Book #2 of The Eden Chronicles, The Forbidden Fruit, is officially on sale!

37914686_lcover

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01450CSQO

Tick tock

The time for my release is approaching

But my hopes of making it out of here as a free woman are diminishing with every passing second.

Men can do beautiful things in the name of God or love- I’ve seen it.

But they can do evil things for the same reasons too.

And those who suffer not from love, but obsession? They’re capable of the most heinous acts.

And all a girl, who is the source for both conditions- love and obsession alike- is pray that someone- anyone- is watching over her.

That someone is guiding them.

That one person in this world will put her needs before their own.

I’m not hopeful that someone is watching over me.

But I am praying.

Every day.

In Book #2 in the True Eden Chronicles, sixteen year-old Larkin Whittaker has a choice to make, a risk to take, a heart to give away- and the repercussions of all of the above to live with after. She knows that if she stays focused and untouchable, that she could end up living the life that she’s dreamt of, since Kohl Barachiel first introduced her to romance novels…
But she also knows that there’s something, some force inside Eden or within herself, that is blackening the Barachiel men’s pristine souls, and forcing them to each tighten their grip on hers.

One of them is destined to crush her, but which one? The one who holds her hand, her heart- or her contract? Only time, and strength of character, will tell.
In fact, the only thing that she does know for sure, is that only a miracle will be able to extricate her from paradise unharmed now.

On Skinny-Shaming: Not all real women have curves!

Girls' Globe

Recently, the world witnessed a surge of criticism on fat-shaming, with many plus-sized women coming out to flaunt their bodies and starting “Love Your Body” campaigns. Size zero went from an ideal body size to something women started looking at as unnecessarily and disgustingly unattainable. Marilyn Monroe became the new ‘ideal’ of a woman. Today, more women want to be like her. More runway designers are showcasing plus-size models in their shows and designing clothes for bigger-sized women. There is a new-found conception that ‘real women have curves.’

Photo credit: Stephanie London Photo credit: Stephanie London

Though I do believe that women with curves are beautiful and that they should prize their body shapes, I do not believe that all real women should have curves. In the midst of the movement to build self-esteem for plus-size women, we often forget that we might be demeaning women who are naturally thin or have size-zero…

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50 Shades of haters: The warranted Review for E.L James’s work

I’m a little excited. When I read the Fifty Shades trilogy the first time round, it was pre-goodreads, so I never got a chance to review it, and doing reviews in the far-past tense are so hard to do, so I might make this one count for the whole series.

Okay, Confession Number One: Christian Grey got me pregnant.

I started reading this when I was halfway through writing Heads Or Tails, in early 2012- I think March. the first thing that struck me was that she’d used the surname ‘Grey’ which was the same as the protagonist I was writing then, the second was that she overused the words: ‘Oh My’ and ‘Inner Goddess’ so often that I was ready to beat my head against the mirror until my bathroom became the red room of pain… the third was that Oh My, did my Inner Goddess like Christian! Turns out, hubby liked the things that Christian did too and boom- pregnant!

Confession Number Two: I hated Fifty Shades Of Grey.

It took me soooo long to get onto the Grey train. I was hitting the emergency brake loudly- and on Facebook every few pages. ‘Oh, the writing is awful!’ ‘Oh, I don’t know if the sex scene are worth the inner dialogue!’ ‘Oh if this was my man, I’d beat him into submission!’ It was painful for me, and my first erotic read- ever-so it didn’t go down so well. The truth is, if I hadn’t bought it on audio ‘just to see’ I wouldn’t have turned the pages.
But thirty bucks is a lot of money to pay for a story so I listened on, updating my FB constantly with a stream of jackass ‘I am so much better than this’ posts that implied superiority, and then- she left him. She LEFT him! I couldn’t believe it. Not only that the heroine had actually managed to save herself, but that it hit me in the gut like a fist. I’d JUST started to glimpse the man inside the beast and she was walking out the door and she kept walking and I was crying- and I was hooked. Absolutely hooked. Never before or since have I read/ watched a break-up scene that hit me harder than this one did- every time they almost separated too. It was gut-wrenching. I didn’t like him, but it broke my heart. How weird is that? How cool to be forced to feel?

