Category Archives: Historical
Review: The Tower of the Alchemist
The Tower of the Alchemist by Aimélie Aames
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sensual Sorcery & Storytelling
When I saw that this book was out, I was extremely excited to check it out. I was reading something else, but I put it off to the side for a second so I could start on this one. I might have gone a little overboard with that, too… it’s quite a long story, but I couldn’t stop reading. I might have put off a few other things in order to make more time for this book.
It was definitely worth it, though. I was excited to come back to the characters, especially after the last volume. The story starts right in the thick of things, with a lot of sort of magical mystery and intrigue going on. It reminded me somewhat of some of what happens in Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series, with that kind of fantasy suspense and mystery, you know? If you’ve read that, I think you’ll know what I mean, and it’s done really well in this book.
What I really loved about this book is how a lot of the plot and excitement all came together. There were some great hints and foreshadowing previously, but I wasn’t exactly sure where everything was going. It was interesting, though, and I definitely wanted to see how it all turned out. One of my favorite parts of this book was the revelation of the Marechal’s past, and what he’s been searching for all this time. I mean, there were references to it before this, but it always seemed like there was more to it. And… there was! Haha.
The backstory was masterfully done, with a nice hint of love and lust, along with betrayal and redemption. I liked the glimpse into the past from the point of view of Melisse and her present predicament, too. She’s been torn away from her old life and pulled into this new and eldritch world that she’s just beginning to understand. The entire idea is wonderfully fascinating.
I love the world building involved, but one of the things I like most about it is that it’s not too over the top “fantasy” if that makes sense? I like fantasy stories that are more approachable, without too much confusion. This entire series is very well written in those regards, and it makes it a pleasure and a thrill to continue reading. I never felt lost or dazed and confused like sometimes happens with other fantasy books.
I love the romance aspects, too. It’s like a fantasy romantic suspense love story, basically.
I don’t want to give anything away, but I’m extremely interested to know what happens with Melisse and the Marechal, too. There were a lot of additions to their story in here, but I’m definitely wanting to read more about them and their situation. My favorite part was probably with the Goddess Tear from Lys. I just think that sounds so nice and fancy, haha. That part was one of my favorites because I think it started a huge turning point in the series, like the calm before the storm.
Overall, honestly, this is a really great book in a really great series. Definitely a must read for fans of fantasy and romance. If you like paranormal romance, this one is very approachable, too. I know that fantasy stuff can get kind of crazy sometimes, but this is more down to earth and nice. Highly recommended and one of my favorite stories so far.
So… I’m not actually sure how this is going to go, but I figured I’d try it. I just put up a listing for a request for a narrator for the full-length version of Hunted: An Erotic Retelling of Beauty and the Beast yesterday, and I’m hoping to maybe get that done by Christmas.
The thing with that is that uh… well, I never planned on doing an audiobook version of this one, per se. I mean, the idea was always in my mind and of course I was open to it. If a random narrator approached me about doing it, then I definitely would have said yes. That doesn’t really happen too often, from what I know, but I’d honestly probably be open to a lot of things like that.
For random reference, I like to do royalty shares with my audiobook narrators, since I think it’s more fair to everyone. The problem there is that a royalty share can be a good or a bad thing, you know? If the story doesn’t sell very well, then they’re kind of out some time and effort, which is sad. If the story sells well, they can make a good amount of money, though. On the flip side to that, if I paid them per finished hour (this is also relatively standard), then they could technically make more money if the story sells well, or a lot less of the story sells poorly.
As of now, most of my audiobooks have at least broken even, just about. I don’t know if anyone really cares about the business side of that, but the narrators and I have a 7 year agreement, too, so basically like… they’re all pretty much going to get paid more than the industry average, but it might take awhile for them to get it? So far they’ve broken even, or are very close to breaking even, and my first audiobooks ever were released this year, so it should work out for them in the long run. That’s kind of how this business is on all fronts, though. Not always, and sometimes a story sells really well right from the get-go, but not always.
Anyways! The point of all of that? I like doing audiobooks because it helps the narrators, gives them legitimate credits for their voice-over work, and kind of sets them up for more, you know? They can use the audiobook as a stepping stone to a better foot in the narration industry, or for acting, or whatever. I honestly think all of the narrators that have worked for me could do really well with this, either strictly voices or acting, or whatever. They have talent and drive to succeed.
So… saying that, I wasn’t going to do an audiobook version of Hunted at first, because I didn’t actually think it would sell amazingly well. I didn’t think it’d sell poorly or anything, and I thought it’d be a good book. Honestly, I like it a lot, myself, and I think it’s pretty sexy. It’s different and fun, with a bit of darkness to it, and more than its fair share of eroticism. That’s uh… well, that’s kind of the thing, I guess. I don’t want to make anyone feel awkward narrating it? Haha.
