Editorial Assistance

Five Most Popular Posts of 2012

Since 2012 is coming to an end, I figured it would be a great idea to write a post featuring my top five most popular/helpful posts this year. Listing and rereading these posts are as helpful for me as they will hopefully be for you. 2013 will be one hell of a year for me, so it's important I take note of what posts were popular and try to comprehend why. Enjoy!

How to Survive 100 Degree Weather with No A/C and Limited Fans

Uncommon Assassins edited by Weldon Burge

Four Characteristics Successful Writers Share

The Snowflake Method, Info Overload and Consistency 

Buffy, Supernatural, Ghost Ship, and Silence of the Lambs

I'm not surprised that these posts are the most popular. Four of those posts were list posts, three humorous. From my experience with Neatorama and Cracked, those are definitely formulas that work.   

Uncommon Assassins edited by Weldon Burge

*Giveaway Bonus* 

The giveaway is closed. The winner of the signed, paperback copy of Uncommon Assassins is Selinda!

I hope you enjoy the the review. ^_^

Assassin stories usually don't interest me. For the longest time, I associated stories centered around assassins with flashy action movies - you know, the type of action movies with sexy characters, one-dimensional villains, action-packed music, and little to no plot.  I'm certain the association is a misinformed, close-minded one, but it's the type of association that sadly kept me far away from many books or movies centered around assassins.

Regardless, when I learned that Weldon Burge was putting together another short story collection, this one called Uncommon Assassins, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad, the first short story collection edited by Weldon Burge, was amazing. I absolutely loved reading and reviewing it. Back when I used to give out the Reader's Den Choice Award, I knew without a doubt that Zippered Flesh would get the award.

Weldon Burge is great at many things, and putting together interesting short story collections is one of them. Fortunately, that's as true with Uncommon Assassins as it is with Zippered Flesh.

Just like with Zippered Flesh, Uncommon Assassins is full of short stories with terrifying or interesting twists. I read and edit so much that I can predict what will happen in most stories. Because of that, I'm often desperate for uncommon books. I love being surprised. I love being totally uncertain about what's going to happen next or assuming I know exactly what will happen next and being proven wrong.

While one or two of the stories in Uncommon Assassins didn't surprise me or come across as particularly uncommon - For instance, as well-written and interesting as the first short story was, it didn't seem all too uncommon to me - most of them did.

My absolute favorite story is a tie between Everybody Wins by Lisa Mannetti and Fire & Ice by Joseph Badal. Both stories have incredibly terrifying plots. In Everybody Wins, the antagonist takes advantage of suicidal people through a suicide hotline and basically forces them to kill themselves and someone else. In Fire & Ice, the antagonists takes advantage of young girls by getting them addicted to drugs and forcing them into a sex business. In both stories, the writers do a great job showing just how heartbreaking and horrifying being in those positions would be.

With Fire & Ice, I loved knowing that the antagonists had finally messed with the wrong young girl and that karma was about to get them really bad once the girl's brother, an assassin, got involved. As for Everybody Wins, I found the whole concept as interesting as it was terrifying.

Other favorites were Fat Larry's Night with the Alligators by Ken Goldman, Misconceptions by Matt Hilton, Bloodshed Fred by Monica J. O'Rourke, and Slasher by Paul F. Wilson.

Of course, there were some stories I didn't like so much either. My least favorite was The Pepper Tyrant by J. Gregory Smith. The concept of having a pepper eating contest as a serious challenge with serious consequences is interesting, and I liked the twist at the end. However, the story seemed awkwardly written, definitely compared to the stories after and before it. I also had mixed feelings about Killer by Ken Bruen. I loved it's poetic style, word usage, and formatting, but the plot confused me about halfway through.

Overall, I have to say that Weldon Burge did a great job with this collection, just as I expected, and that I can't wait to get my hands on the next collection he puts together.

Find Uncommon Assassins

Update on Unconventional Methods of Book Promotion & Networking

It's a good thing I don't have an established, large fanbase yet. I still have a lot to learn about self-publishing, especially when it comes to conversions, distribution, and cover art. Even worse, a lot of personal matters interfered. Unfortunately, that means that I couldn't release Unconventional Methods December 5th.

At first I thought I could learn and do all the conversion and distribution on my own (generally my downfall; I'm learning to get better at accepting help), but then I realized that was unlikely to happen. I almost turned to Book Baby, but after lots of research and discussions with other writers, I decided against that. While I wouldn't say Book Baby is a scam or that it's vanity, I have heard that the prices can easily be avoided and that the customer service has a tendency of going down once you actually sign on with them.

Instead, I think I'm going to The Eyes for Editing or WalkingStick Books for ebook and print conversions. I've come up with my own ideas for promotion, but I wouldn't mind turning to Xpresso for a book tour. Of course, this depends on how the tour sign-up process works and if they do tours for nonfiction books. By that, I mean how exactly does Xpresso get participants? I wish I could turn to Novel Publicity for a tour, but they're much too expensive for me.

While I like my current cover, I'm thinking about buying a stock image and creating a new cover. Interior design and book jacket design are two things I never thought about, unfortunately, so I still have a lot more planning to do if I plan to make this book both an ebook and a print book. I still have to create and pay for a number of tl;dr cards as well.