For me, this book is the reason why I try not to DNF anything. You never know what you could miss out on, if you give up, or if you let hype talk you out of something, or try to make up your mind before the ‘The End.’ I couldn’t get my hands on books 2 and 3 fast enough and oh my GOD, did I love book two! When he drops to his knees… that is some powerful shit. I was riveted, absolutely riveted. I was pregnant by the time I finished it, loaned hubby the audiobooks and between us, we must have listened to that trilogy 5 times.

Confession Number Three: 50 Shades got me pregnant again

A few weeks ago, after having invested 6 solid months in theatre (my ultimate goal is to write a musical) I came out of an audition feeling pretty disillusioned and knowing that the time I was spending on it wasn’t worth the time I wasn’t getting to write. I turned down the part I got and came home with a copy of the 50 Shades DVD and a bottle of wine, choosing downtime for the first time in months and a couple of hours later- pregnant! Now I’ve got no choice but to write for the next 10 months or so 🙂
That strikes me as hilarious because reading Fifty the first time lead me to think it was okay to have real, graphic but sparse sex scenes in my own books, which had been what was coming between me and agents who wanted my mermaid series to be YA for it to sell. Well, I stuck with my gut and the book I released got my three Beta readers pregnant too. I’ve had heaps of messages from people saying that my sex scenes have revved up their sex drives and have improved their marriages or gotten them pregnant, so I think the chain reaction is neat and proves that a story does not have to be perfectly written to have a perfect effect on the reader and to have a positive impact on their lives. Nor does it have to be hard-core porn to be arousing.

This series did up my sex drive. Maybe it had something to do with me turning 30 around the same time, but in the past, pregnancy had made me less amorous, not more, and the effects of 50 Shades on my libido and my husband’s sudden desire to send cute e-mails and text messages and look good for me is astonishing, really. Sorry if that’s an over-share, but books are so much more to me, than just a story. They’re little pages of dreams- they make you think of the house you want, the places you want to go, the relationship you want to have- especially with yourself- and I think what 50 Shades lacks in originality, it makes up for in impact for those who connect with it.

And what do women want? A man like Christian Grey. Not like him in every way of course- but someone imperfect and flawed who can knock us on our asses all the same, and will fall to their knees beside us to change because they want US just as badly.

That’s the magic. That’s the hook, that’s the point- There isn’t a woman in this world, hater of the series or not, who wouldn’t kill to be the one to bring this egotistical bastard to his knees. And the fact that the girl who does it isn’t excessively beautiful, a genius, a walking nymph, a fashionista, outgoing, world-wise or with a type-A personality is reason number two as to why it’s so relatable. It gives us hope.

It take a lot for a book to have an impact on me right now, and I’m certain that many people can empathise. In this world where you can easily read 10 fluff novels for free a week on a Kindle, grabbing your attention and making you want to slow down and bask in a story is a pretty tall order. And it’s a really tall order for me because like Ana, I’m one for the classics. My favourite books are Twilight Eyes, (Koontz) Gone With The Wind and The Godfather, so it takes a lot to make me turn the page- but this book got me, and whether it had a profound effect on it’s readers in a positive or negative way, there’s no forgetting it, and that makes it worth itself.

And here’s a little known fact: Fifty Shades wasn’t obligated to be better than any other book! And the fact that it came out publicly announcing that it was a re-hashed fan fiction and intentionally knocking off Twilight was disclaimer enough for people who consider themselves to be above such things to avert their eyes. But did they? Nope, they inhaled it and spat out the font afterwards like it tasted bad and this is really starting to get on my nerves now that I see people who disliked the first three books going out of their way to read Grey, even if he was the reason why they hated the first three.

Christian Grey is apparently abusive, and I get why people are turned off him for that- but once again, he’s not the worst offender in erotic fiction. Hell, he’s not even close! Compared to other books… does he imprison her? Brainwash her? Share her? Humiliate her? Belittle her? Nope, he tries to get her to eat a lot and this does NOT a monster make, so it’s illogical that this is the book people choose to make the yardstick for bad writing. Captive in the dark on the other hand, OMFG! Now there’s an asshole! There’s NO rape in Fifty Shades. There’s no abuse that isn’t asked for. None of the bossing around actually takes and there isn’t a thing Christian does that he doesn’t make right by the end, so the claims that it’s encoring domestic abuse and submission are just ridiculous. If anything, it’s about a woman breaking a man of such dangerous habits, so these accusations are clearly made by people who haven’t read one single other erotic book ever, or are pretending that letting a werewolf share you with the rest of his pack is okay, ‘cos it’s fantasy…nope, sorry wrong.

Most of the reasons why others don’t like it are the reasons why I do. It’s porn for people who can’t stomach hardcore, storyline-less porn. It’s BDSM for lightweights who don’t particularly want to immerse themselves in a world of depravity. It’s a romance without too many hearts or flowers. It’s unrealistic, unoriginal, over-long and in many ways, factually inaccurate but does that make it wrong? Absolutely not. I am so sick of feeling judged every time I read a negative review. The implications that it is stupid, pointless and a waste of time is pretty offensive to those of us who disagree. Reader’s private relationships with their favourite books are special things to them. Yeah, we can handle seeing other people who don’t like it, but this brings me to confession Number Four:

Fifty Shades Of Grey has made me want to be a better writer, reader and reviewer.

I am so embarrassed by the way that I mocked this when I first read it. Oh, all of my criticisms were bang-on and I stand by them (her editor seriously needed to red-pen about thirty ‘Oh-My’s’ ) and every single book could have stood to be about 10,000 words shorter… but the mistakes don’t make this book a write-off. People who criticise the writing style probably shouldn’t be swimming around in the erotic section in the first place, because aside from Tiffany Reiz’s ‘The Siren’ and ‘Captive In The Dark’ I’m yet to see a well-written novel with more than 5 sex scenes in it. (And for the record, as well-written as the other two were they depressed the HELL out of me- different strokes for different folks! let’s STOP the hate.)

And while we’re on that note- 50 Shades has been circulated the most widely and has received a LOT of publicity, but it no way is it one of the worst written books in history. I could roll off the name of 15 attempts at erotic fiction on my Kindle which read as though they’d been drafted in crayon compared to this- and judging by the cover art and sample of others, there are easily 10,000 that are worse in this genre alone- and a lot of them are getting five stars while 50 shades gets one by the same reviewers and it makes no sense. Take note peops: E.L James does not even come close to being the poster child for bad writing, so why is she copping all the flak? Why do we feel the need to make an example of her? Why do people who hated the first three go out of their way to read the fourth and torture themselves, just so they can mock it? Is that why we’re reading… to make ourselves feel superior to others? People doing that obviously need to step back from the books for a while and get a bit of perspective, because it speaks more about the books and authors that they love, than it does about E.L James’s ability to tell a story. You’re bored- try movie reviewing for awhile, because you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin when it comes to the written word if you’re going out of your way to hate.

And authors who do this- especially Indies- don’t even get me started, People in glass houses with shoddy grammar (like myself) and all that… Ripping another person’s work apart implies that we do better. Well, read your own one-star reviews, because none of us have the right to judge anyone until we’ve out-sold that person’s work and have gotten glowing reviews.

God, writing is something I wake up and have to do and I know that I’m far from perfect. I’d sooner die than spend more time picking apart someone else’s baby, when I could be writing, and I’d certainly never try and get attention by mocking someone else’s work!

That being said, I do thank the authors who go out of their way to hate the written word. It helps me eliminate a lot of potentially soulless books from my TBR.

So I’m not saying that people have no right to put this novel down. I’m saying, it doesn’t warrant the hate it’s gotten, and nor do it’s readers deserve to be made to feel as though they’re without taste for liking I, which is how a lot of us feel.

For me, Fifty Shades made me want to fall in love again. It made me want to have great sex. It gave me the push to self-publish, and even if all it did was inspire thousands of other potential author’s (like me) who think that they could do better to go ahead and put themselves out there. or drafted hundreds of lonely wives and mothers back into the reading well- or maybe into it for the first time- then it’s made a contribution to the literary world, and demands the basic level of respect that all books should be granted.

Because they’re books. For people who love reading enough, there need not be another reason to justify its existence or to pardon its shortcomings.

Excerpt from The Given Garden, Book #1 The Eden Chronicles, S.K Munt

Given cover

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YMRB3P8

Prologue

Some people said that in the beginning, God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Others said that there was nothing until Vishnu hummed the world to life, and some believed that there was no beginning at all and that the world simply grew from energy. There were thousands of stories along this vein: that a beetle sank to the bottom of an expansive ocean and brought up mud until he had pulled up continents, or that one single atom exploded and put everything where it needed to be.
They were wild, irrational stories and some of them were so ridiculous that it would boggle the mind of any sane person. And yet, there were thousands of humans in the time before that believed each- and were willing to die for the right to go on believing in their own brand of theology. They all named and lay claim to God and what he’d done and why he’d done it, and arguments stemmed from these contrasting beliefs from so many differing parties, that speaking on the subject ceased to be enough and it led to tears, screaming and eventually, bloodshed.
But I know the real story. In our world- everyone knows the real story, and everyone has read the tales of the old. In fact, we are forbidden to read anything on the subject of theology until we have demonstrated that we have a grasp on the only truth there is- a test that is given at the age of four after one year of solid education on the subject. Four, you say? How young! Well no, youth is an illusion in Calliel, as is everything else.
I’m sure you’ve read the old myths and fable stories too, and have either laughed or prayed or been made into a believer by them, and whatever you’ve chosen to believe is fine with me.
None of it has any bearing on my story and in the end- our individual stories are the truest reflection of God that can ever be.
I hope yours is more attractive than mine, because I am named Larkin, I am sixteen years-old and though I have always loved and had faith in God, I am contemplating giving Satan my soul, in exchange for just one drop of happiness that I can hold on to here in this torturous paradise.

Change is good as a change in hue!

So I’ve had an incredibly stressful year; deaths in the family, miscarriages, my dog lost his eye and my hubby has been through a whole lot of cancer screens… and I was SO busy with the productions of Rent and Beauty And The Beast that I’ve barely written or slept or taken care of myself at all- kids and one-eyed dogs always have to come first!

Anyway, I vowed that I wasn’t going to let 2015 best me and so, I decided that July 1st was going to be a fresh start for me- a Munt new year… one that was as a little less ‘munted’ than the first half!

So far I’ve been doing pretty good; sleeping, cooking for my bereaved sister and nephew, I forced myself to learn to braid and ice cupcakes after years of fails and have been in pretty high spirits, all things considered, but today I decided to do the crazy break-up thing and change my hair to brown. It’s been a few years since I did it last and I am SO a blonde at heart, but I needed a change and I definitely feel fresher 😀

Happy New Year!

Review of Fearscape, Nenia Campbell

*This review contains spoilers*

Please keep in mind that this is a review written by someone in their thirties targeting book that is probably intended for people in their teens and is therefore a little bit biased.

I’m a bit torn as to how to write this review. I didn’t hate the book but I didn’t especially like it either. To me it was just… confused. Not confusing but actually confused.

For so long I was convinced that this was a paranormal romance, and was going to go along the vein of Spiderman (only she got scratched by a cat) and I don’t particularly think this is my fault because the way it was written indicated to that, even though the summary/ cover/genre info didn’t. I see where the author was going with it (sort of a more poetic twist on The Phantom of The Opera or even Reese Witherspoon’s movie ‘Fear’) but it took so long for that theme to become obvious that by the time it did, I’d already imagined ten other for instances, and found it hard to get in the right mindset to be lead where the author was expecting us to follow. I kept looking back going: ‘But… but… wait… you said…’ Wait so he ISNT a shifter trying to breed with her?

I just think that it could have done with a bit more mapping out and clarity. Though I’ve established the theme of this novel in my own head now, I still have no idea what genre this is. Sometimes that can be a cool new sort of breakout thing, but in this case it only just creates more confusion. It says ‘suspense’ but the suspenseful moments don’t have enough dramatic build up to actually keep me in any form of suspense. I would think maybe YA suspense, because of the kids age and word-craft, and yet the theme of sexual fixation didn’t really fit that. It probably would have done better as an adult suspense, and to come from HIS perspective rather than hers: sort of like a memoir of a possible serial killer (or even like with Lolita), because I think the author is a lot darker than even she is aware of yet, and the strength in her writing comes from those shadows.
But as it stands, the heroine is too weak, naive and foolish to be considered a heroine by any YA standards, which makes this book a REALLY bad example for a teenage girl and so I wouldn’t want a teenage daughter of mine to read it. Oh yeah we do stupid things at 14 but I don’t think there’s a person in this world who would ignore her mother’s advice AND her best friend’s, for a guy who gives her the heebie jeebies to start with anyway. Either or yeah- but not both. I’m counting on her developing as the series progresses, but I personally needed to see a hell of a lot more growth in the first book, and yet the more he alarmed her, the riskier her behaviour got. Aside from a few kisses, there was no indication whatsoever that he was consuming her so WHY would she go to his house again? That’s not fourteen- that’s just dumb.She was content to watch raindrops in the beginning as they rolled down the window, and I loved her for that. But then after she’s almost kept hostage in a psycho’s house, she gets bored after a couple of days out of school and decides to wander back onto HIS turf alone? It didn’t make sense! And I’d already been so proud of her for getting out of his house and getting to a neighbour’s (acting like the opposite of the idiot girl in horror movies who runs up the stairs) so when she even CONSIDERED going back to campus after school I was like: ‘Oh come ON! You JUST got some cred!’ So was I shocked when the big bad was waiting for her there? Uh… no.

I didn’t really like the main character at all. She was too sweet and incredibly touchy and only grew a spine at the worst possible moments. Mum suggests you might be going to pet store for reasons other than to look at pets? Lose your mind! Best friend suggests that the guy you like may be a serial killer in the making? Refuse to speak to her for days. Guy pins you to the floor? Take it quietly. Nope, didn’t work for me.

She was surprised by a lot of things too, and very easily- like googling a name and finding out that someone with the same surname was his relation- she was in shock. Um… okay? He’s a grand master in chess and she a complete novice and after two games she was surprised to see that he was about to checkmate her? No… no that’s not surprising.

I’m an Indie writer and am as guilty of typos as any of them (I’m probably one of the worst examples) and can look the other way on a lot of mis-spellings and bad grammar. But I thought this was actually constructed really roughly; the way it sort of floated from her perspective to his without distinction and then suddenly at the end, you were in his head, hers, the teacher’s and her mothers… I can’t stand that unless it’s done consistently right through a text, so that made what was otherwise pretty good writing a bit of a chore for me.
Aside from that, and about 8 too many spiderweb comparisons (that began to make my spider sense tingle venomously) the writing was pretty great, so I think Nenia Campbell would be able to churn our some really fantastic stuff if she was agented and had someone tightening things up for her- lol as we all would! Of course doing without such things is what makes us Indies and I think she’d done a pretty good job.

That being said, though i’ll look out for her other titles in the future, I don’t think I’ll go on to read the series, because unfortunately, the most compelling character for me in Fearscape was the big bad wolf, and as soon as I learned that yeah, he was just a psycho degenerate (and not a shifting Toyger) , I kind of lost my enthusiasm to read on. As a character he was strong and bold and damn near lifted himself off the page, but I’d much rather see a guy like that painted in a good light, rather than a negative one.
And the ironic thing is, is that even though I said this wasn’t YA, I probably would have gobbled this up as a young adult, because it walks that fine line between sexy and spooky. But now that I’m 32, I’m a point where I like my dark characters to be either psycho killers or heart-stoppers, so there’s good sex or horror and haven’t got much patience for the in-between.

I will try one of Nenia’s other books down the line though, and encourage people to read this if they enjoyed Lucy Christopher’s Stolen. (less) Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 10.24.55 PM