Friday, November 22, 2013

A Fine Review of The War of the Stolen Mother

Ki'shto'ba Stands Guard

Here is the text of a very positive  review of v.1 of the series The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head.  I think it captures the essence of what I set out to do in the series.  The review  is by Marva Dasef, author of a number of entertaining MG and YA books including the 3-volume The Witches of Galdorheim, which you can find on Amazon or on Smashwords.

Epic Tale of War and Honor

This is the first volume in a series following the labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, a warrior of the Shshi race of intelligent termite-like people. It is set on an alien (to humans) world described in an earlier multi-volume novel covering the discovery of the world by humans. In the first book, the point of view is primarily that of Kaitrin Oliva, a human linguistic anthropologist who decodes the Shshi language.

This next multi-volume novel has no humans, only the termites. It's an epic tale told as if narrator Di'fa'kro'mi the Remembrancer is dictating it to his scribe long after the events of the story. This is an effective means of narration because it allows for asides and personal thoughts of Di'fa'kro'mi about the story. I found it amusing when Di'fa comments how he used a bit of literary trickery to describe events happening elsewhere. That is, Di'fa invents a point of view shift. Clever of the author to come right out with it before I made a note about the "POV SHIFT!" Ms. Taylor uses multiple literary devices to get around some of the obstacles a termite might have recording a story for others to read, not just listen to in the oral tradition of the Remembrancers.

This novel is steeped in earth mythos from the role of Di'fa as the Homer of the Shshi to the obvious comparison of Ki'sh to both Ulysses and Hercules of Greek myth, the war with Troy, and a lot of other references I probably missed.

It's a really long first volume, but I'm almost getting used to Ms. Taylor's monolithic multi-volume novels. You certainly get plenty of words for your 99 cents (the price may have changed) and all of them quite necessary to the story. I will always have a problem with the names and the other con-lang (constructed language) features, but this one is footnoted for the most part. As for the names, there's a handy cast of characters and places at the beginning of the book.

What did I love about the book? Lots. The epic sweep of the story (and this is only the first volume of Ki'shto'ba's travels). The warrior is as knightly and honorable as any of King Arthur's court. The brotherly love between Ki'shto'ba and his twin brother, A'zhu'lo (highly unusual in the termite world) is touching and real. I quite enjoyed the antics of Za'dut the trickster outcast who just can't keep his claws off others' property. While playing the clown, he turns out to be quite clever and, at his heart, cares as much for the companions as any of the others.

I think what I want to say is that this novel is deeply and touchingly human although the termite practices are entirely unhuman. The concepts of honor, love, grief, fear, jubilation, caring are all there and I truly believed them.

Well done, very well written, squeaky clean grammar and spelling. Ms. Taylor has made me a fan of the termites even if I can't always remember who's who with the secondary characters. I didn't have a problem remembering the companions who travel on this epic journey.

Thanks for the nice words, Marva!  I hope other readers will be inspired to give my books a try!  The ebooks will remain at 99 cents through Cyber Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 (only $2.99 thereafter) at Amazon and at Smashwords, but remember that as a Christmas present, a print book looks much better wrapped under the tree!  Besides, if you buy a paperback, you can get the Kindle version FREE under Amazon's MatchBook program!  And one more bonus:  with a paperback you get extra features, like a map and extra illustrations on the back covers.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Publishing Progress: The Valley of Thorns

       Volume Three (The Valley of Thorns) of The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head has been successfully published on Amazon, both paperback and Kindle, and on Smashwords! The Smashwords went easier than it ever has (unless they find something to quibble about in considering it for the Premium Catalog). You can download a 25% sample on Smashwords, which will include the preliminary material and approximately four chapters. Amazon hasn't linked up the paperback and the Kindle yet, but ultimately you will be able to get a Kindle version FREE if you buy a paperback.

        I'm having an Anniversary Party as a Facebook event on November 15. Two years ago I published my first book, Monster Is in the Eye of the Beholder, on that date. Now I have six books published, plus the little free novelette on Smashwords, "The Blessing of Krozem." All my Facebook Friends are invited. If you're not my friend yet but are on Facebook, go in and friend me, and I'll invite you.
Why would you want to come to my party?
Witty conversation, free virtual food,
information about my books,
maybe a surprise reveal of the unfinished
cover for v.4: Beneath the Mountain of Heavy Fear
Plus, I'm going to have special prices on all my books,
as well as a drawing for a couple of paperbacks
from the names of the people who attend.
and check it out!