Magazine Review “Indie Bites, Vol. 1: Vampires & Voyages”

Cover of “Indie Bites” from Goodreads

As an indie author myself, I try to support independent authors and new authors who are trying to do what they love. There’s nothing stronger than word of mouth, right? It is also helpful that I’m such a bibliophile, LOL.

Silver Sun Books published their first Magazine anthology of short stories. Their first theme was “Vampires & Voyages” and comprised of short stories that used one theme or both. The cover on the anthology is spooky and gorgeous with ominous crows in a misty forest. As this is their first magazine, they are taking submissions for their second one with the theme “Mermaids & Myth”.

Here is their submission page for more information.

Now, onto the review! Please be aware there are spoilers.

Ah, these little tales were lovely! I enjoyed every one of them, and each one had their own individual charm to it. I will say that I was enthralled for each one, and none of them at all was lacking. Such a good mix of writing here for sure.

My favorite of all of them is by far “Enduring Wrecks” by Chris Dunsten. Holy crap, this was so good. It was like the perfect short story… a piece of heavenly cake with a well-rounded main character and depth of story and the lush environments the character finds himself in. Short stories are HARD, so reading this I was not only completely addicted to this story and wanted to know more about this character, but I also felt like WOW, how did this author write the PERFECT short story (and can he tell me his secret)? It left me wanting more, BUT I was still satisfied; it was just the right beginning, middle and ending. The ending… wow, it was such a beautiful, enduring gesture. I really loved how just one character grew so much in this little story. And the characters really had fleshed out personalities with their dialog and descriptions, and probably no easy feat in a short story format. I really want to read more by this author. AHHH, I NEED TO READ THIS OVER AGAIN IT WAS SO GOOD.

I also really enjoyed “Something Like Absolution” by Rebecca Crunden. I really loved how the main character was able to go back to his marriage and it was still strong after all this stolen time, after the hardships and gaps. They WERE. STILL. IN. LOVE. And it was so strong too. And the ending, it really fit the overall story and ended it with a pretty bow. No more lingering conflict, just a rock-solid marriage and two lovely men overcoming this supernatural hiccup through their unwavering love. Although thinking your lover was dead for so long, it would be HARD to go back to but it was like, “Hi honey you’re home, let me just kick out this other mug and let’s catch up.” I think the pacing for that, even with the insecurities and awkwardness between them, was well done and fit the story’s pace as well as the believability.

“Living Underground” by Josie Jaffrey was eerie but interesting. There was a lot of moments where I just wanted to know more about this couple. Very cool, engaging little story.

“A Dramatic Gesture” by Matthew MacLauchlan was intense. I was on the edge of my seat. It felt really like Grimm fairytales in its format. What great descriptions and pacing of this story. (I kind of want to read this to my daughter…haha)

“A Little Drop of Blood Goes a Long Way” by NJ Simmonds was fun, though the beginning was a bit…dark, I loved to explore more of Jemima’s character through the rest of the story. I was scratching my head to her reasons for suicide, but her encounter and interaction with a vampire really lightened the mood, and it seemed so realistic. I love the portrayal of a main Ace character. And the ending, even though it was…a positive in the way Jemima lived out her undead life, the payoff was gloriously sadistic. (We all have that one person in our life we’d want to do this too…). And the vampire’s name. I LOVED her reaction to it. I laughed out loud because yeah, what is with vampires and hokey names?

“Another Interview with a Vampire” by Sam Hall was also interesting. This was the one story I just wanted to be longer. I wanted to know more about the vampire, to see more of an interaction, maybe even some tension, UST, between him and the narrator/main character. I do like this author’s take on the theme here, another “this vampire is not like the normal trope” kind of thing, A vampire with a heart of gold, sort of thing. Fantastic.

Such a great little anthology! I can’t wait to see more from this publication!

This review is also posted on Amazon.com and Goodreads.

2020 Update & Upcoming Topics

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I know it’s been awhile since I last updated this blog. My writing has been… scattered, and to be perfectly frank, I haven’t done the amount of it I’ve wanted. I wanted to work on War Fury, the sequel to Mod Fury, as well as my other WIPs and short stories. I have plans, but time has been limited. Being a mom has taken up most of my time.