I don’t know why I think anyone would feel awkward with it, though. I’m pretty upfront about what it is and what to expect, so if they’re interested, then I think they should be given the chance to give it a try. And if I think it’ll be a decent seller and good for their career, then I don’t mind offering the opportunity to them, either, you know? I’ve been given some chances in life when I thought I could do something that others might think was too difficult or too strange, and I think those are the best types of chances sometimes. Just to get things out there and try something different, but also something good and useful, right?
So… well, Hunted is doing well. The e-book version is doing very well, and the paperback is doing pretty good, too. Paperbacks are honestly a harder sell, since, as an indie author, I can’t really get them into physical bookstores at the moment. That’s just an industry thing, and the big traditional publishers mostly have a stranglehold on that. E-books are a lot different, though, and I think I have a good understanding of that side of things.
For reference, Hunted is currently #16 in the entire All Romance eBooks store. They even sent me a neat little image thing for this site, which I’ll throw up on the sidebar soon! It might be there by the time you read this.
It’s also doing exceptional on Amazon, with a max ranking so far in the low ~1200s. This has translated into being on these best sellers lists there:
#4 Paranormal Romance > Angels
#6 Paranormal Romance > Ghosts
#6 Fantasy > Fairy Tales
#6 Paranormal Romance > Demons & Devils
#10 Paranormal Romance > Witches & Wizards
#11 World Literature > Mythology
#28 Paranormal Romance > Werewolves & Shifters
That’s just in the US. It’s ranking pretty well in Fantasy > Fairy Tales and Fiction > Fairy Tales, plus Myths & Fairy Tales in the UK, as well.
So… anyways, it’s doing well! Which is fun and great, and I really appreciate everyone’s support in this one and I’m glad to hear that a lot of people have liked it so far. I’m always kind of nervous about these things, you know? Like… I want things to do well, and I try my best to make them good and something that people will like and want to read, but I guess I’m sort of a pessimistically optimistic person. Like… it would be really nice if everyone loved everything I wrote, but I know that’s not how things work, and different things work for different people, so I just hope that at least some people will like some of the things I write?
I don’t know if that makes sense. Don’t take any of this as being especially pessimistic, because I’m not. I get really excited about things, to the point of being maybe too excited, but I try to have realistic expectations, too. The two things sort of clash sometimes.
I’m rambling a bit now, but the point of this whole thing is that I’m hopefully going to make an audiobook of Hunted, and I think this will be a great opportunity for the narrator. I like helping people out and in a creative entertainment sort of place, like with fiction books and everything, it can be really hard to get a foot in the door, you know? It takes a lot of time and effort sometimes. I’ve spent a lot of my own time and effort on all of this, so I’m hoping to share it a little by providing someone the opportunity to use some of my time and effort to help themselves out and to further their creative endeavors.
I will let you know if I find anyone! I’m still kind of picky when it comes to narrators, and I have a certain sort of voice in mind for this one, but I like to leave my options open, too. Sometimes people can surprise you, you know? I like when that happens, since it’s a lot of fun.
(This is a weird sort of post, but these are just some of the things I think about sometimes, so I thought I’d share for those who were interested in that kind of thing. I hope you liked it! What are your thoughts on audiobooks? They’re a lot different and they take a little getting used to, but I really like them)
A New Freebie!
I mentioned in my newsletter this week that I was going to put up a new free story in the freebie section soon, and… well, hey! It’s there now. This is a sweeter one, and some of you may have read it already, but for those who haven’t, I hope you’ll check it out and see if you like it. I won’t spoil what it is, because it’s kind of like a present, I guess? You know, like… it’s fun to find out what it is after you open it (after you go to the freebie page), and then you can either get really excited or bemoan receiving a fruit cake for Christmas (or whatever holiday, I guess. I kind of like fruit cake, though, so maybe that’s not a great example).
Anyways! It’s there, so go check it out.
For those who can’t figure out how to get on the freebie page (because I haven’t figured out how to put good directions for it yet. Sorry!), you’ll need to sign up for my newsletter, which you can do on the side over there somewhere (—->). I send out newsletters on a weekly basis, and include the password to access my freebies from there. You also get fun information about stuff! What kind of stuff? Well, it varies a bit. I’ll mention my new releases and how I’m doing on specific stories, or what’s coming soon, all of that. I like to talk about other random things, too, like what I’m reading, or what I think of book things. And, I include fun little tips and tricks about sexy things (or things I think are sexy, at least. They aren’t always strictly tips, I suppose).
