what you get instead.

My newsletter goes out once a month, always on the 13th. It usually contains some book news, a review of something I enjoyed reading, some special offers (ie. promo links) and of course, the Ember Tale (TM). Ember is my little red dragon familiar, and I only ever share the stories about her in my newsletter. Only way you can get them.

So here’s the deal: Fill in that form, confirm your email addy, and you’re all set for the next round.

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Progress Report December 2022

Progress Report December 2022
Artbreeder image for decoration

Hey, I’m back for another progress report – the last one for 2022.

My inner life and my outer life do not match this month. I’ve been having a lot of successes, really, including making #1 in an Amazon category with my Wolf book. And making audiobooks for the Wolves.

Inside… it’s dark. Lonely. A hard place to be in right now, and it takes a lot of energy to just keep doing what needs to be done every day. Writing has suffered. I’ll climb out of this eventually.

So let’s move on with the progress reports.

Winds of Destiny / Pillars of the Empire Progress Report

I’ve been focusing on Sky – still writing his story since NaNo didn’t work out for me. About 10k left to do, so I think I can get it done this year. And then I’ll need to get North (Book 4 of the Winds) ready for publication in February.

I’m glad I gave myself some time with this series. I still have to finish Earth (Book 1 of the Pillars), which will probably happen in January.

In addition, I’m getting more of an idea for a Prequel, which will explain how the Pyramids and the Veil actually came into existence. I might even have found a point-of-view character for that, although he doesn’t have a name yet.

Oh, and I do have a giveaway for South in January, through my newsletter. You can sign up below.

Wolves of the South Progress Report

No, still no print books. That’s because I have to go back to the designer and rewrite the blurbs and ugh… I do not have that in me right now.

But I have great other news: There are now audioboooks!

That’s right, I made audiobooks for the Wolves (for now, book 1-5, the last one will come as soon as I find the energy to listen to the five hours it’ll take). There is a catch – unfortunately.

You see, the only audiobooks I can afford at this point are autonarrated ones. Yes, the scary and potentially amazing world of AI has arrived, and Google Play Story has allowed me to make audiobooks narrated by their text to speech system.

I have listened to them. They are okay. Not great but okay, and if you want to “read” my Wolves on a commute, they should work for you. Take a look at them on the Google Play Store.

In very exciting news, I had a promotion for “A Wolf’s Quest”, which led to over 1,000 downloads on Amazon alone. That propelled the book to #1 in the Werewolves and Shifters Suspense category – the free one, alas, which means no bestseller tag. But I got proof.

Wolves Progress Report Screenshot

Social Media Progress Report

Mastodon is great. I’m very happy with my server and the connections I’m building there. It’s much more direct, clean and amazingly friendly over there. I can only encourage you to join me there.

In fact, I will be dropping Twitter. I’m posting less, but I do not want to give up my account for anyone else to grab. And I most certainly no longer want to create content for a deranged billionaire. To be brutally honest, my country has some experience with Nazis. Do not recommend, will not support.

Proofreading / Editing Progress Report

I’m full for December. I have a novel to proofread and three short stories to edit. I’ll have another novel to proofread end of January, but I can slide in something short.

I will pick out things that make me stumble and I have a good eye for typos, but I will never diss you. In fact, my current clients love all the encouraging comments I make.

Interested? Hop over to my Proofreading Page, fill in the form you’ll find there, and then we’ll talk.

The Newsletter PopUp

Yes. This is my way of doing pop-ups, since I absolutely hate them. But I have to remind you of my newsletter, after all.

It goes out once a month, and you’ll get a progress report, book deals, a review and most of all… an Ember story. That’s my dragon plushie, and she is both cute and cheeky. Sign up below.

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Review of “How I Stole the Princess’s White Knight and Turned Him to Villany – Miracle 1” by A. J. Sherwood

Princess's White Knight

I have to repeat that title, just because it’s so long: “How I Stole the Princess’s White Knight and Turned Him to Villany”. Yes. It is a mouthful, and it’s actually the title for the entire series.

It is a good thing those books are on Kindle Unlimited. They are short, and basically, it’s one, single story broken into six books. Fair warning – you will want to read them all at once.

Just like the Mage’s Human Familiar books by J. A. Sherwood, this one is hilarious. It makes me laugh all the time. I guarantee it will make you laugh.

But first things first, so let’s talk about the main characters.

