New Book Website

I just finished redesigning my Zeuorian Book website. I still have several pages to add, but it’s a good start. I tried to add a call to action right when someone lands on the page followed by more content to keep them on my site. I plan to test it with users after I finish adding the rest of the content.

Go check it out and tell me what you think at zeuorian.com

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller. She’s also a professional UI/UX designer and developer check out her portfolio. If you’re interested in having a website or marketing designed, she also offers freelance services.

 

Smashword #authors Warning

Just a heads up.

If you have a book on your author website that is linked to a book page on Smashwords, please check it and make sure it still works. They changed the file location of their books from view/ to books/view, but didn’t bother to add a redirect. So the old links to the book pages, just land on an error page with no option to even search for the book.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

 

Game of Thrones Battle of the Bastards

I’m an avid fan of Game of Thrones. The story is intriguing and characters are well developed. You never know exactly what is going to happen next or if they are going to kill off another character. Some times the bed guys die, but mostly the good ones do. Let’s face it, if the good always prevail there wouldn’t be a story. However, Sunday nights episode the good finally did win, probably because the season is wrapping up. But this episode was so well done I had to blog about it–from a writer’s perspective.

Recap of the Episode

Meereen is under attack by the ‘Masters’. Daenerys Targaryen wants to wipe them all out, but Tyrion Lannister convinces her a better way that doesn’t end in killing innocent victims while gain a fleet of ships. They have a meeting with the three masters to discuss their terms of surrender. They scoff at them, saying they’re not surrendering. They’re more powerful than the dragon queen. Her reign over Meereen is over. Daenerys tells them, her reign has just begun. She shows them who really is more powerful by taking a quick ride with her dragons and burning down a couple of their ships. All the while Daario Naharis and her army of Dothraki stop the Sons of the Harpy killing off innocent citizens of Meereen.

Once the battle is over, Theon Greyjoy and his sister, Yara, pay Daenerys a visit. They offer them their ships and help to make her queen of the 7 kingdoms in return they give them Iron Kingdom and kill off a few relatives. Daenerys at first hesitant about their help if it meant making Theon, another man, king. But when he says, not me, my sister as their first queen, Daenerys is more than overjoy to team up with them. Another victim to save from oppression.

On the other side of the world, Sansa Stark and her half-brother Jon Snow are preparing to battle Ramsay Bolton to take back Winterfell and save her younger brother. Jon and his Wildlings have a game plan to wait until Ramsey attacks, giving them an advantage. Sansa doesn’t think it’s a good plan. She offers her advice since she knows Ramsey, intimately. She warns Jon that he likes to play games and very good at it. He needs to think out of the box or he’ll lose. But Jon is over confident and believes he’ll outsmart Ramsey.

Morning of the battle Jon quickly learned he should’ve listened to his sister. Ramsay drags his brother in the middle of the battle field and has him run to Jon while shooting arrows at him. Jon rushes to save his younger brother only to watch him die in front of him and realize he placed himself in peril. Ramsey’s army descends on him, standing alone, but luckily his army reaches him at the same time as Ramsey’s.

Jon’s army is quickly reduced in numbers and they are surrounded, slowly being picked off one by one. Just as you start to wonder if he is going to lose, Little Finger’s army comes to the rescue, killing off the Ramsey’s guards.

Ramsey runs to Winterfell trying to keep it, but he didn’t consider Jon would have a giant break down the gate. It didn’t take long for Ramsey’s remaining army to fall, leaving Ramsey standing alone with a bow and arrow. He tries to shoot Jon, but Jon is on a mission. Taking a shield he rushes Ramsey and takes him down, beating him with his fists into a bloody pulp.

The show ends with Sansa sicking Ramsey’s dogs on him. Letting them eat him alive. The once shy girl, stood and watched with pleasure finally getting her revenge after everything he done to her.

Writing Notes

What I thought stood out the most about this episode and worthy to discuss on a blog was the way they handled the battle. Yes they followed the popular formula where the underdog is pitted against the arrogant bully, but some-how or another, he manages to prevail. But how they executed the scene was more powerful and moving then I have seen in a long time. They did it in a way that wasn’t too over dramatic as such a scene could lend it self to be, but also where you, the viewer, actually experience it.

Here you have Jon rushing to save his little brother, barely a teen, despite any danger only to watch him die at his feet. Then you watch as the anger floods through him and he foolishly race to get revenge while heading right to Ramsey’s army.