So… yes! Newsletters go out on Tuesdays, generally, and I’ve got two freebies available as of now, so… if you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for?
Kings and Outcasts
Since I’m working on The Monster Within at the moment, I figured I’d take some time today to talk about Solace and Bastion (and maybe Faith or others. We’ll see how it goes). I’ll be trying to keep things as spoiler free as possible, but if you’d like to make absolute certain that you don’t have anything spoiled, then you might want to consider skipping this one. I’d mostly like to discuss concepts and my ideas, so it should be relatively safe, though.
Solace is an outcast in the town of Glenwood, for (currently) reasons unknown. There are some reasons, and they’re pretty good ones once the story gets to it, but for now they’re secretive. I’ve dropped a couple of hints in Ember of Ecstasy, and there’s more to come soon, too.
The thing I find interesting about the whole thing is that Solace doesn’t know why everyone hates her, though. I really enjoy this concept and theme, because I think it’s easy to relate to that in a lot of ways. Why does anyone hate anything? I have some reasons for why I dislike things, and then I have reasons for why I hate things. I try to reserve really good reasons for the things I hate, but I don’t know if everyone does the same. As to the things I dislike? Sometimes I honestly couldn’t tell you why I do or don’t like something. It’s just personal preference and opinion based on bias and preconceived notions a lot of time.
Solace deals with it, though. She deals with it even though literally almost everyone in Glenwood hates her. She never questions it, nor gets upset, she just tries to become better. I like that about her. I can see where some people might think she’s a weak character or a bad one, because of all these bad things that happen to her, but she doesn’t let it get her down. I think there’s a huge difference there, you know? A character who has bad things happen and then just drops into depression is maybe “real” but not very fun? One who has bad things happen and then strives to overcome them, become better (even if there might not be a better), and just continues to live and try despite the odds being against them… well, I like characters like that.
Solace might seem weak or bad or a bunch of things at times, but honestly I think she might be one of the strongest characters in the story. She continues to try when she has no reason to, and I envy that somewhat and would like to replicate it in my own life.
As to Bastion, he’s in somewhat the same position, except backwards. As the Demon King, no one really hates him. I don’t think they can afford to, as there’s bound to be consequences. At least openly, you know? I mean, the occasional disagreement or dislike is probably fine, but open revolt? There’s got to be a huge reason to resort to something like that, and then the consequences could be huge, too.
The thing is, Bastion isn’t a mean person or a tyrannical Demon King or anything like that. He’s relatively nice, all things considered. He and Solace got off to an odd and rough start, but I think that’s understandable. I mean, she’s a human who was sent as basically a sacrificial bride for the ruler of the monstrous host in Runehaven. In her mind, he’s a monster. In his mind, he’s being sent some woman in order to maintain the peace, and he’s expected to marry her, but where is the love?
(Random side note field trip)
Arranged marriages are interesting in those regards. It’s one of those things that isn’t really applicable to a lot of countries nowadays. On a random side note to that, while I have no reference at hand, I’ve heard that arranged marriages that occur in India (I don’t know if they still do, but these were older statistics I was reading) actually have a high percentage chance of working well, and the two people who become married eventually come to enjoy it. I’ve always curiously wondered if it has something to do with the whole Kama Sutra love-making lesson and teaching thing, at least in part. The Kama Sutra isn’t that entirely, but I really like how it teaches and advocates pleasure in intimate unions, you know? I think other places should teach people these things, because to be completely honest a lot of people are oblivious about sex and how to make their partner happy, which is sad.
(Field trip is done!)
And… they’re trying, you know? Bastion and Solace are, perhaps, not compatible at all. They don’t know much about each other, nor do they know if they can even love each other. They aren’t sure if they have a future, or what their future is, or anything like that. They’d like to try, though. Together. Bastion finds that he enjoys Solace and the fact that she’s curious and unsure. I think he might see some of himself in her in those regards. As the Demon King, he’s not really allowed to be unsure, and the fact that Solace is, and is open about it, kind of complements him in a way. Bastion is strong and caring and treats her fairly when no one’s ever treated her that way in her entire life, which is interesting to her, but also leaves her feeling wary and cautious. Is it a lie? A ruse? Demons have a reputation for being less than respectable, at least according to the human books she’s read, and so you can’t really blame her for her initial wariness.
They work together, though. I think they go good together, too. They aren’t the same, not by a longshot, but the similarities that they have are a great base for a potential relationship, and the differences they have complement each other well, in my opinion. There’s a high chance for love there, blossoming and burgeoning.
Except there’s that whole issue of a human inevitably dying when she gives birth to a demon’s child…