My fantasy short, A Beginner’s Guide to Summoning, has just been published. A partial reading was done by Rob Edwards on his podcast.

And you can get the full story here:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2wcYCU7
Or free on KU: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beginners-Guide-Summo…/…/B07CV3CT1X

Praise for A Beginner’s Guide to Summoning:
“A captivating tale that left me wanting more.” – M.L. Spencer, author of Darkmage

“A delightful story in the vein of Harry Potter, but with an intriguing premise all it’s own.” – Dyrk Ashton Ashton, author of Paternus

“A great introduction into the world of Melkai.” – MD Presley, author of The Woven Ring

“The monster summoning is great stuff, and Christopher executed the concept well.” – Andrew Rowe, author of Sufficiently Advanced Magic

“Mr. Keene has done an impressive amount of world-building in such a short span of time that I would be excited to see what would come from one of his novels.” – Jesse Teller, author of Song

“Christopher Keene creates a wonderful new set of monsters with his Fauastian variation on MMORPG summoners.” – Charles Phipps, Author of The Supervillainy Saga

“It was a fun read, like a mix between Sword in the Stone and Pokemon.” – Wade Garret, author of Genesis

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Act 1 – Woman

The black form Fenix had seen in the crowd in Denzil remained on his mind. He couldn’t help but make a connection between her and the operatives they had dropped in the forest. Yet he hadn’t seen any of them contact the outside after they had engaged them.

A suspicion rose in him as he thought of the boxcar they had held them in. He hadn’t given the area the good look over after they dropped them off.

He stood up and made his way down the aisle.

“Where are you going?” Ryan asked.

“I’m just going to check something out. I thought I heard something knocking about back there.”

Ryan looked like he was ready to get some shuteye for he shifted in his seat and waved him off. Fenix headed down to the back door and slid it open. The cool breeze whipped at him as he climbed the ladder to the outer-railing, walking around the bridge until he could heave the carriage door open.

The door slid across and he walked in, letting the light and wind give detail to the room previously darkened by the forest shadows. He scanned the area they had been sitting in and guessed the range that they could have thrown something. Then he found a lump on the floor with a clear edge to it. He knelt down and peeled at the sticky edge until it came free.

Although thinner than a fingernail with a reflective surface, the red light underneath it showed it for what it really was: a tracking device.

He had used hearing a knocking sound as an excuse to look, but it wasn’t until he was at the back carriage that he actually heard a knocking sound on the roof. He couldn’t help but smile. Whoever this person was, she had caught up with them in Denzil using the tracking device, missed them there, but had managed to catch a ride on the train.

“Quick little bird.”

He pulled open the door, too much in a rush to close it again behind him. He swung over onto the gangway, opening the door just in time to hear a gunshot from the carriage ahead.

“Shit, she’s on the roof!”

He didn’t know if it was the wind again, or the angle, but the bullet had missed and he managed to get inside and closed the door. Ryan was gazing at the river they were passing, completely oblivious.

“Ryan!” he called as he thundered down the aisle. “We’ve got company. She’s on the roof.”

“She?” Ryan shot to his feet. “Don’t tell me you’re sending me up after her?”

“Not this time, too many variables to account for up there. Besides, I don’t know if my luck extends to you.” He ran to the next compartment, assuming it would be less effective if he stood downwind. “Just keep an eye out.”

“Should I give you cover fire?”

“No. With us moving around up there, you might end up hitting me.”

Fenix bolted out onto the next gangway and climbed the rungs until he could poke his head out over the rooftop. He was met with a gust to the face, but he much preferred wind to bullets. The operative was running over the rooftops toward him. She was going to try and jump him.

Fenix made to climb up and reached out to grab her foot as she made to leap over the gangway. Instead of jumping over the gap normally, the operative somersaulted and as she was upside-down, she fired a shot from her pistol right in his face.

It should have killed him.

In the past, Fenix hadn’t been sure if the wind had saved his life as though it had a will of its own or if he was just so lucky that it seemed so. However, as he saw the flash of the gun and the projectile curve off path right in front of his face, he couldn’t put it down to luck anymore. There was something that was saving him, but as with every other time it happened, he didn’t have time to question it.