This was powerful, because they played off what the audience themselves fear would happen to their children and how they would react afterwards. Making the scene hit home. As writer’s, your best tool to capture readers interest and keep them is to use real life experience to generate an emotional attachment and reaction.

Now that they hooked the audience, they kept us hooked by continually placing Jon in one peril after another. First he is standing alone on the field as Ramsey is barreling down on him. He pulls out his sword, preparing fight while dying. But as the army reaches him, so does his. Which as  one of the audience was a nice twist.

Using a twist, basically not doing as you thought would happen, in this case Jon dying epic-ly, is another great tool to keep the audience interested. Most readers, if they know the outcome, they lose interest and stop reading. Throwing in a few twists keeps them wanting to read more.

Boy did they have several twists and turns in this episode. One of the most interesting and cinematic was Jon being slowly buried alive under dead bodies. I could almost feel as if I’m suffocating along with him by the use of sound and imagery from his point of view.

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Using POV is another great writing tool. When you use third person, it keeps reader at a distance from the scene, which is good when trying to get a wider view of the situation, but bad if you’re trying show a personal experience. Take the scene with Jon. If all you saw was him being buried from a distance and then pop out, it wouldn’t have been as dramatic or powerful. However, using the first person POV, it allowed the audience to actually go through the experience with him. In writing you can do the same using a readers POV. Showing how they feel, what they see and hear.

Finally, the last moment when Little Finger’s army comes to the rescue and Jon is able to go after Ramsey, Ramsey runs. When Ramsey is standing alone, he still acts like a weasel trying to kill Jon with a bow. This was another powerful scene, because it kept the characters true to the end. Ramsey is overconfident, but a back-stabbing weasel who’ll fight dirty to win. Jon is stronger, stronger than he realizes, and driven. He believes in justice. However, he also values life and doesn’t like to kill. So when he had a chance to beat Ramsey to death, he didn’t take it.

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Staying in character helps the audience to identify with the scene and their actions. If they don’t stay in character and deviate even a little it’ll upset the reader. For instance the movie Aliens 3 where Ripley gives up and lets herself die. Seriously. I’m still pissed off about the movie and stopped watching the others after it.

Staying in character also helps the reader to understand when something doesn’t happen as they hoped, like Jon beating Ramsey to death. However, it also can be uplifting when they do something you wanted them to do like Sansa killing Ramsey.

She had suffered many hardships and Ramsey raping her repeatedly was the last straw. So when she let the Ramsey’s dogs into his cell, the audience wasn’t surprised nor were they upset about it. They wanted him dead as much as her.

Anyways, if you haven’t watched the episode, you should. It is well worth it.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

 

What’s up with all the movie remakes, seriously?

I just watched the remake of Poltergeist, not by choice. I was pinned down by a sick 4 year old and couldn’t change the channel.

I have four words to say about it.

What a Let Down.

I saw the original movie during a pre screening when I was 12. They didn’t advertised the movie. I had no clue what it was about, but someone gave me a free pass in the mall and I had nothing better to do.

I have to say, I loved it. I brought my family back to the theater to watch it as well as my friends. So did all the others who got to see it for free. After that the movie went viral. Which meant a lot back in the pre-internet and twitter days. Just from the word of mouth,  the movie became an instant success over night.

Then they disgraced the movie by making a terrible remake of it. I swear in some scenes you can tell the actors were awestruck they were in the remake of such a legendary movie or just having fun instead of acting serious.

Which brings me to the point of this post, what’s up with remaking great movies and badly I like to add?

Poltergeist is just one in many remakes in the past couple of years. I have to admit, I try not to watch them, because I already know they won’t ever live up to the original just from the commercial and track record. I can’t recall a single one doing good in the book office. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

Are they resorting to remakes because original movie ideas have dried up? I think not. My friend a screen writer mentions daily, there are tons of movie scripts from budding artist they can pick from.

Are they trying to appeal to the adults who were kids when the original movie came out hoping they rush to watch it. Possibly. It is well known movie studios aren’t willing to take chances with no name movie ideas. They want something with a built-in audience such as popular book series, comic book heroes or TV shows (Star trek). However, if that is the case, why do they keep making rotten tomato remakes that bomb in the box offices and never recoup production costs. (Maybe a tax write off?)

Personally I think the studios are the ones without ideas. Everything is changing with personal surround sounds, 4K, HD, video on demand, Netflix, Amazon, etc… People don’t need to go to a theater to watch movies. They can do it at home.