The Princess’s White Knight

That would be Devante Salvino, upright First Knight of the realm, devoted to protecting the land of Goodwine. He does not, actually, protect the Princess. This is an important distinction.

He is also strong, fast, good-looking and has an intelligent horse called Dan. (Dan loves apples, cherries and roses. In that order. He doesn’t matter much otherwise.)

The Villan

Let me present Tanawat Ritthirong Shinawatra, Black Sorcerer of Grimslock, Tan to his friends. He has done a multitude of terrible things, such as creating The Void, killing a Narwhal and stealing from the Royal Treasury (that one is open to discussion). He can also annihilate entire groups of knights with one spell.

As you can see, Tan is powerful. The court mages hate him, of course. But Tan has a reputation of not killing everyone outright – which is why Devan seeks him out when he desperately needs a powerful sorcerer.

What the good knight doesn’t know is that Tan has a crush on him. And a plan.

Hilarity ensues. Serious, explosive, portal-hugging, snuggling hilarity. I love every page of it.

I absolutely adore this wry humor, and I very much envy A. J. Sherwood’s ability to write like this. (Some of it might have infused Sky with his… irreverent behavior. Maybe. Possibly. I will deny it.)

Here’s another example of that humor, so if you look up the series, make sure to expand the descriptions and read the tags.

Black sorcerer, white knight, evil princess, oh my!, this whole story is crack, technically an enemies to lovers, with light angst, mostly as an excuse for cuddles, Tan is suffering from SCD-Severe Cuddle Deficiency, being adopted by a black sorcerer is like being adopted by a cat, you get no say in the matter, basically Tan took one look at Devan and went MINE, author no longer in control of this train wreck, I’m along for the ride like you are, Tan is a walking disaster, that we love anyway, Devan needs a hug, Tan volunteers himself as tribute, no forests were harmed in the making of this story, just a few hundred barbarians, magical shenanigans shall commence!

“How I Stole the Princess’s White Knight and Turned Him to Villany – Miracle 1” by A. J. Sherwood

So go and grab the book with that Princess’s White Knight. Even if you don’t have Kindle Unlimited, they are reasonably priced. And a good laugh is priceless, right?

Grab “How I Stole the Princess’s White Knight and Turned Him to Villany” on Amazon.

Newsletter Popup – without a Princess’s White Knight, alas

Yes, this is my annoying Newsletter Popup. Just like you, I hate the real ones, so instead, I blab about my newsletter at the end of every post. Sorry, not sorry.

I will inflict an email on you once a month, on the 13th. Yes, I love that number. *clears throat* The newsletter will contain a greeting, a writing update, deals both of my books and others, and an Ember Tale.

Ember is my little red dragon familiar, just as prone to shenanigans as Tan. You’ll get one of her adventures in every newsletter – and only there. Highly exclusive.

In order to subscribe, just fill in the form below. You’ll get an ebook as a welcome gift, too.

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Progress Report November 2022

Progress Report November 22 Landscape from Artbreeder
ArtBreeder Image for Decroation

Once again, it’s time for a progress report on my writing.

Of course, November is NaNoWriMo, and that means I’m putting a bit (or a lot) more effort into actually getting words down. Writing 2,000 words per day is not really that hard, and it doesn’t really take that much time. However, it makes me stay up later than I like, simply because I find it so hard to get started. Late at night, the barriers seem to be lower.

No, that is not a good thing.

It means my entire schedule has been thrown out of whack, I’m getting up later to compensate for the late bedtimes, and that means I lost my morning walk in the park, because I still need to log into work on time.

(More or less, we have something called “Gleitzeit” in Germany, which describes that we have fairly flexible work hours as long as we get the time in. Boss does prefer us being around at the same hours habitually, but I can talk to them about work hours if something comes up. </German Work Lecture>)

Anyway, not having a good schedule for my days is bad because my neurodivergent brain frets over any change and lack of structure. So I’m struggling to find a better way to go through my day, and I need a lot of self-care and self-soothing to stay productive. Not a good use of time, but right now, that’s what it takes.

Wind of Destiny Progress Report

First of all, “East Roars” is now published and available in all stores and in print. I formatted it with Atticus, and I’m giving you a nice preview of the first chapter.

Screenshot of Chapter 1 of East Roars, showing the roaring lion head as a chapter graphic.

Doesn’t it look gorgeous?

Pillars of the Empire Progress Report

In addition to getting the books ready in the Winds Series, I’m working hard on the books for the Pillars. I’m almost done with “Earth Splits”, but I put it to the side for now, since I started writing “Sky Falls” for NaNoWriMo. It’s fun getting to know him, but he’s hard to keep as the lucky-go-happy kind of guy I want him to be. That kind of character doesn’t come easily to me.

In December, I’ll finish Earth, revise North, and then finish Sky. I have so much more to write, it’s not funny.

Social Media Progress Report

The biggest news first: I’m on Mastodon now. And to be honest, I love it.

It’s just as text based as Twitter, but it’s much less of a dumpster fire, especially now. There are no algorithms to please, so what you see is who you follow, plus the federal and local server timelines. It’s about conversations and connections, not about screaming loudest.

A very nice change.

Screen Writing Progress Report

Not much happening. I finished the class and didn’t continue. I think I have dialog down fairly well and the final class was about marketing my script, which didn’t feel right because my first ever script is so far from being done it’s not funny.

So I’m stalled out on that for now.

Proofreading Progress Report

I’m filled up for November with two stories from an awesome author and friend. In fact, I’ll probably take a bit of a break for December, but I’m open for more manuscripts in January. If you want to work with me, fill in the form on my Proofreading Page here on the website.

And please, be honest. I had to turn down one person who only wanted some feedback on their manuscript and had no intention of paying me for any work. That’s not how it works, folks.

The Newsletter Pop-Up

Yes, this is my version of it. I know you’re just as fed up with pop-ups as I am, so I won’t inflict them on you. I still would love to see you on my newsletter so you can join in on the fun.

What you’ll get: I’m sending out my newsletter once a month, on the 13th, because that’s an awesome number. In it, you’ll find writing news, book recommendations, new releases and of course, the charming Ember tale that you will find nowhere else.

Sounds good? Fill in this. You’ll have to confirm your subscription, though, fair warning.

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Review: A Mage’s Guide to Human Familiars – awesome, hilarious fun

A Mage's Guide to Human Familiars

First, you need to know that “A Mage’s Guide to Human Familiars” by AJ Sherwood is an M/M/M romance. Which I don’t usually read.

Having said that, this tale is so unbelievably cute that I just *had* to read it. I had to glomp on and breathe it all in. And review it. And read it again. Seriously.

But first things first:

Bel is a mage, blessed (or cursed) with demon eyes. That means most of his magic goes to protect his body from his eyes – which can see everything. And yes, really, everything.

Of course, a mage like that, who can’t really protect himself while looking at *everything*, needs a familiar to help out. In this case, a human one.

Enter Nico di Rocci, Army Ranger, one of those high-energy, danger-loving adrenaline addicts, bouncing, running, looking for fun. He becomes Bel’s familiar and rolls with it, easy peasy. But he’s not really a good bodyguard, preferring to go on the offensive, and so he brings in his former boyfriend Garen, Secret Service, who is one.

From that moment on, they are rolling, except everyone has baggage and worries and libido, and there are ROUS in a mine, and skeletons in a cave, and poor Bel is getting more and more frustrated.

Now back to why I love this book so much: It is CUTE. The voice is hilarious, the characters are quirky, the magic fun, and the story itself is much less important than the relationships. There are also so many quips and jokes and movie quotes (and lightsabers!) and did I say CUTE? And watch what you drink while you read, because that’ll be a danger to anything nearby. One example:

“Password must contain a symbol, a number, an emotional arc, a centralized theme, an epic soundtrack, a male lead struggling with inner demons, and a strong female character.”

(A Mage’s Guide to Human Familiars, by AJ Sherwood)

Seriously, even the sex is cute and not porn-y. Once they get there, that is. Ahem.

Want to grab A Mage’s Guide to Human Familiars?
It’s on Kindle-Unlimited, even: Amazon Link

Newsletter Pop-Up

Yes, sorry, not sorry. This is what you get instead of a Pop-up, so no moaning, all right?

If you like what I do, write and share, please consider signing up to my newsletter. It goes out once a month, always on the 13th, because that’s an awesome number right there. You’ll get book news, book deals and fun stuff.

It also has a cheeky little dragon familiar, Ember, and her adventures that can be found nowhere else. Feel like checking it out? Newsletter-Signup.

Alternatively, sign up right here. You won’t regret it. Promise.

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