He ground his teeth and pulled himself up onto the rooftop. If the wind was his friend, then it should at least be able to keep him upright. He stood up, facing the woman with the wind blowing in his face.

“That was point blank at less than two feet. You should be dead,” the operative spoke and pointed her gun again. “But the wind is going against you now, so—”

He brushed the hair from his forehead and she suddenly stopped talking.

“You’re telling me.” He grinned. “Even so, I don’t want to shoot a woman so that might make this more interesting.”

The woman shook her head. “Fenix?”

Fenix’s brow furrowed. “Yeah… I’m Fenix. How do you—”

“No… you can’t be!”

The woman charged in, pulling a military dagger from a sheath on her waist. After all, if bullets didn’t work then a blade just might. That would have been the case if Fenix hadn’t been more than competent with hand to hand combat. He had spent nearly half of his four-year training schedule practicing several martial arts with five other Lurseed agents.

He stepped back to dodge her first swing and caught her wrist on the backswing. Surprisingly, this didn’t stop the blade. The operative pressed a button on the hilt, shooting it toward him. Although the wind swayed it enough from him to avoid it, he caught the blade nonetheless, allowing it to cut his hand. He winced and blood flew from his palm, causing the black-clad woman to stop in place.

He used this time to bring the caught blade up to her throat and she visibly swallowed, her eyes going wide under the goggles covering balaclava. From her expression alone, his assumption that injuring himself would cause her to stop proved correct, and he thought he knew why.

“So, you know me,” Fenix said, blood dripping from his fingers. “You know, the honorable thing to do would be to tell me yours return.”

The woman eyed the knife. “Why would I give up my anonymity?”

Fenix shrugged. “It might be a little difficult once I’ve slit your throat.”

“You need work on your bluffing. I know you spared the first men who attacked this train and I have no doubt you plan to spare me as well.”

“Oh no, you’re way too dangerous. I’m not going to let you go so easily.”

“You say that as though you’ve already caught me.”

Fenix smirked. “Your options are pretty sparse right now.”

“I’ve been on this train since Denzil. What do you think I’ve been doing since then, biding my time?”

She lifted the hilts of her knives. Aside from the button she had pressed on the side of the hilt to launch the blade, there were also buttons on their ends, and with a smirk, she pushed both of them.

“Goodbye.”

Fenix’s brow shot up. “Oh shi—”

An explosion ripped at the side of the train, rocking it to one side. The noise was cacophonous and the glass windows shattered. Traveling on a railway between a river and a cliff-face, the explosions rebounded the train off the rock as it rocked from the tracks and began leaning toward the water.

The woman dived into the river as Fenix attempted to find his balance again, trying to ride out the explosion. He hoped that Ryan had remained sitting on the riverside seats when the explosion had gone off, but all thoughts of his partner were replaced with panic as the train left the tracks and crashed into the water.

The splash drenched him as he held on to the side of the carriage, his already bleeding hand gaining splinters from ruined wood. Up ahead, he saw Ryan swinging from the gangway as the train screeched to a holt, gauging deep holes in the ground.

“What the hell happened?” he yelled.

Fenix breathed heavily in shock, several carriages and the caboose sinking into the river, the fat conductor doggy-paddling toward the shore.

“Explosives… she jumped in.” He looked at the river behind them but she was nowhere to be found. “Escaped… water…”

“She beat you?” Ryan asked.

Fenix grinned, scrambling onto the earth. “Alive… aren’t I?”

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Act 1 – Pitstop

Out from the railway in the depth of the forest, Fenix knelt over one of the few operatives that looked to be conscious. He was starting to think that maybe he had been a bit too rough during his questioning. They had told him what he had already known. They had been tracking them since Tangier and were trying to steal but the goods for Diran.

“You’ll be left here until everyone else wakes up, okay?” He called. “When you do you might be able to work together to get the knife embedded in that tree, you see? With that, you’ll be able to get free. If one of you doesn’t wake up, well, you’ll just need to use your leg muscles a bit. Either way, we’re leaving you here in the hope that you don’t come after us. If you do, I won’t be so merciful next time.”