But the movie studios are stuck in the 80’s old way of thinking.  Lets make a block buster so we can entice people to pay the high price movie ticket and earn larger profits. However, if they were smart about it, which they aren’t, they can use streaming videos to their advantage. How about watching Star Wars on demand the day it comes out. I’d pay 10 maybe even 20 dollars to see that instead of dealing with finding a babysitter and annoying people talking during the movie.

Yeah, yeah I know. What about piracy? Its psychology 101. People are inevitably lazy. They aren’t going to want to spend hours downloading a badly recorded pirated version when they can easily watch the original for a reasonable price.

Okay, but what about the movie theaters? This will kill them. Not necessarily. There are still the people who like to see movies on the big screen. If they make it a better experience than at home, then they can actually increase sales, such as offer daycare. booth style stadium seating (think Las Vegas), maybe offer dinners they can eat before watching the movie. I go to a movie like that, even to see an old movie. The ultimate casual date night.

What do you think?

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

The Infinite Sea Book Review

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2)

Book Overview

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.


Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

Book Review

The book picks up where the first ends. Cassie and the others are holed up in a hotel close to the late Camp Haven. Evan is still MIA and believed dead. But Cassie doesn’t give up hope on him. Ben is badly injured so they can’t travel. So Ringer goes off on her own to locate a better place to hide.

Quickly it turns bad. Teacup follows her and she shoots the poor girl. They are captured and taken to a new Camp Haven while Evan claws his way to Cassie, losing his upgrades in the process. One of the Others, Grace, follows him and leads the Others to them.

Most of the book follows Ringers story at the camp with her being physically upgraded like the others so they can use her as a spy to find Evan.

I gave it 2 stars.

I wasn’t pulled into this story as the previous one. I found myself skimming to get through some of the constant monologing. At some points I thought the character Ringer’s story mimicked Cassie’s in book 1. When the story ended I felt as if the it had been cut off not in a good suspenseful way. Rather big important chunks left out of the story. Specially Evan and why the others are slowly killing humans instead of just wiping them out.

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

How to Avoid using Reviewers as Editors

I’ve noticed a trend where indie authors are asking me to review their books already published and asking for my opinion (i.e. editing advice). Right off the bat, I can tell it obviously hadn’t been professionally edited or badly edited, whichever the case.

I’m not sure why they would rushed to publish it when it wasn’t done. I wonder if they got in the trap where they had to publish. If you’re a writer, you knowing that feeling. You spent months or years writing the book . You’re sick and tired looking at it and want the damn book off your plate already. So you skip the editing stage and shove it out the door. Or maybe it has to do with money. Either you can’t afford to pay and editor or, in other cases, some authors start blogging, tweeting and posting on Facebook and quickly gain a large following. They start to feel the pressure to publish so they can bank on their new fame. Or maybe they thought it was ready. They had the book critiqued with one of those critique groups online or in town. A few people read the whole story and said they liked it. They may have even paid an editor to polish it. So they assume it’s ready to be published. But when the reviews start coming in, they aren’t what you expected at all.

I fell into that trap myself. I wanted to get the book off my plate and foolishly believed the critiquer’s and beta readers that my book was great. I paid an editor to polish it, skipping deeper story line edits that would’ve cost me thousands I didn’t have. When I published it, I had a rude awakening. I didn’t get the stellar reviews I expected. (Truth is no one does, unless paid for.) What some reviewers wrote made me realize the book wasn’t ready to publish as I thought. There were some serious story line issues I left out.

Lucky for me, I still had a strong story so my reviews weren’t too bad. The revisions my book needed didn’t require a new ISBN. But for the authors who publish a book that tanks badly, it’ll take a lot to build up their reputation with readers after that.

Even if the author decides to revise the book and republish it, they’ll have to get a new ISBN. I.e. no reviews, low ranking, etc… Pretty much starting over from scratch promoting the book, which may not be so bad if the book bombed, but it adds a lot of unnecessary work.

So you say, how do I avoid falling in this trap myself?

First of all, you can’t rely on a critique group review to spot story line issues when they only read a few pages at a time and days apart. They are good for line editing such as catching grammar and punctuation errors, POV issues and other minor editing issues, but nothing more.

Beta readers will give you a general sense of a book, but still not a true gauge, because of their skill level or time issue. Most beta readers are someone you arranged to swap reading stories with. They are focused on their book not yours. So they are going to do the bare minimum. (I had someone say, Oh your book seemed fast and nothing else after I gave them a 3 page manuscript critique.) Or they don’t have the experience to catch major issues.