Back in mid-March I lost my full time job, a job which I loved, to the COVID-19 hardship and have been job searching ever since. In the meantime, I’ve been catching up with projects, freelancing, learning new skills and updating my portfolio website.

I am also a full-time mom now, as our shelter-at-home decree have forced the family to stay home, that means my daughter is not attending daycare as much. Taking care of a three year old is a full time job. I’m teaching her baking, painting, and we’ve mastered riding a bike! Being able to be with her during these pivotal life moments is a priceless treasure I wouldn’t trade for anything.

However, as job searching is starting to slow for me, I’m starting to shift back to my writing projects. There are a couple of projects in the pipeline:

  • Protector, a short story part of an anthology. This has been on hold as only half the group have turned in stories. I’m one of the authors behind… It’s in the editing process at the moment.
  • Blazing Heat – Just a short story romance story, almost finished.
  • Unbridled – 2nd version, with a new cover and some more editing.

I’m hoping to keep up with these, as well as begin to work on some of the other stories that need heavy editing and drafting.

I hope to keep the blog more updated and active. I’ve been thinking about posting some articles on various topics, like navigating the self-publishing world, as well as give some insight on some of my processes.

I became inspired to do this when a friend came to me to ask me where I published my book, and she seemed surprised that I did most of it myself, albeit with the help of freelance editors and betas, but as for the artwork, fonts and layout, that’s all me. She was surprised because a friend of her used a professional publisher to publish her children’s book, paid a hefty sum of money on it, and the artwork and layout of the story is terrible, the pictures are too dark and the font choice was COMIC SANS (RAGE), and it was not only used on the titles and sub titles, but also in the actual story.

No professional worth their salt would ever do the things this publisher did to this woman’s story. It was supposed to be a cute story about a dog, and it’s a huge mess.

No design student would use Comic Sans. No design student in MIDDLE SCHOOL would use dark pictures on dark backgrounds. Nor would they draw the main character in the CREASE of the binding.

I was appalled. This poor author saved up her money to have this half ass book made for her, a children’s book that was soft cover, no less, like something you get printed at Staples, and she has 3 reviews on Amazon.

I cannot stand predatory vanity publishers. Every time I see the commercials for publishing companies on TV peddling their book packages to new authors, I cringe. You can do the hard work and send queries and get an agent and have a big boy publish your work, or you can self publish and utilize the tools out there, do your own marketing, and build a network of freelancers, reviewers and betas to help with your book. Both situations do not promise a bunch of bullshit for a large fee and then you end up getting a subpar product.

So something must be done about this. I hope with some of my guidance and experience, I can help.

Take care, everyone, and stay healthy. See you next time very soon!

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Apologies

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I know that I haven’t been around here in some time. Unfortunately, we lost our dear beloved dog Malachy this last month, and things have been rough for me to get into any sort of writing or creative endeavors. His health had been failing for some time, so taking care of a senior pet up until we had to make that tough decision really takes a toll on you.

We adopted Malachy in 2007. He was three years old, so he was a part of our family for 13 years. It almost seems unreal that he’s not with us anymore, that he’s not at my ankles following me around, or that I can’t put my hand down and feel his cold nose sniff me as he rubs his scruffy head against me.

It’s rough. He was family and now adjusting to his absence is very painful.

So writing has been on a pause. I finally finished up a short story for an anthology and sent to my beta reader. Hopefully that’ll be polished for publication soon.

NaNoWriMo is coming up and I’m going to attempt to do it in order to make progress on my Avenging Sisters series.

If you have pets at home, give them a big hug for me. Treasure every second with them. They don’t have as long as we do, and their love is irreplaceable.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Spellbinding: An Anthology of Magic RELEASED

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Spellbinding: An Anthology of Magic is available on Amazon Kindle!

