After several days of staring at my crowdfunding campaign I decided I needed a book break. I happened to download an urban fantasy book by one of my favorite authors and thought I’d share my review of it. If you are looking for a new read in the urban fantasy genre, I highly recommend anything by Jasmine Walt. I first stumbled upon Jasmine Walt’s work in the Shadows of Salem Series written with Rebecca Hamilton (for more information see here).
I don’t typically do a lot of reviews, in fact I have never put one on this blog before. This book and these authors deserve one heck of a shout out, so without further ado, here’s my review of Jasmine Walt & Debbie Cassidy’s latest book Marked by Sin.
Marked by Sin is a roller coaster ride and one of the best books in the urban fantasy genre I’ve read in recent years. The book introduces us to the world of Malina, a London-based assassin with the Brahma Corp’s Assassin Guild. An assassin who is one kill away from Ascension which occurs after fifty kills and is also known as a raise, better apartment, and better rank within the Guild. Malina has spent all of her life in the Assassin Guild. Her adopted father raised her and trained her to be the best.
When Malina’s fiftieth mission is complete, even though it doesn’t go quite as planned, she is ready to Ascend. During the ceremony where she receives her mark to confirm her kill the bottom falls out of Malina’s world. The fifty kills she’s has made have left a taint on her soul, because each of the fifty were innocents. Searching for answers, Malina navigates the new world and discovers her place within it, and maybe a potential romance.
What works: Malina. She’s strong, very loyal to those she cares about and is genuinely upset when she finds out how the world is not as she believed it to be. The vast supporting cast is all well-developed and serves to keep the plot moving forward. There is minimal bad language (okay this may be wrong, but I didn’t notice it). Also, having a UF book with a different take on the supernatural (i.e. using the Hindu pantheon) is very refreshing.
What doesn’t work: While personally, I wish the book were longer, I can’t really find anything that doesn’t work.
I will be preordering book 2 and any other books these ladies put out. If you’re interested in checking the book out for yourself it is available at Amazon.
I haven’t been completely honest. When I published Golden Opportunity I was a bit on the naive side of life. I thought I’d found a great editor who happened to also be my proofreader (big mistake on my part). I paid $1500 for both copyediting and proofreading. On the day Golden Opportunity went live I received a message from a person I went to high school with. She felt my book was comma heavy and a little lacking in certain real world information. Here’s what happened next.
- I went and proofread my book. It was comma heavy. In 87,000 words I used nearly 5,000 commas.
- I used ProWritingAid and Grammarly to help fix the worst of the problems. Yes, I’m admitting it I had to use programs to fix some of my book’s issues. It may sound awful, but I was already out $1,500 for editing and proofreading and it didn’t help. I had to do something to make it up to my readers.
- I spent months tweaking and fixing every line.
- Finally, I realized I couldn’t fix it by myself. I needed a good editor. One who wouldn’t tell me the book was “perfect” even when it isn’t.
When I finally admitted it to myself I cried for several hours. I’m almost forty-nine years old. I’m about to start an MFA in creative writing program in the fall. I write every single day without fail (and I mean that). I live with autoimmune hemolytic anemia with both warm and cold agglutinins, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, and I have IBD. I spend most of my time at home. I don’t go out, because who’s going to want to date an old broad who can’t stray too far from a bathroom or who spends her time worrying that her body temperature is going to go below ninety-nine degrees risking a full flare of my autoimmune disorder and requiring massive blood transfusions. I live on SSDI because I can’t work outside the home. My family uprooted themselves so I could find someplace to live with a more moderate climate to keep my health under control.
So there I am trying to figure out how I can afford another one to two thousand dollars for editing when I’m already nearly two thousand dollars in the red on the book. Oh and let’s not forget I have book 2 needing edited, book 3 needing edited, and in about three months books 4 and 5 will be needing edited as well. That’s $7500 that I can’t afford. I earn a whopping $12,000 a year on SSDI. Having to realize you’re no longer able to work is horrible. Having to see the look on people’s faces when I they recognize my government issued debit card is even worse.
My goal through all my writing has only ever been to earn enough to keep me writing the next one. That means paying for the editing, covers, marketing, and the miscellaneous stuff that each book costs. I’m not trying to get rich, I’m just trying to get my stories out there. My education is what is designed to help me earn a living, not my writing. Although it would be nice if it did.
So here I sat working on a budget so I could figure out where to squeeze every extra dime so I could have the money I need for covers and editing. It’s just not possible. Covers…maybe. Editing…can’t do it. The funds just aren’t there anymore. Plus I need a professional website and several other tools to speed up my work…as with everything else the funds aren’t there. Today I received an email about crowdfunding and the various platforms. I went a checked out a few websites. I looked at Inkitt and others and finally realized I could use Indiegogo. I’ve created a campaign that will run for two months. I’ve been open and honest about the costs associated with the books I want to publish. Maybe I can get a few donations to help offset the cost of the books.
If you, or anyone you know is willing to spread the word and help an old broad get her stories out in the world please feel free to share it on your Twitter, Facebook, heck any social media account you can think of. I’d really appreciate it. I figure I won’t get any donations, but if I do it will be a nice shock. My campaign is here.
Thank you for your time.
V. L. Cooke