So far, here are prices (as of now) for what I'm talking about:

1.) Stock Image - $19
2.) eBook formatting - $100
3.) Print formatting - $150
4.) 100 copies of tl;dr card - $39.99

Already, that's over my current budget ($300) and that doesn't even count taxes or other hidden prices I may not know about just yet. My ordering of print copies for Indiegogo backers will have to wait. At this rate, I'll be lucky if I don't have to put one of the things above on hold until I do other freelance things on the side to pay for it.

In all, I'll have to update my Unconventional Methods page to make it clear that most of the dates there have changed and that I can't do the book tour (Only two people volunteered anyhow).

This is all a learning process for me. As of now, there are three other books I'd like to self-publish - a how-to series and an anthology. Working on Unconventional Methods is a great way to prepare me for those books.

Black Earth: Exodus by David N. Alderman [Review]

 *Giveaway Bonus*

There's a Rafflecopter giveaway for all 4 books in the Black Earth Series at the end of this post. Entering is easy, and the only required entry method is commenting on this blog post. However, the people with the most points will win. 

The giveaway ends December 16th. I hope you enjoy the review!


Nathan Pierce has a lot in common with the Broken Lands. In spite of how much damage has been done to the world thanks to Legion and the president, there is still sunlight and love within Nathan. Sure, he struggles with the sunlight, but it's still there and can remain there as long as he has enough faith in himself and those he loves.

As thus, it's only fitting that Exodus, the last book in the Black Earth series, begins with Nathan reflecting in the Broken Lands about the many people who have already departed either from this world or from his life before continuining his journey against Legion.

Sitting in the Broken Lands playground, watching the sun set with Ginger, is one of Nathan's last moments of peace.

Soon after, they find a woman who is part of Legion, a woman willing to help Nathan and betray Legion in the process. Unfortunately, her very presence causes more members of Legion to arrive, and things can only get worse when more members of Legion join the fray.

In a dark realm far from where Nathan and members of Daisy's Rebellion ran into trouble, Cynthia Sin Ruin sits atop a throne as the princess of the Black Cathedral, the mysterious Ryn her king. She doesn't know exactly why Ryn asked her to be the princess or what exactly she's supposed to do, but she has mixed feelings about the Black Cathedral. Sometimes she's anxious and afraid; other times, she loves the power, and she loves the power even more when Ryn gives her the one thing she loves most - sex slaves. Her battle is within. Will she lose herself to her sex addiction and the darkness involved in being the princess of the Dark Cathedral?

Back on Earth and inside the high tech SilverTech facility, Mr. Silver is still dealing with the assassin who has been trying to kill him for a while. Even more, he has to prepare to leave for Anaisha along with the selective group of people being sent to Anaisha with his special airships, but that won't be so easy with an assassin as successful as Mira deadset on taking his life.

Of course, as the case with all the books in David Alderman's Black Earth series, there are more plots than just the point of view (POV) ones. Ericka Shane, Heather, Pearl, President Stone, Evanescence, Olivia, Absolute, Marigold, Ryn, Chaos, Legion...they all play a considerable role in the plot. All of the sub-plots intertwine, but this time around there aren't as many sub-plots to keep up with.

For the most part, I really liked Exodus. The descriptions, especially the descriptions for battle scenes with Legion, were wonderful. I loved the character development for Nathan, Heather, Cynthia, and Ericka. I enjoyed reminiscing about how certain characters were in the first book and marvelling at what they became. Since I knew that the Black Earth series would lead to David's Expired Reality series, I didn't expect a happy-go-lucky movie ending where the main protagonists would somehow defeat the antagonists in the nick of time and save earth moments before it could fall apart. I don't want to spoil the ending, of course, but my expectations about the ending were true.

There were some things I didn't like, but I'll cover that below, in my review of the entire Black Earth series.

Black Earth Series

I've read and reviewed all four books in the Black Earth series. If you want to read my reviews of the first three books, just click the corresponding title:

Black Earth: End of the Innocence 
Black Earth: The Broken Daisy
Black Earth: Dark Masquerade

This is the first book series where I've reviewed all the books. That in itself makes me very happy. It's been quite the ride, but I enjoyed reading the series as much as I enjoyed talking to the author.

Characters have grown, some more than others, and much has changed. Many have joined the tale and disappeared. The conflicts became tougher in each book, the stakes higher. David Alderman outdid himself in each book with his great writing and immense imagination.

With each book, the number of sub-plots grew smaller and smaller. That's a good thing! However, there's a bad side to that downsizing. By the last book, I couldn't shake off the feeling that seemingly important plot points that carried on through multiple books didn't really get a proper ending.

I'm okay with the fact that some of the major plot points weren't resolved since David makes it very clear that the story continues in the Expired Reality series, but I felt like there were one or two sub-plots that could've been resolved. For instance, it bothered me that the origin of Cynthia's book wasn't really explained. I also didn't like that her pregnancy often seemed like an after thought. When her pregnancy first happened, it played a vital point in the plot, but, by the last book, it seemed like a build-up with no 'up.'

I'm not really a fan of ratings. The numbers usually seem arbitrary to me, but I feel the need to rate Black Earth.


If you think you'd enjoy Edgy Christian Speculative Fiction, this is definitely the book for you. There are demons, aliens, sci-fi technology, angels, battles, and much, much more. Even better, the series is mainly about hope, faith, love, and willpower. I hope you enjoy the series and meeting the author as much as I did!


Author David N. Alderman
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