One of the covered heads lowered which he assumed was a nod.

He turned to Ryan and grinned. “Great. Ryan go tell the conductor to start the train up again. I want to hit Denzil before the end of the day.”

Ryan walked off and Fenix turned, eyeing up the prisoners.

“You know, this whole conflict was Diran’s fault. Linth agreed to do weapon experiments for so long as you reported on what you would be using them for, but the moles we had in Diran reported that this wasn’t the case.”He pointed at them. “You guys broke the deal and now we have to transport the tech they gave back to their creators. Trust me when I say that I’m about as happy about this game of capture the flag as you are.”

There was a whistle from the engine room and the train slowly began to pull away. Fenix ran toward the train and jumped onto the back as it was taking off. He walked down the side rail back toward the passenger compartments and slid the door shut. The town of Denzil was less than half an hour away by train so he decided to find Ryan rather than get comfortable.

Fenix was surprised the find the carriages nearer to the front empty. Ryan was in the dining car, looking disappointed that it was closed.

“You can get some food at the station in Denzil as soon as we arrive.”

Ryan nodded but his expression showed that more was on his mind than just food.

“We’ve been in the same unit for a month now, and yet you didn’t think it might have been prudent to let me know that the wind occasionally saves your life?”

Fenix raised an eyebrow. “Would you have believed me if I had told you?”

Ryan stopped and thought, trying to hold down a grin.

“Besides, it wasn’t really relevant until now. But now that you do know, what are your thoughts?”

Ryan found a seat to sit down in. “I’m too hungry to think.”

“You won’t be soon.”

The speed of the train allowed him to keep his word. It took less time than he had thought to get to Denzil. Despite the fact that they had been sitting down for most of the day, this didn’t stop Ryan from loading up on carbohydrates as soon as he reached the station cafe.

Fenix was sitting on the stairs leading down to the platform. He looked up and shook his head in amusement when seeing Ryan stuffing cup-a-noodles into his mouth.

“You know how in our mission parameters that once we were on the train, we weren’t supposed to be out of sight of it?” Fenix asked.

“It makes sense.” Ryan sat down next to him.  “It’s our only quickfire route straight to the port.”

“Well, I’m out of bullets so I’m going to leave the keep-it-in-your-sights part to you for a little while.”

“You’re kidding.”

Fenix patted him on the shoulder. “Afraid not. Hold down the fort until I get back.”

Ryan’s groaning and complaining faded as he climbed the stairs and exited the station. The overcast clouds gave everything in the quaint town a dim light. The place was surrounded by the same woods they had dropped the operatives off in. The trucks transporting massive logs into the wood mills as well as the many furniture stores all told of what made up the town’s main trade.

A cold wind blew in from the south and he tucked his hands into his pockets. His eyes scanned the busy street until he found a hunting and gun store on the other side of the road. To get out of the cold, he jogged into the store. The doorbell rang and he shook as the air conditioning warmed him. Inside the walls were green with red “For Sale” signs pointing out collections of rifles in locked racks.

“Hello, good sir. Can I help you with anything?”

He walked over to the bearded man behind a desk, unholstered his gun and placed it on the counter. “Yeah, I’m looking for bullets for one of these.”

“An H eighteen, eh?” He turned and pulled a few packets down. “We have a hundred for fifty and two hundred for a hundred.”

Fenix eyed up the packs he slid over the counter, noticing the yellow and red D on the base.

“You get Diran products here?” he asked.

“Are you kidding? Diran fund most of this village.”

Fenix nodded, realizing why they were told not to go out of sight of the train.

“I’ll take the hundred.”

He passed a hundred dollar note and stuffed the larger case in his coat pocket before turning to leave.

“You in a hurry to shoot someone?” the gun salesman asked in a joke as Fenix went straight to the door.

Fenix smirked. “A few people.”

He left the hunting store and made a beeline straight back to the station. Picking up his pace, he moved into the station, passed the cafeteria, and padded down the steps to where Ryan sat, waiting for him.