So there are couple of steps you can take to get a true view of your book story line quality.

  1. After writing your first draft, have your book read by a professional “paid” editor who specialize in your genre. Make sure they provide you a detailed critique on your manuscript. They’ll be able to spot story line, characterization and other issues beta readers miss.
  2. Revise.
  3. Build a small beta reading group of writer’s in your same genre with writing skills that compliment yours. You can use them to verify you corrected the issues the editor noted in their critique.
  4. Have another professional editor read your second draft, preferably a different one so you get a fresh perspective.
  5. Edit and go back to your beta readers.
  6. Repeat until no one spots any serious issues.
  7. Then pay to have it polished.’

Even if you take all those steps, you can’t guarantee a bestseller, but you can at least ensure it’s well written and good story.

If you have any additional advice, please feel free to post a comment.

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

 

 

Alien apocalyptic: 5th Wave Book Review

Okay so I’m a little behind in my reading. I finally finished reading…

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1)

 

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Book Review

It’s start with 16 year old Cassie living alone in the woods by herself after the 4th alien attack (wave) hit earth. Over 7 billion people are dead. The survivors are scattered around the world. She is one of them. She stays hidden or risks being killed by the Others, which she isn’t sure who they are. They’re supposed to look just like humans. So she trusts no one, especially the military who killed her father and tried to kill her.

She decides to leave the forest and go save her 5 year old brother, Sam, from the military who took him. In the process she is shot and rescued by one of the Others. This is where the story parallels Twilight in a way. Her hunter, Evan,  young, hot, very strong and fast. Despite his mission to kill humans, saves Cassie, because he fallen for her.

But if you’re looking for a slow love story between them, you’re out of luck. The book skips around to other point of views so you get a sense of whats happening in the world beside Cassie holed up in a cabin with Evan.

I give it 4 stars.

I felt the characterization of Cassie and Ben were good and kept me interested, although neither of them have unique voices. They sound the same. Sam sounded too old for a five year old. My son is four, he hangs out with my neighbors son who is 5. They take him hunting on the weekends, but even so, I couldn’t imagine him thinking, let alone acting as mature as Sam. He sounded closer to 7 or 8. And whats up with all the girls wanting to slap the guys. (My personal pet peeve stereotyping girls as being girly girls.) I hate to break it to you Rick, but not all girls resort to sissy slapping when they get frustrated and mad at a guy. Some punch, some just roll their eyes and walk away and the list goes on.  (just to the  name a few responses).

If you like reading sci-fi’s or post apocalypse stories, this book is worth reading.

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

#FridayReads #BookReview Evangeline

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Evangeline (A Dark Faerie Tale, #0.5)

by Alexia Purdy

Book Overview

The Land of Faerie is calling.
There are places unknown, magic lures you in and love spans lifetimes.
Don’t resist. It’s in the blood…

Evangeline is a short story prequel to Ever Shade.

Book Review

I came across this book on Amazon Free Fantasy stories. I decided to give it a try, being it was a short story and I didn’t have to commit too much of my time before deciding whether or not I want to read the series. Sadly my first impression wasn’t that good, because:

The story was written in third person omniscient, which I’m not a huge fan of reading. It can become difficult to follow. Evangeline was no exception. The author didn’t have any transitions between the two POV’s Evangeline and her sister, Jade. She switched POV mid-paragraphs. So most of the time I had to re-read paragraphs to figure out who was speaking, taking me out of the story.

Next, the first couple of chapters the author spent a lot of time narrating and explaining backstory about the sisters and their powers instead of letting it unfold naturally with the story. However, she left off the most important part–character development.

The sisters characters were flat and hard to connect too. They had no personality. No unique characteristics. I didn’t even really know what they looked like, except Evangeline had black hair and brown eyes.

If that wasn’t bad enough, just as I finally felt the story was getting interesting when Evangeline met Jack, the story fast forwards to her leaving Jade to spend time with him, whom she had been dating for awhile and loved. Then the next chapter jumped again where she was living in Faerie Land.

I gave it 2 stars.

Despite my issue with third person omniscient, narrating backstory and flat characters, it had a potential. If the author had written in the interactions between Jack and Evangeline as well as Jade and the fairy king the story and the characters could’ve became interesting. However it didn’t.  It felt rushed and confusing instead.

Perhaps if you were reading the story, after have read book 1 it may have been more interesting. But starting with this book only turns you off from the series as it did with me.

Reminder: Today is the last day to download The Zeuorian Awakening Free on Amazon Kindle.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.