Indie Author: Ryan Hill

Barking Madness

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Ryan Hill published his novel, Barking Madness with an independent publisher, PULSE Publishing.  I was privileged to receive a copy of his novel in exchange for a review on my blog. Barking Madness is an exciting surprise. This psychological thriller will keep you turning the page to find out what happens next. Murders, werewolves, ghosts, psychotic delusions…there is so much and yet Hill pulls it all together and makes the pieces connect.

The story is told from two different first person perspectives. Mike and Rose switch back and forth to tell us this strange story as they see it. Mike’s character is strong and endearing. He cares about others even when he is hurting and that makes him attractive as a main character. I definitely wanted to continue to know him and thoroughly enjoyed his chapters.

Rose, on the other hand, is distant and childish. She is introduced immediately as being completely self-involved. I found descriptions of her to be very interesting…I am curious to know more about Hill’s construction of this character. Rose is clearly the central figure of the novel, and yet Hill distances her from the reader. However, this does not distract from the desire to “see what happens next”!

Something pretty neat about Ryan Hill is that he began writing Barking Madness when he was 18 and published the book his freshman year of college! How exciting and encouraging at the same time! What is so great about that is not only the accomplishment4469362 in and of itself, but the fact that Hill, who is definitely a talented writer, can only continue to grow in his craft.  I would imagine that we may see some extremely good pages from Hill in the future.

(Rated R: for language and sexual situations – I would recommend this for older YA readers.)

Indie Writer Elissa Riley

Silhouette

Silhouette BOOK COVER by Elissa Riley

I’m extremely pleased to introduce Elissa Riley and her independently published premiere novel, Silhouette. I received a copy of the novel in exchange for a review. First, I have to say that I really love the cover for this book. When I first saw it I found it intriguing and after reading Riley’s novel I think it is a perfect choice to introduce the story of a land called D’or, and two fun new characters in YA writing, Leira and Tristan.

After the unexpected death of her mother, Leira Sky goes to live with her Aunt Agatha in a mysterious manor. The giant house seems to take Leira back in time with it’s traditions, housekeepers and maids and one often forgets that the novel is taking place in present day. Aunt Agatha plays a bit of a wicked stepmother that most of the other story participants fight desperately to avoid.

Then one day, Leira meets the sexy and mysterious Tristan, son of the angry, reclusive lord of the house. Curious about this beautiful young man, Leira follows him one day and finds him in his greenhouse. And so begins their interesting adventures of love, travel to fantastic lands with pixies, tiny mushroom men, weather that changes with a person’s mood, and sinister minions of a dictatorial king. (rated PG/PG-13 – the book is definitely in the YA genre, but refreshingly avoids the need for teenagers to have sex. However, intense descriptions of nightmares or some of the monsters in D’or may push the rating to PG-13 for younger readers)

Readers of The Story Realm will know that I enjoy getting to know authors, not just reading their work. And I was not disappointed by Elissa Riley. She kindly took the time to answer a few questions for us about her writing process and her book. Enjoy!

A Short Chat with the Author

SR: What is your writing process like?

Riley: I knew I wanted to write a fantasy.  This is my favorite genre, not only to read, but to write as well, as it opens itself up to so many possibilities.  I could stretch the story as far as my imagination would take me.  Really, the possibilities were endless.
14137359I’m also a big fan of love stories.  The characters become more relatable and I find myself more emotionally invested in the story.
So, once I had my basic idea (girl meets boy, girl goes to a fantasy world), I drew up an outline.  I found this extremely helpful in keeping me on track while writing.  Then, little by little, I filled in the gaps.
Once I had a finished story, I set it aside and worked on something else.  Sometimes, when I’m so deep into a project, it’s hard to see the details anymore.  After some time, I revisited the story, reading it from start to finish before making any revisions.  Then I repeated this process until I was happy with the end result.

SR:How did this story come to you?

Riley: As I’ve found is the case with many authors, the idea for this story came to me in a dream.  In particular, the image of Leira arriving at a cold, grey, uninviting mansion (which later evolved into Woodbury Manor), only to find herself surrounded by the haunting characters who live there.

SR:Did you enjoy writing a novel enough to try it again?

Riley: I absolutely enjoyed writing this novel.  I found it very therapeutic.  And, while the idea of writing another novel seems slightly daunting (this novel took me roughly four years from conception to completion) I found it well worth the effort.  I currently have several new book ideas in the works that I am extremely excited about.

SR:The description of Bodhi and his home is very interesting.  How did that image come to you?