“Has the conductor come back?”

“I was beginning to think he might come back before you did.” Ryan frowned. “Why? You look pent-up.”

“Don’t panic, but I think we might be in Diran run town, and that’s why we were told not to go near the train.”

Ryan shook his head. “You’re kidding.”

“I don’t think it matters. I only talked to a guy at the hunting store, and look at that, the conductors back.”

A balding man with his gut hanging over his pants walked out from the toilets and made his way over to the caboose.

“Alright, let’s just get on the train and wait for the departure.” He descended down onto the platform. “Call me paranoid but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ryan nodded but couldn’t help but roll his eyes as he got up.

They moved in and found their seats. As Fenix sat down, he let out a sigh of relief. However, as he turned to look out the window, he saw a few people appear on the platform. By the time train’s whistle blew, those few people had become a crowd. He saw the bearded man among the crowd, pointing toward the train.

Fenix slouched in his seat and peered over the windowsill. One of the larger men moved from his sight, revealing a feminine figure wearing similar gear to the operatives that they had dropped in the forest. The train began to move. Although he turned to get a better look, as a gap separating the windows blocked his vision for an instant, she vanished from his view.

“What are you staring at?” Ryan asked.

“You didn’t see?” Fenix’s frowned but then shook his head. “No, it doesn’t matter.”

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Act 1 – Train

The train clicked along the rails. Each vibration permeated the carriage floor, traveling up Fenix’s tailbone until it reached his aching skull. If his numb posterior from sitting on the cold steel floor for hours didn’t keep him awake, the constant vibrations exacerbated by his hangover would.

If only the agent he had waited for at the bar had arrived with the goods earlier. Had that been the case, he wouldn’t have drunk so much, he wouldn’t have slept in, he wouldn’t have been late for the train, and he wouldn’t have been forced to break into the one place accessible after leaping onto it: the rear storage carriage.

The hatch to the carriage suddenly screeched open, letting in the moonlight and the crisp night air. A young man staggered in and Fenix gestured for him to close the hatch so they wouldn’t have to yell at each other over the howling wind. He struggled to close it again, breathing heavily as he turned to face him.

“So, Ryan, did you find a way to get into the passenger compartments?” Fenix asked.

Ryan wiped the sweat and dark, windswept hair from his forehead. “There’s a door at the back that I tried knocking on, but the whole carriage was empty.”

“Locked?”

He inclined his head. “Well, it was. I shot off the deadbolt and managed to get it open.”

“Seriously?” Fenix rose to his feet, stomping his heels to rid them of pins and needles. “What are we waiting for then? Let’s go.”

He passed Ryan and opened the hatch again. It was freezing outside and the wind whipped at him. After Ryan heaved the storage carriage closed, Fenix wasted no time climbing the railing toward the gangway of the passenger compartments. Climbing down the ladder to the metal bridge, he looked through the window and pulled back when seeing figures moving inside.

Ryan followed after him, landing loudly. Fenix pulled him back against the outer carriage wall and peered through the window again.

“What?” Ryan groaned.

“You said it was empty before, right?” Fenix hissed.

Ryan nodded.

“Well, it’s not now.”

“What are—”

“Diran operatives,” Fenix growled. “They must have gotten in after you broke open the door.”

Ryan scoffed. “Do you really reckon they could have crept in the time it took me to get back?”

“You said it yourself, there’s no other way you could have gotten in if you hadn’t broken the lock, right?”

Ryan shook his head. “Trying to find out who’s at fault can wait for later. What are we going to do?”

“Well, you let them in there so you get them out again.”

“Wha… but there’s at least six of them!”

Fenix’s expression didn’t change. Ryan eventually surrendered to his impenetrable glare. He was his commanding officer, after all.

“Fine. But you know this is suicide.”

“You’re a better shot than me, Ryan. Get in, shoot, and get out. I’ll be your backup.”

Ryan nodded, pulled the pistol from its holster and heaved the sliding door open. Fenix sighed, hearing two shots followed by a grunt of pain. He peered around the door to see Ryan on his knees with his hands behind his head. Also on the floor was a man holding a shoulder wound.