Authors: Meredith Anderson, Sara Coates, Alyssa Corbett, Rebecca Crunden, Kristina Decker, John Flynn, Kasey Kubica, L.J. LaBarthe, H.K. Rowe
Genres: Fantasy, Anthology, Urban Fantasy
Links: Amazon | Goodreads (add to your to-read or currently-reading lists)
Available in ebook (and paperback soon).
Summary: Everyone knows magic isn’t real … But what if it was?Nine tales, each one a snapshot of what happens to those who suddenly find themselves entangled with magic. From the wish that grants one sudden, unimaginable power, to a dark hex upon a wood, to faeries with nefarious intentions and hunters seeking blood, this anthology showcases the intricate web of adventure that comes from messing with magic.
My short story is “Promise to Keep” and is about a modern-day mage, Katrina, and a werewolf police captain Alastair! (I’ve always liked that name.) The story has action, urban fantasy, and two-knuckleheads in love — oh, well, they have feelings for each other, but one of them has a problem keeping them from making that first move…
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There are other great stories to read in this anthology by a lot of talented authors. Please grab your copy and support indie writers by leaving feedback! I know you’re enjoy all the diverse stories of magic!
Thanks for the support. Cheers,
H.K. Rowe

“Promise to Keep” short story

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Credit to Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash of the beautiful woman. The gorgeous man was found and paid for from Dreamstime. Graphic design by Stargazer Heather Designs.

Soon I’ll be releasing another short story within an anthology with a group of talented writers. The anthology itself will be a collection of magical stories, and I’m very excited to share this with you. The release is right around the corner; though, I don’t have a definitive date yet.

I will post an update once the ebook is live!

My contribution is a story called Promise to Keep about a modern-day mage, Katrina, and a werewolf police captain Alastair! (I’ve always liked that name.) The story has action, urban fantasy, and two-knuckleheads in love — oh, well, they have feelings for each other, but one of them has a problem keeping them from making that first move…

Here’s a short preview except of the story…


Lightly and carefully, she pulled Alastair out and leaned him against her for support. She looked around, glad that there weren’t any onlookers. It was late enough in the night, yet there was still potential for people to stop by and see them. ‘Try to stand upright and not look so wounded. We don’t want people to get suspicious.’

He made a ragged noise of affirmation and straightened up as best as he could. He steadied his breathing, trying to hold back the pain.

When they got inside the building, one of his night volunteers, Raye, rushed over to them.

‘Oh my God, what happened?’ she exclaimed, immediately helping Katrina prop him up. They steered Alastair into the office with the sofa and laid him down.

He sighed in relief when his back met the soft cushions, but when Katrina started inspecting his wound, he flinched. Pangs of agony throbbed through him.

‘He was attacked. Go get the medical kit and my healing herbs in my desk,’ she said, and Raye turned dutifully.


Stay tuned for updates on the release of this anthology.

In the meantime, I plan on finishing War Fury soon. The recent death of one of my dogs, as well as my full time job’s demands have made it a challenge to keep up. Mod Fury will get its sequel soon.

Cheers!

H.K. Rowe

BOOK RELEASE: Spirits Abound Anthology!

Happy Halloween! Spirits Abound: Ghostly Little Tales was released yesterday for kindle. Please check it out! Get your copy here at Amazon.

My short story “Deathly Ever After” is one of four chilling little ghost tales. Three other authors have been published for the first time. Please support us!

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It’s here! The digital copy of Spirits Abound: Ghostly Little Tales is available on Amazon.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

PRE-ORDER “Spirits Abound”

My first anthology piece with three other NEW authors is up for pre-order at Amazon! The release date is October 31st on Halloween day! 

“Deathly Ever After” is my short little horror tale included in the anthology. Here’s the summary:

 Three young high school girls live out the last day of their torture and murder over and over again. Lanie starts to realize that they have been caught in this nightmare, and she wonders if there’s any way she can break free and save her friends.

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Please find the Kindle version ready at Amazon! The paperback version will be out shortly as well. I will let you all know when that’s up.

I hope you all enjoy it and please support us indie authors by leaving a review either at Amazon or Goodreads!

Thanks and Happy Halloween!

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

COMING SOON: Spirits Abound Anthology

Are you ready for Halloween? Do you like spooky tales?

Coming this ghoulish holiday is a short anthology of four bone chilling stories, perfect to read for those who enjoy tales of things that go bump in the night.

My writer’s group on Facebook has compiled four great stories that we are excited to share with everyone. Many writers are brand new to self publishing, so of course, we need your support! Please get a glimpse of the cover for the upcoming book:

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The anthology will be available to pre-order on Amazon soon! Please come back for more details. I’m so excited to share these stories with you!

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe