Cover Reveal: The Exercise Of Vital Powers

Some of you may have noticed that I basically disappeared.  I have a new job, working five days a week, and I have been spending the rest of my free time with my young daughter.  I have not been able to write for months, but I’ll get back into it when the time is right.

However, I could not miss the opportunity to promote the cover reveal for the second edition of my favourite self-published book!  The Exercise of Vital Powers was written by Ian Gregoire, who became a good friend of mine during my short-lived blogging career.  I absolutely loved the first edition of his book and so I have even higher expectations for the second edition!  I am really looking forward to it and I definitely recommend that you all take the time to have a look.

I have decided to do a before and after view of the book, just to show how much effort has been put into this second edition.  For those of you who have not seen it before, this is the cover for the first edition:

I’ll be completely honest, I am someone who tends to at least partially judge a book by its cover.  Had I not seen an amazing review of this book I may not have even decided to pick it up.  I am definitely glad I did though!

 

And now for the moment you have been waiting for since you opened this blog post.  Here is the cover for the second edition of The Exercise of Vital Powers!

TEOVPcover-artwork

I think everyone will agree that there has been a significant improvement.  I love the contrast of the colours and I think the image really depicts the essence of the story within.  I already loved this book but this new cover makes it even better!

 

About the Book

Ian Gregoire’s debut fantasy novel was self-published with no fanfare in the spring of 2017. On a whim, he entered the book into the SPFBO competition organised by Mark Lawrence two weeks later, and was just as surprised as everyone else when The Exercise Of Vital Powers was selected as Kitty G’s first semi-finalist. The book subsequently garnered a number of positive reviews, culminating in a place on the longlist of nominations for Best Self-Published Novel in the inaugural BookNest Fantasy Awards.

Originally written and published as a stand-alone novel, the soon to be released second edition of The Exercise Of Vital Powers is now book one of a five book series called Legends Of The Order. Readers who missed out the first time around will now have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the book’s precocious protagonist before she returns in the sequel, coming soon.

 

Back Cover Blurb

Some Lessons Must Be Learned The Hard Way

Since its inception, The Order has been dedicated to the prevention of the misuse and abuse of magic. For seven decades this mandate has guaranteed peace and stability throughout The Nine Kingdoms. But a potential threat to the peace has emerged, and its source is much closer to home than the leadership of The Order may realise.

Arrogant, manipulative, confrontational and angry. Undesirable qualities in a person at the best of times, but more so in a young woman born with the power to bring kingdoms to their knees. Kayden Jayta, precocious apprentice of The Order, is all these things and more, yet wholly unwilling to acknowledge and rectify her many troubling traits.

Unbeknown to anyone, Kayden’s resolute determination to join the ranks of The Order is born of a secret that puts her priorities at odds with the precepts of the organisation, setting her inexorably on a collision course with the most powerful institution in The Nine Kingdoms.

If Kayden is to be dissuaded from walking the path she has chosen, averting tragic consequences in the process, two unanswered questions must be answered: What is the dark secret guiding Kayden’s actions? And, why has a legendary figure within The Order, with a secret of her own, taken undue interest in Kayden’s future?

 

Praise For the Book

“I don’t know what I was expecting, really, but I don’t think I was expecting such an engaging, well thought out story from a self-published debut novel I had never heard of before…” Kristen (Superstardrifter)

“I don’t pretend to be the most well read person, but I found this to be completely unique, and I loved it!  I felt very engaged right from the start, and somehow became even more engaged by the end.” Kim (The Writing Process) (Yep, that’s me!)

“I love reading about flawed characters, and the development that Kayden shows through the course of the novel is impressive.” Rachel (The Perspicacious Bookworm)

“Overall, TEOVP, being a debut work, is a good book that every fan of character-driven fantasy should try to read.” Lukasz (Goodreads)

“Gregoire has done an amazing job of creating a feeling of tension throughout, while leaving  us guessing as to what will happen next, or even how the outcome will turn out.” Dianne (Tome Tender)

“…this book was sneaky amazing.” Angelica (The Effervescent Bookworm)

 

Expected Publication

The Exercise Of Vital Powers is due to go on sale from Monday 2nd July 2018, in ebook and paperback editions. Pre-orders will be open in June via all the usual online retailers.

Add To Goodreads

 

Ianauthor-headshot

About the Author

The reclusive Ian Gregoire is a taciturn introvert residing somewhere in London, where he was born and raised. Of all life’s diversions, reading and writing are the only ones he ever deemed worthwhile enough to be passionate about. This eventually led to his belated decision to pursue his true calling in life as a fantasy and science fiction author. His debut novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, is just the first of many books he intends to inflict upon an unsuspecting world.

On the occasions he steps out of his reading and writing comfort zone, Ian has a fondness for computing, melancholy music, retro gaming, and Asian Cinema. Ian also loves peace and quiet, something that is in frustratingly short supply in his life.

Ian can currently be found (or not) living the life of a hermit somewhere in London, continuing his quest to become your future favourite fantasy and science fiction author. To find out more about him and his ongoing publishing journey be sure to visit his official online hangouts.

Website | Blog | Newsletter

Social Media

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Last.fm | Pinterest | Tumblr

 

That’s all from me for today!

Have you read The Exercise of Vital Powers?  What did you think of the first edition?

What are your thoughts on the new cover?

Are you planning on keeping an eye out for the release?

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Wondering Writers #16

WonderingWriters

How do you promote (or plan to promote) your books?

There are lots of ways to get your work out there!  When I eventually publish a book I would like to do a cover reveal and a blog tour with interviews and giveaways.  Other than that, I have not really put much thought into it.  I guess it still seems to be such a long way off, I have lots of time to sort out what I am doing.

Obviously, some ways of promoting books are better than others.  I would love to hear what has worked for you in the past, what hasn’t worked, and what you would do in the future.

Speaking of blog tours, book promotions and author interviews are something that I am hoping to get into soon, so if you are releasing a book soon and want me to write a post about it then feel free to send me a message via the contact page!

 

How do you promote (or plan to promote) your books?  What have you learned from book promotions?

Wondering Writers #15

WonderingWriters

Do you use writing prompts?

Writing exercises are a good way to find motivation and to get back in the flow of writing. I have not used any recently, but I enjoy setting aside a bit of time to write from a prompt.  My favourite ones are the picture prompts, but the word ones can be interesting too.

I usually know if I am going to write something within the first few minutes of looking at a prompt.  Either I find inspiration instantly or I move on.  They are not something I force myself to do.

One of the things I really love about prompts is that other writers come up with completely different ideas.  It’s really interesting to see how people interpret what they see.

I think my favourite writing prompt that I have done is Tower.  The photo came from Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.

I am considering adding writing prompts as a regular post on my blog.  I would love for others to join in as well!

 

Do you use writing prompts?  What are your favourite types?  Would you be interested in seeing writing prompts on this blog?  Do you use other types of writing exercises?

Book Release: Drakin: The Story of Raiya by James Harrington

Drakin: The Story of Raiya
James Harrington
Fantasy
Author Blog

I would like to announce the release of Drakin: The Story of Raiya!  This book has been on my WordPress TBR list since the cover reveal and I am very excited that it is now available!  It can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other book retailers.

The official release post can be found here with a sample chapter and you can also find the synopsis from Goodreads at the end of this post!

I would like to wish James Harrington all the best with the release!  If you read this book, don’t forget to leave a review and let me know what you think!

 

Book Synopsis from Goodreads
“Abomination, freak, monster…” You get used to names like these when you have yellow eyes, horns, and scales, but Raiya could have really cared less.

After being forced into exile because of her appearance, Raiya’s mind has been focused on one goal; hunting down the dragon lord that killed her parents. For over thirty years, humanity has been locked in a struggle for survival against a race of dragons that had fallen from the heavens. They took everything from her and consumed the planet in a fierce war. Humanity’s numbers are quickly dwindling, leaving her few options in the way of allies.

What she doesn’t know is that her journey will strike at the very heart of the Red War and uncover truths about her past that she may not want to know. Can she finish what she started while coming to terms with the truths of her origin?

Wondering Writers #14

WonderingWriters

Overall WiP discussion!

Going for something a little different this week.  I don’t have a specific question in mind, but I am curious to hear about what you are working on!

My WiP is called The Power of Whispers and it is currently (still) in the second draft phase.  As I’ve mentioned a few times lately, I am struggling to find motivation with editing and I have been allowing all of my excuses to get to me… I’ll get there eventually…

The Power of Whispers is a heroic fantasy novel that sits at about 90k words.  It is a stand alone book that is set in a world that I plan to write other books in.  The story follows Rami on a journey of self-discovery as he tries to escape the dangers that face him.  There are several other side characters as he meets people along the way.  Some of these characters might get their own books or novellas later.

I have talked a lot about my WiP on here.  What I really want to talk about is your WiP!  Feel free to add descriptions, progress updates, possible release dates and any other information.  Plugs are welcome.

Tell us about your WiP!

Wondering Writers #13

How many projects do you work on at the same time?

When I was writing the first draft of The Power of Whispers I was determined to only work on one book at a time. If I had ideas for another story, I wrote down some notes, I even allowed myself to think about that story in my spare time, but I never actually worked on it. I thought it was best to remain focused.

Now that I’ve completed my first draft, I’m having second thoughts. My motivation for editing is limited and so I’m finding I’m often not doing any writing at all. There are other factors to this too. The holiday season was very busy, I need to start looking for a job and the Australian summer is making me feel lazy…

I’m feeling as though I might be better off at least doing some kind of writing though, even if it’s not always attempting to edit. I have a short story in mind for one of the minor characters in The Power of Whispers, so I might work on that for a while just to help me get back into things.

 
How many projects do you work on at the same time?

Book Release: Angel of Shadow by D. H. Nevins

Angel of Shadow
Wormwood #2
D. H. Nevins
Dystopia/Paranormal
Author website

Angel of Shadow is now available for purchase!  I have recently reviewed this book and I would definitely recommend it!  The blurb written by the author can be found at the bottom of this post, though I suggest you only read it if you have read book one already.

If you have not read book one yet, it is currently free!  Here’s the link to Wormwood on Amazon.  You can also see my review for book one here.

 

Giveaway

D. H. Nevins is hosting a GIVEAWAY for two paperbacks and five ebooks of Angel of Shadow!  It is open internationally until the 5th of February!

She is also starting up a newsletter if you want to sign up!

 

Let me know if you are interested in this book! I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Blurb:
D.H. Nevins hurtles you into a world of half-angels, demons and tormented love in this driving, dystopian sequel to Wormwood.

Half-angels, known as Nephilim, have all but destroyed the surface of the Earth. Yet for Kali Michaels, her life is now much more complicated than simply surviving. Grappling with her own powerful identity, she worries her connection to the world of Shadows could destroy those around her.

And what if she hurts Tiamat Wormwood, the Nephilim outcast who has given everything to save her? Tiamat and Kali know they have no future—not when outside forces and Kali’s own power push both the humans and the Nephilim to the brink of extinction.

As she fights to stop the inevitable, she is led to question who her real enemies are, and whether the ultimate threat may actually be herself.

ARC Review: Angel of Shadow

Angel of Shadow
Wormwood #2
D. H. Nevins
Dystopia/Paranormal

Rating: 4/5

I received this book as part of a give away promotion before the release.

Synopsis
I only write summaries for the first book in a series because they give away spoilers.  You can see my synopsis and review for book one here or read the Goodreads synopsis for this book.

Characters
I mentioned in the review for book one that I did not feel as though I knew Kali as well as I should after finishing a book.  I connected with her more during book two and I understood her motivations and thoughts.  Kali goes through some changes and I found it really interesting to follow her struggle and self doubt.  There was a point near the end that bothered me, when Kali seemed to take her time to really get involved, but overall I thought she was a well developed character.

I’m not sure why I did not mention Richard in my review for book one.  He is definitely coming out as one of my favourite characters in this series.  He seems perfectly deceptive and manipulative.  He is exactly what I would expect from a menacing demon and I enjoy the encounters with him (does that make me evil?).

Different characters are introduced and I found most of them to be interesting and well developed.  There was one that did not feel quite right during the book but it was explained later and her reactions to situations made a lot more sense.

Plot
This book follows a similar slow pace as the first one, with the majority of the story taking place over a few days.  I enjoyed the pace and I thought it allowed the reader the opportunity to really get involved in what Kali was experiencing.

Similar to book one, there are things that happen in this book that do not seem to quite add up as you read through the chapters, but it all makes sense by the end.  I was actually quite surprised by some of the explanations and I really enjoy it when plots are not predictable.

There was one aspect of the plot that seemed repetitive and I struggled to understand why the characters did not grasp the situation and continued to make the same mistakes.  An explanation was provided but I do not think it was enough.

World
There were some interesting changes to the world that I cannot mention without giving away spoilers.  I also felt as though the use of shadows was unique and clever.

I found myself a little lost with the description of some of the caves and I do not think I pictured the area correctly.  This bothered and confused me slightly but only for about one chapter.

Writing
I found a few tiny errors and some of the descriptions and explanations were a bit repetitive, but most of the book is really well written and an easy read.  I think this is a great achievement for a new author.

Just like book one, book two is difficult to put down, especially if you like stopping at the end of a chapter.  You are often left with a hint of what will happen next and it makes you want to keep going.

Overall
This is another enjoyable book by D. H. Nevins, with interesting concepts and a well thought out storyline.

I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys dystopia or paranormal genres, but I would also recommend it to those who want an unpredictable read.  I really liked the little surprises.

 

Angel of Shadow will be released on the 13th, so not long to go now! Let me know if you plan on reading it or if you already received an ARC.  I would love to know your thoughts.

 

Wondering Writers #12

WonderingWriters

Do you have specific writing times each day/week?

I’ve mention many times before that I have a young daughter and that spending time with her limits my time to write.  I’ll make it clear right now that I do not say that as a complaint.  I love spending time with her.  However, her naps are at different times of the day and go for different lengths of time.  It makes it impossible to set up real schedules or any kind of routine.

The only time I know I can set aside is Wednesday mornings.  My daughter goes to childcare for a half day and I strictly avoid making other plans for that time.  The childcare was closed for a few weeks over Christmas though, so I’m feeling even more out of touch with my writing.

Then there is the fact that I should start looking for work.  That will take up even more of my free time and I expect I’ll be too tired after long days to do any writing.  My daughter will then only go to childcare when I am working, instead of giving me free time to myself.

So I would like to know if routines work for others, especially if you have other commitments, like children or outside work.  Are you able to maintain a balance in your life?

Do you have specific writing times each day/week?

Book Review: Wormwood

Wormwood
Wormwood #1
D. H. Nevins
Paranormal/Dystopia

Rating 4/5

This book was on my WordPress TBR list.

Synopsis
After witnessing the destruction of the world as she knew it, Kali becomes one of the few remaining people.  She struggles to survive as a race of half angels attempt to send her to her final judgement, but one of them has other plans.  Tiamat tries to protect Kali, but at what cost?  And what role is Kali really meant to play?

Characters
Kali is a conflicted character, devastated by her loss and confused by remaining relationships.  She is determined to survive, even if there is little to actually live for.  I sometimes felt thrown by her reactions to situations, which reduced my ability to form a connection with her.  I don’t feel as though I know her character as well as I should now that I have finished the book.  However, this is only book one and she still has space to grow and develop.

Tiamat is also conflicted but I understood his reasoning a little more.  I found his lack of explanations bothered me a little, though it did fit with his character.  I felt as though he could have found a way to explain things to Kali a bit more.

I found the Nephilim quite interesting.  They caused great destruction but I felt sympathetic towards their difficult upbringings and the struggles they faced with their compulsions.

Plot
As I read the book, I felt as though the plot had a few holes.  There were some things that confused me earlier on in the book and I thought they had been overlooked but most of them were later explained, and I am fine with that as long as it adds up in the end.

The romance in the story seemed a little unrealistic.  I would understand if it was just attraction, but there was not enough of a build up for true love to have formed.

This is a slow paced book, and I enjoyed this pace for the most part.  I felt a little impatient in the middle, just wanting to know where the story was going, but most of the time I liked hearing about the smaller situations instead of just skipping to bigger things.

World
Parts of the world were really well thought out, with tainted water and darkened sky, but other parts seemed to rely on either accidents or possibly intentional power.  Most of the humans were wiped out but horses and their equipment could still be found.  There also seemed to be a lot of standing caves for a world that had been destroyed.  Most of this did not bother me, but I would have liked a bit more information to fit the pieces together.

Writing
This is a very well written book and the author has a decent vocabulary that is combined with good sentence structure.  It was quite impressive, especially for a new author.

Overall
This book was an interesting read and it has definitely left me curious for the next one in the series (which is due to be released on the 13th of this month).  I have many questions waiting to be answered.

This is also one of those books that is difficult to put down, especially in the earlier chapters.  It always leaves you wanting to keep going to find out one more bit of information, but by the time you get it there is something else you want to know.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about survival and coming to terms with change in dystopia settings.

Also, I love the acknowledgement at the end where the author thanks her cat!

 

Have you read this book?  What did you think?  It is currently free on Amazon!