Sep 15

Current Projects

I’m concurrently working on four projects.

1. Core Series:  Two novel series which run concurrently with the Dragon Songs Saga, and chronologically follow the half-elf Ninja, Jie. The first explores the pyramids and gemstones of Tivara, while the second details the war between the Bovyan and Eldaeri peoples.

2.  Dragon Charmer Conversion— Book 2 of the Daughter of the Dragon Throne series.  It is a single POV, first person version of Orchestra of Treacheries. The Dragon Charmer follows The Dragon Scale Lute, a first person version Songs of Insurrection.

3.  Dragon in Man’s Clothing Serial:  An episodic story which follows the Last Dragon, Avarax, as he tries to regain his human form. Part 1 is included in the short story anthology, Through the Never, to be published in October.

4.  Sci-Fi Serial:  An episodic story which follows three futuristic “elves” stranded in 17th Century Earth.

Sep 17

My Review of Crimson Queen

Rich, multicultural world building, intricate plot, and dazzling writing.

I wasn’t sure how to review Crimson Queen without giving away the mind-blowing revelation near the end, but here goes:

If you love classic fantasy, read this book!

If you love multiple points of view that weave together a complex tapestry of a plot, read this book!

If you love incredible world building and beautiful prose, read this book!

Whew, I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Honestly, I had a hard time getting into the story from the start, since I didn’t see where the tale was headed, and it took several chapters before even learning who the title character was.  However, that wondrous, multicultural world building, and unrivaled word-smithing kept me going until the I felt invested in the characters and intrigued with the storyline.

The setting is reminiscent of the post-Roman Empire world, stretching from  a Western Europe to a Middle East, and including characters who hail as far away as a pseudo-China.  Taking many forms, magic peaked a thousand years before, before a cataclysmic event shattered the world.  The story revolves around the rebirth of magic, and not everyone is happy about that.

Crimson Queen is about as close to perfection as it gets, though I do feel the “main” character isn’t as involved in the resolution of the central conflict as he should be; and sometimes, the beautiful language is repeated too often.  I probably saw “detritus” more times in the pages of Crimson Queen than I have since I was studying for the SAT.  Therefore, I can only give it a 4.99999999.

Sep 12

Launch Day for Fire and Fantasy

The Box Set ,Fire and Fantasy, launches today. It includes my story, The Dragon Scale Lute, which tells Songs of Insurrection from the first person point of view of Kaiya.

 

Whereas Songs of Insurrection is catered to readers of epic fantasy, The Dragon Scale Lute will appeal readers of YA Fantasy/Coming of Age stories.

 

If you enjoy Dragon Scale Lute, let me know, and I will continue converting the rest of the Dragon Songs Saga!  The entire series follows Kaiya as she grows from a gangly, awkward teen, into a heroic adult, through the lost magic of Dragon Songs.

Sep 03

My Review of Threads of Silk

I had the pleasure of reading (and listening) and reviewing to Amanda Roberts’ Threads of Silk, a historical fiction which takes place at the end of the Qing Dynasty. I actually didn’t know what it was about before I started, but the cover suggested 1800s China, so I delved right in.

As a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed the engaging storytelling in Threads of Silk. As someone who appreciates history, my enjoyment was tempered by a mostly one-sided, positive view of a generally reviled historical figure.

Told through the eyes of fictional Yang Yaqian, the story covers the turbulent end of China’s Qing Dynasty. From the research into everything from embroidery to cultural customs to history, the author weaves Yaqian’s personal joys and tribulations, into key events of the mid-to-late 19the century. She’s stubborn and courageous, smart and dutiful. Her innocence and humble origins, as well as her collection of mementos from her important relationships, make her relatable as she rises to palace embroiderer for Empress Cixi. The tying of all those threads made for a satisfying end.

If I were to judge solely on the merits of storytelling, Threads of Silk would be a hands-down 5+ stars. However, as historical fiction, historical inaccuracies can’t be ignored. The First Sino-Japanese war is off by a year. The United States is noted as China’s ally, without mention of the Unequal Treaties. The Chinese Exclusion Act is interpreted as a blanket ban. Yaqian is amazed by the British’s multi-story homes, when there were already many in China.

Yet these are issues which can be rationalized by Yaqian’s narrative point of view. More concerning to me is the glowing light in which Empress Cixi is portrayed. Though I am willing to accept that history, as written by men, is probably unfair in its absolute vilification of the empress, a complete opposite account made me scratch my head. All the praise Cixi receives in Threads of Silk is hard to rationalize with the marble boat, built with funds earmarked for the Chinese Navy, still sitting in the Summer Palace. I have reached out to the author, who has recommended a recent biography by Jung Chang.

As of now, I am giving the story a 4.5, with the potential to raise it to 5.

NOTE: I also had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook, narrated by Leanne Yau. At first, I was surprised with the British accent used for a Chinese story, but her voice is so soothing, and she captures the emotion so well. I highly recommend it!

 

About Amanda Roberts

Amanda Roberts is a writer and editor who has been living in China since 2010. Amanda has an MA in English from the University of Central Missouri. She has been published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies around the world and she regularly contributes to numerous blogs. Amanda can be found all over the Internet, but her home is TwoAmericansinChina.com.

Aug 09

Dragon Scale Lute will be in Fire and Fantasy

free-gifts

The Dragon Scale Lute, the first person, single POV version of Songs of Insurrection, will be released in the Fire and Fantasy boxed set.

 

Pre-order today and get 10 bonus gifts.

 

Jul 30

Prelude to Insurrection is FREE on Instafreebie

Prelude to Insurrection, a short-story prequel to the Dragon Songs Saga, is FREE on Instafreebie.  Claim your copy today!

Jul 19

Dance of Swords Available in Glimpses

My short story, Dance of Swords, is available in the short-story anthology, Glimpses.

It is free at Anthologers.com.

Apr 07

The Dragon Songs Saga is now Complete

With the publication of Symphony of Fates, the 4-book Dragon Songs Saga is now complete.

Feb 17

Review of Teeth of the Gods

The idea of an East Indian-African fantasy turned me on to Teeth of the Gods, and the spectacular world building did not disappoint. Based on India, the visual, aural, and olfactory descriptions of clothes, customs, architecture, etc, are vibrant without weighing down the pace. It only gets better with a creative twist at the end.

The story follows Tylira, a spoiled, sheltered princess as she searches for freedom from within the confines of cultural norms. For her, the solution is to find the Teeth of the Gods, a prized artifact whose recovery will win the favor of the ruler. As a main character, she is impulsive, bratty, and selfish; but as with most YA stories, it leaves her a lot of room to grow in both character and magic.
And what a unique magic system the author has created! Part of Tylira’s growth stems from her trying and failing to connect to the Common, the source of magic.

This does bring on a downside to the story as a whole: tapping into the Common requires meditation– the user’s consciousness enters a world akin to the spirit world of Spirited Away or The Last Airbender—where Tylira meets ancestral guides. The slipping in and out of this state is disorienting at first, and sometimes I was never sure if I was in the material world or the spirit world.

In addition, the narrative thoughts slipped into present tense, which sometimes hitched my enjoyment of the story at first, but which I grew used to midway through.
Despite these issues, I found Teeth of the Gods to be an entertaining, engaging story, filled with some of the most creative world building I’ve seen in a while. I will definitely be reading the sequel to see where Tylira’s adventures take her.

4.5 stars.

Feb 15

Dances of Deception FB Release Party

I will be hosting a release party for Dances of Deception on Facebook, with giveaways, author takeovers, and more.

launch copy

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