Update 2014-11-22

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Hi All,

The next chapter of Return: Dreadknight will drop sometime the 1st of December. Also, check out the new reviews below.

Also I’m looking for Original English Light Novel authors to interview, feature or jab with a sharpened stick when I require amusement. If you’re game, please email james.kresnik@returnnovel.com.

Thanks for waiting and have a great [insert harvest-time holiday here]!

Best,
James

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Light Novel Review – The Gandharva

The Gandharva Cover

The Gandharva (Devasur Series Book I)

Author(s): Nikesh Murali and Bhavana Murali

Amazon eBook | Wattpad

The Gandharva is a fast-moving, unique paranormal romance adventure with tight delivery and a straightforward plot, which makes it a perfect introduction into the emerging Original English Language Light Novel (OELN) format.

Dev, a heavenly Gandharva, has been banished with his fighting brothers to Earth. He earns his keep­­‑and nourishment­‑by stealing the hearts of young maidens. He is the picture of a romantic anti-hero: equal parts charming, rakish and conflicted. Unfortunately, both his affection and appetite are drawn to fellow student Maya, a sharp and stalwart woman who has struggled to balance university, a difficult family life, and thwarting otherworldly pursuers who just happen to be ancient enemies of the Gandharva clan.

Dev and Maya’s college romance is well-developed, earnest and, most importantly, works smoothly within the context of the story: a modern, middle-class India transformed into a setting for an ancient Hindu struggle. It is refreshingly unique to western audiences because Nikesh and Bhavana’s exposition and narrative maintain both the necessary texture and accessibility to make the world building enticing and convincing.

Unfortunately, not everything follows the divine plan. The supporting characters, and in particular the villains’ motivations are sometimes two-dimensional, however they serve the purpose of advancing the plot. Still, the story charges toward the inevitable drawing of lines, then an equally rapid blurring of those lines leading in to the next part of the series.

The Gandharva is as sensual, breezy and slightly pulpy as a good Light Novel should be, and the next part promises even more fast-paced romance and adventure.

Who would be swept-up in an angel’s arms? Readers who like fun, fast-paced paranormal romance wrapped in unique themes.

Who’s feet would stay firmly planted on Earth? Those looking for a hefty plot and expansive character development.

Rating: ****

Book Review – Falaha’s Journey

Falaha's Journey Cover - Descent, The Pit, Perseverance

Falaha’s Journey Cover – Descent, The Pit, Perseverance

Title: Falaha’s Journey: A Spacegirl’s Account in Three Movements (Descent/The Pit/Perseverance)

Author: Jeno Marz

Smashwords | Amazon

I so love this series’ ability to do it all.

It’s an epic, but told with a singular voice. It’s a space-opera on a universal scale, but it leans heavily toward intricately detailed hard science. It has big action, but it revels in down-to-earth and touching, intimate moments. It’s often deadly serious, even downright gory at times, but it balances that with interactions full of warmth and humor. It is told from an alien culture and perspective, but resonates with very human wishes and hopes.  I know “this has it all,” has become a clichéd way of putting things, but what else can be said when a story has, well, everything?

There are a few practical things to note about Falaha. This is a complete omnibus edition, meaning you don’t have to wait to finish it. And while this series has a younger female protagonist, it is definitively adult in its sensibilities and action level. In all, this is a remarkable and inspired series and I hope someday to see more from Jeno Marz.

Rating: ★★★★★

Moving On Now

Hi All,

I’ve finished the current revision of Return – The Survivalists, however, it won’t be published again as an e-book anytime soon. Instead, I will resume with the next part of the story, Return – Dreadknight on Wattpad as an ongoing series until I get sick of the whole farce and pick up something more productive and healthy, like wingsuit flying.*

Both books will be published as a print volume in the near future, but that depends on budget and audience. I want to bring a full editorial team on board to polish the work properly, and of course my artists needs to eat. If anyone has any good ideas for fundraising that does not involve vain attempt at selling e-books, I’m all ears.