Riley: Bodhi’s ability to view and alter the future, along with the imagery of his house dripping like wet paint were inspired by the painting “The persistence of memory” by Salvador Dali (the painting depicts several clocks that appear to be melting).  In Silhouette, the concept of time is warped for Bodhi and the idea of a fixed cosmic order is questioned by his very existence.  Bodhi’s house and body are physical manifestations of this idea.

SR:Who is your favorite character in Silhouette?

Riley: I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have a strong affinity for Leira, as I find her the most relatable.  But the character that was the most fun to write was Nevayah.  Her unapologetic cruelty is so vastly different from my own personality, that writing a character like her was strangely gratifying.

SR:What is your current favorite book?

Riley:This is always a tough question, as my favorites list seems to be ever-growing.  But one book that I always seem to come back to is Stardust by Neil Gaiman.  It’s a magical tale, with beautiful imagery.  Gaiman’s command of the written word is truly inspiring.

Thank you to Elissa Riley for sharing her novel and a glimpse of her process with us here at The Story Realm! If you are interested in reading more about Silhouette or Riley there are links above or here!                        Silhouette            Elissa Riley

Happy Reading and Happy Writing!

Take a little listen…

I LOVE audio books! How amazing that I can clean, fold laundry, drive, watch my kids in the pool, go for a walk or whatever and never have to put my book down! And, if you are lucky to come across a great narrator who makes the experience even more magical, all the better! And there are some great narrators out there…and sadly, some not so great ones.

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So, I would like to offer up some suggestions for some great summer listens!

 

 

Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale

Pictures of Hollis Woods read by Hope Davis

Chronicles of Nick series read by Holter Graham

Lies of Locke Lamora read by Michael Page

In the After duology read by Julia Whelan

Ender series or Ender’s Shadow series read by a series of amazing narrators

Ramona series read by Stockard Channing…yes, Rizzo!!!!

Thirteen Reasons Why read by Joel Johnstone and Debra Wiseman

Unknown Assassin (previously called Boy Nobody) series read by John Salwin

Patricia Cornwell novels read by a series of great narrators

The Giver quartet read by a series of great narrators

All the Light We Cannot See read by Zach Appleman

Between Shades of Gray read by Emily Klein

Pirates!the true and remarkable adventures of Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kingston, female     pirates          read by Jennifer Wiltsie

 

These are just a few audio books that have stood out to me over the years. It is not exhaustive by any means. Check out your local library – most libraries are equipped with Overdrive at this point and you can find so many books and audio books (for free!). A shout out to the Richland Library here in Columbia, SC with Overdrive set up with over 30,000 titles!!!!

Hope you can find a story that sucks you in this summer! More titles to come!

I want to know:                                                                                                                                                    What are you reading/listening to while you sunbathe this summer?

 

(For book review requests, there is now an email contact in the sidebar. I look forward to hearing from you!)

 

February Reading

I may love movies and TV, but there are hardly words to describe how I feel about books. I hope that you will join me and either continue to hold them passionately dear to your heart, or come to experience books in a whole new way. My desire is to use The Story Realm to introduce you to new books, re-examine older books and delve deeper into all books. I do hope you will come along for the ride!

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The Shadow Revolution: Crown and Key
trilogy

Yesterday, February 1, I finished this first installment of the Crown and Key trilogy. The authors Clay and Susan Griffith are a husband and wife writing team – which I find really fun and I’m not usually interested in team written works.

 

Today I jumped right into the second installment: The Undying Legion. So far, I’m super engrossed and really excited to find out what happens. The book is extremely fast paced and action packed! The story is reminiscent of the newer versions of Sherlock Holmes in theme and wit. The fantasy and alchemic references mirror that of my all time favorite anime, Fullmetal Alchemist (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood). In as far as the first book goes, I highly recommend it.  I’ll keep you updated as I finish the series. (Also – a shout out to Columbia, South Carolina’s Richland Library that has brand new editions of all three books. Buying books is always awesome, but don’t forget to support your local library.) (Rated: adult fiction/fantasy – PG-13 for violence)

February Read Alongs

In other reading news, I have joined some new Instagram friends in a couple of read alongs for the month of February.

The High Ladies @thecourtofbooksandreaders and their Good Reads is currently reading The Siren by Kiera Cass. So if you are a fan of The Selection series, you may want to give it a go. (YA novel – haven’t started it yet so I can’t rate it.)

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Image from: @thecourtofbooksandreaders

Also, @babblingbooks and her blog spot: babblingbooks.com.au has a read along going for The Lies of Locke Lamora. She does warn about language and adult situations in the book.

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Image from: @babblingbooks and babblingbooks.com.au

I’m 6 chapters in and I would definitely give this one an R rating.  But the characters and setting are intriguing and I am interested to figure out this Locke character. (Rated: adult fantasy fiction – R)

 

Come on in! The readings fine!