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The Legend of Solis

The Legend of Solis (Chronicles of the Enlai Book 2)
The Legend of Solis by N.E. MichaelMy rating: 5 of 5 starsIn The Legend of Solis, the story continues from The Nexus Mirror, but the protagonists shift. Not that we don’t see some of our favorite characters from The Nexus Mirror, it’s just that the story doesn’t focus on them. We’re introduced to a new character, a very likeable character named Tobias Ford. This new character starts off as a soldier in the United States military, which has begun a campaign to hunt down the Enlai. As the story progresses, we find out that Tobias is a very powerful Enlai, and he switches sides.Michael Noah’s last book, The Nexus Mirror, was good, but The Legend of Solis was great. I flew through it in a few da...
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The Nexus Mirror


The Nexus Mirror We have here a story about a hidden race on Earth, known as the Enlai, and a human who sets out to stop a war between the different factions of this race. Then we have a woman of the Reader Enlai group being manipulated by the villain after her sister is kidnapped. Finally, later in the book, we are introduced to the ruler of the Shadow Enlai, who ultimately became one of my favorite characters.  This book took me by surprise. What I mean by that is that after several chapters of slowly being introduced to the characters and the world that Michael Noah created, I found that I wasn’t that interested. First, because I am a Mortal Kombat player, the name Raiden immediately had ...
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Storm Cloud Haze


Storm Cloud Haze – Five StarsStorm Cloud Haze: A memoir in poetry, prose and polaroids by Alessandra WikeMy rating: 5 of 5 starsWow! How do you rate this? How do you rate someone’s life, their pain, their suffering, their fear? I didn’t really want to, but I know how important it is for an author.If this were a work of fiction, my rating would be so different, or if I were to rate it on the writing alone. I disliked the poetry. Even the prose was written poetically, and I care little for that style of writing. However, I’m going to ignore that part of my brain for this review. It’s trivial to the story being told in Storm Cloud Haze.Storm Cloud Haze is a story of pain. It’s a story of trauma...
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Einstein’s Beach House Book Review


five stars Einstein’s Beach House by Jacob M. Appel My rating: 5 of 5 stars   A couple adopt a depressed hedgehog; a mother is seduced by the father of her daughter’s imaginary friend; a man kidnap’s his ex-wife’s pet turtle. In eight tragi-comic stories, Einstein’s Beach House: Stories features ordinary men and women rising to life’s extraordinary challenges. These are the kind of stories I can jive with. A collection of strange tales that border believably. Nothing too out there, nothing that couldn’t happen, but most certainly quirky. Appel has a sense of humor that resonates with me. As my wife so aptly put it, “I could be friends with this guy.”The book had eight short stories, includin...
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No Room For Regret


No Room For Regret by Janeen Ann O’ConnellNo Room for Regret by Janeen Ann O’ConnellMy rating: 4 of 5 starsThis book is difficult for me to rate. I definitely enjoyed it at times, but then I found that I was exasperated by it at others. It’s listed as a historical fiction and it definitely qualifies, but it is most certainly a romance novel as well.I had no idea that I was reading a romance until toward the end, although the clues were there. Not that this is a huge issue, as I’ve read some romances before and they were perfectly fine reads. Just not my cup of tea.But the real issue for me was this: When introduced to the protagonists, Blay and Tedder, I was struck by their incredibly unfort...
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The Mummy (Ramses The Damned) by Anne Rice

The Mummy (Ramses the Damned #1)
The Mummy by Anne RiceMy rating: 3 of 5 starsRamses awakens in 1914 in London, years after his previous awakening. When he had reigned over Egypt he learned the formula to make an elixir that made him not only immortal, but superhuman. He apparently is highly intelligent, reflected by learning English in record time. I personally wonder how intelligent he is, because some of the decisions he makes in the story aren’t the brightest. However, his poor decision making is what drives the plot. Anne Rice loves her immortals. I think perhaps Ramses is my favorite type of immortality featured in her books. Unlike her vampires, Ramses doesn’t seem to have any flaws (Other than thinking with his litt...
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Making of a Cover, Part Five


The Final Touches The last few weeks have left me worn and tired. I have been working tirelessly on perfecting the cover of The Unfettered Child while also working with my editor to perfect the manuscript. What more could be done with the cover, you ask? Actually, so much more. In fact, I found something new to fix almost every time I looked at it. It’s been a while since I did part four of this series, so let’s back up to then: The cover first uploaded to Amazon. As you can see, I had Samara standing in the corner, looking kind of vague, her feet shrouded in shadow (okay, a gradient really), and striking a tree in the distance with a magical lightning bolt. Something nagged at me when I pre...
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Beloved


In Honor of Toni Morrison Nobel Prize winner in Literature Toni Morrison To Celebrate the life of the esteemed author Toni Morrison, I’m reposting my review of Beloved. This book ranks as one of my all time favorite reads. Beloved by Toni MorrisonMy rating: 5 of 5 starsWhen I enrolled into my contemporary literature class, I couldn’t fathom what kinds of novels my instructor planed to toss at us. I remember staring at the reading list with more than a little trepidation, and when my eyes glanced over Toni Morrison’s Beloved, I groaned. The red background with the flowing gold script screamed romance to me. When it came time to read the book, I settled in with an open mind, but still trembled...
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Age and Culture


When I start pecking at my keyboard, I generally have a good idea of what I’m writing about. Not that I claim to be a scholar like Tolkien was, but I have the internet at my fingertips and a library down the road. Meaning, I do my research. The reason I bring this up stems from a comment I received regarding Samara’s age in The Unfettered Child. The commentator suggested that I make her 14 or 15 to better fit with the story. I can appreciate someone not wanting to read about an 8-year-old child, but Samara’s age is perfect for my story. Here’s why: Age and Culture Children fishing Historically (especially in primitive societies like Samara’s), adulthood was attained at the onset of puberty a...
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Fight Club


Fight Club Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk My rating: 5 of 5 stars Chuck Palahniuk is weird. No skirting around that, he just is. But I really like his style. When I first rated this book, I gave it a 4-star rating, but I’m returning to write a review, and I decided to augment that with an additional star. The unnamed protagonist suffering from insomnia seeks refuge by joining many support groups by impersonating a seriously ill person of that assembly. When he meets Tyler Durden, we eventually discover that our protagonist has been slowly slipping into madness throughout the book.Palahniuk’s big reveal at the end would have surprised me had I not seen the movie first. Still, I feel that Palah...
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Magician


The Magician He held the fate of two worlds in his hands . . . Once, he was an orphan called Pug, apprenticed to a sorcerer of the enchanted land of Midkemia. Then he was captured and enslaved by the Tsurani, a strange, warlike race of invaders from another world. There, in the exotic empire of Kelewan, he earned a new name– “Milamber.” He learned to tame the unnimagined powers that lay within him. And he took his place in an ancient struggle against an evil enemy older than time itself. My thoughts on Goodreads: Magician by Raymond E. FeistMy rating: 4 of 5 starsThe fact that I knew nothing about this story when I first started reading this book left me with a more favorable impression of i...
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Branding

Man branding a cow.
I don’t mean what cowboys do to their cows! I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject. I keep reading at different places that, as an author, I must create a brand. I have never quite understood what this means. After doing some research, I think I discovered a possible explanation. I may be wrong, but it sounds like making my work into a series or writing about a world that I created to write my stories in. Why would I want to do this? I know it helps generate sales, because readers get attached to your world and your characters, but I’m not really into writing about the same characters in one series indefinitely like so many authors do. Book 1, book 2, book 3, book 4, book 5, book 6, . ....
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Making Of A Cover, Part Four


Art and Photoshop During my previous three Making of a Cover posts, I told of my adventures during the week leading up to the photo shoot. Designing the cover in Photoshop had actually started weeks before that. I had so many projects going in the design of this book! Before I had my model, I had created various working covers to choose from, along with a number of text fonts to try out. Layouts, backgrounds, foregrounds, ideas upon ideas. Well, just look at them all: https://www.facebook.com/pg/MichaelCSahd/photos/?tab=album&album_id=671475539957154 Here’s an example of my first shared cover.One I made from silhouettes I really disliked these covers, but they were improving as I went along....
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Character Sheets


No, I’m not talking about Dungeons and Dragons. I’m talking about character sheets for the characters in novels. Not to say that I haven’t used D&D to make characters for my novels, because I certainly have. However, Dungeons and Dragons lacks some very important elements for characters in books. You want your characters to be memorable. You want them to be believable (at least in some ways). You want them to be unique. How do you go about doing that? Well, I’ll start by telling you how I do it. Then I’m going to share some resources I found to help. However, since I mentioned resources, I’ll actually start with what I use to outline, keep notes, store information, and begin my writing proce...
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Making Of A Cover, Part Three


The Day Of The Photo Shoot This was your classic busy day, during which you scramble to get everything done in the short amount of time you have allocated. We had to meet our photographer at “solar noon.” Why? Simply because we were using a green screen, poor-man style. Basically, I had bought some green fabric, which we needed to hang from a tall fence, and the sun had to be directly above us so that it would not cast a shadow. So we had a timeframe to get ready in. One of the largest issues with using my daughter as the model for Samara was her hair color. Samara has dark black hair, and my daughter has dirty blond locks. Otherwise, she fit perfectly. So her cousin, who used to work in bea...
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Making Of A Cover, Part Two


The Costume So I got my model, and I had my photographer lined up. What’s next? Well, she needed to look the part. I needed something directly from the book, and Samara was described as wearing mammoth skin, black leather, with a brown-and- gray fur. My first stop was Hobby Lobby and Walmart, where I bought a few things: This was the fabric I purchased, and I know there is very minute difference between the two black ones in the picture, but they were very different in person. The black fabric from Hobby Lobby was softer, more supple than the faux leather from Walmart. I had a friend, as I mentioned, who intended to put this together for me, but much to my horror, he was not getting back to ...
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Making Of A Cover, Part One


Finding Samara If anybody had been following me when I first started the publication process of Assassin Marked, they would know the struggle I went through to come up with a cover for it. Since it was such a short story I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, and I also couldn’t find any stock photography that portrayed Damian. Fast forward two years later to when I began preparing my first full-length novel, The Unfettered Child, for publication. I wanted to really do my best with it, so I started early. I had several plans: Getting my daughter to model the main characterMaking a costumeDoing a photo shootFinally, making the cover When I first had the idea, my daughter was keen on doing the...
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Assassin Marked

Assassin Marked Cover
  BuySharePreview Assassin Marked Michael released Assassin Marked in October of 2017. However, Damian made his first appearance long before that, in a short story Michael wrote while still in high school. Although nothing ever came of the original story, Damian continued to inhabit some primal domain in Michael’s imagination. He finally returned to our world in a dialog practice that Michael wrote for a college writing class. This, too, found itself filed away among many of Michael’s other writings. Years later, Michael’s wonderful wife (who also happens to be a professional editor) took a look at Assassin Marked. After much persistence from her, Michael made the story what it is today, and...
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Don’t Miss Your Chance For A Free Download Of Assassin Marked

Assassin Marked Ad
The last two weeks, I have been super busy writing. Not anything new. I’ve mostly been improving The Unfettered Child, preparing it for publication. Yup, that means my Camp NaNoWriMo project has been put on the back burner. Sorry, Camp NaNoWriMo! This upcoming novel is entirely unrelated to Assassin Marked, but don’t give up hope, folks. I’m certain you will enjoy The Unfettered Child, and it won’t be too long before you see Lavender Rose’s release ( the full-length sequel to Assassin Marked). Sorry, people waiting for the sequel. Free on April 30th Speaking of Assassin Marked! As the title to this blog post states, I am running an Amazon promotion, so you can download a digital copy of Assa...
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Do You Believe In Magic?

Pimply Wizard
While perusing the endless posts of writers seeking help and advice on social media, I’ve run across some who ask, “How can I make magic work in my story?” Many established authors have broached the subject and invented unique methods, but new writers want to make something fresh. A young wizard The real question is: What is a fantasy story without magic? Of the top of my head, I can’t think of any high fantasy stories that don’t include magic of some kind. J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Robert Jordan, and so many more authors have included magic in their stories. Each of these authors approaches the use of magic in their own way, and applies their own limits to its use. For exam...
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