I’ll finish work on the review for Bhavana Murali’s Light Novel Thrist and Jeno Marz’s epic Falaha’s Journey soon. I’m also working on a new project featuring Original English Light Novels (OELN). Please watch this space for more details.

Thanks again for your support and I look forward to continuing Return – A Light Novel Series. Take Care, and stay in touch.

Best,

James Kresnik

*Yes, that was sarcasm, I think.

Review – Minutes Before Sunset

Minutes-Before-Sunset-Cover

Minutes Before Sunset is an solid and very readable paranormal romance story from veteran novelist Shannon A Thompson that hits all the right spots for the genre in a comfortably deliberative style. Continue reading

Update: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, DRM and Book II Progress

I’ve taken down the mostly dead Facebook page, so if you need a social-networking feed please subscribe to my Twitter and Tumblr feeds. I also expect to have my Goodreads blog fleshed-out by the end of next week.

I’ve resumed progress on Book II, tentatively titled Dreadknight. I’m about three-quarters the way through the first draft and things are going smoothly. I may post up some chapters after the first couple revisions but that won’t happen until after the first of the year.

I’ve also been curating my recent book purchases in the hopes of writing up some reviews. I have three different reading devices using three different operating systems and concatenating my collection into a single directory using the reader I liked has been a nightmare. I expect to publish my first review in the next few weeks.

Finally, I’ve extended the free offer through November 15. If you’re interested in a free copy of The Survivalists then send an email to admin@returnnovel.com. Thanks again and have a good weekend.

99% Done – The Perils of Self-Publishing and Editing

Even after announcing the publishing date for Return – The Survivalists my “final” manuscript is still roughly 99% done.

It seems forever “99% done.” After two rounds of professional edits, critiques, endless polishing and an untold number of head-to-desk moments, I’m still finding things I don’t like and things I want to change, tinker, improve and even fix. The script came back from my editor well enough, but as I was reading it aloud I found some things I wanted to add and needed to trim, which in turn,  introduced other things that wanted adding and needed trimming.

Now, I’m not saying that all my effort for the past three months is for naught. I am, after all, mostly reduced to making very minor changes that better reflect what the characters are saying and doing. And as for what characters are saying, I will, hopefully, never try to put words in the character’s mouths. At this point, it is really more their story than mine. I’m mostly a historian, trying to get the facts straight while creating a narrative that doesn’t put people to sleep. But I digress.

There are a litany of complaints about the quality of self-published novels clogging the shelves, none of which I am going to reiterate here. From what I’ve observed, and read, it is not because us relatively inexperienced authors refuse to edit or even that we somehow fail to take editing seriously. It is that editing a book well is a much more difficult effort than any neophyte can even begin to imagine.

I admit that going into this project I completely underestimated the amount of work and attention to detail it requires to produce a quality book. There’s a reason that reputable publishers perform at least three different edits: development, line-editing and proofreading. Now that makes me wonder, are those three separate people or three people who do the same exact job? I’ll have to ask my editor. But again, I digress. It’s far too easy to get small but pertinent details wrong, repeat a word too many times, make a consistency breaking change, or even insert a typo when making an edit.

Moreover, I don’t think there is a single book in existence that couldn’t somehow be tweaked. You have to know when to let go which should usually be somewhere between coherently laying out all the plot points and excising all typos and writing the next Pulitzer Prize novel.

Either way, I’ll keep banging at this until the wire, because somewhere in this manuscript will always be something I hate and something that will completely embarrass me and something I love and something I want someone to hear no matter what.

My hope for the next book is that I use my experience to properly formalize the revision and editing process. Needless to say, I no longer find formalizing my writing process as “stifling” as it surely beats the sheer terror of getting picked apart on an Amazon review for clumsy dialogue, typos and inconsistent subject-verb agreement.

Best,

JK