“Son of a bitch!” the man cried.

There were no more gunshots, only muffled words. It appeared they preferred to take hostages than kill any enemy on board, particularly considering that only they knew where the goods on the train were kept.

“There’s another one out on the gangway!” one of them called and Fenix stiffened. “Come out with your hands up.”

Fenix moved into the passenger compartment but did not raise his hands. The wind that whipped at his dark hair and coat was suddenly blocked by the walls of the carriage. He appeared around the black-clad operatives. All wore black, carried military assault rifles, their faces covered, and they surrounded Ryan with their weapons pointed at him.

“Are you deaf?” the same operative shouted and walked around Ryan to get closer. “I said… hands… up!”

He pulled back his rifle to club him with the butt. Before it could connect, Fenix tilted. A pulse of wind from outside rushed into to the compartment and hit the man square in the face. Fenix ducked, pulled out his own gun and shot him in the thigh. The man wailed in pain and dropped to one knee. Fenix kicked him in the face and watched as the other operatives pointed their rifles at him.

“What are you…?”

Fenix grinned. “That wasn’t luck!”

“Shoot him!”

He ducked just before they fired, and completely against the natural movement of the air around the train, another powerful gust of wind blew in through the open back door. The air pressure in the room shifted with the sound of each gunshot, stopping and diverging the bullets. Crouching low, Fenix waited for the pressure to shift once more and then discharged his own gun. Like the first operative, each of his bullets hit them in the thigh.

“Ryan, disarm them!” Fenix shouted as he rushed in, grabbing gun arms and kicking their wounds.

Breaking from his sudden trance as they dropped around him, Ryan went about slamming faces into the compartment floor, ridding them of their weapons while Fenix kept watch. Only one of them put up a fight, trying to aim his rifle in one hand while clutching his bloody leg with the other. Fenix put a bullet in his other thigh for good measure.

“Let that be a lesson. You were planning on keeping us prisoners, right?” Fenix stood and holstered his weapon and Ryan disarmed the last one. “It’s only fitting, seeming as we won, that we do the same to you.”

They stripped them and bound them, taking them into the same storage carriage they had been in. However, before leaving, Fenix made sure to grab the large-handled tubular suitcase in the corner of the room where he had been sitting. Even he didn’t know what was inside it, but it was his mission to take it from Tangier to the island of Linth without having it damaged. It was only the first day of their mission and they had already been attacked. It was going to be no easy task.

“Alright, just how the hell did you do that?” Ryan asked as Fenix moved into the passenger compartment with the case.

Fenix grinned. “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t you…” Ryan growled. “We were in an impossible situation back there. You know that as well as I do!”

“And?”

“The odds that the wind would blow into to the train like that, despite the way the way the train is heading, and somehow blow in the exact direction you needed in order to survive the fight… that was crazy!”

Fenix sighed, walked down the aisle, and picked one of the cushioned seats to sit down on. They were comfortable and he thought he might be able to get some shut-eye now.

“So?” Ryan cried, sounding desperate.

“Calm down,” Fenix intoned. “You sound like you believe I can control the wind or something.”

Ryan moved to his side, eyes wide. “Can you?”

“Don’t be ridiculous… if I could do that I would be like a god or something.” He yawned and turned to face the window. “It just helps me out sometimes when I’m in a sticky situation is all. I have no idea how it works.”

Still looking stunned, Ryan leaned against the arm of the opposite chair. “You’re kidding… Why?”

Fenix didn’t respond. In fact, he could already feel himself drifting off to sleep.

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An Example of a 5 Act Structure

Act 1
Forest Journey: Fenix and Ryan are on a mission to transport a secret device through a wartorn country to the island it originally came from by train.

Chapter 1 – Train/Group: Getting the device in a suitcase, they make the train and seated in an empty carriage. The train is invaded, Ryan is taken hostage but Fenix uses an uncontrolled power to defeat and capture them.

Chapter 2 – Pitstop/Rest 1: The train does a stopover outside a small village where they drop off the captured invaders in the forest, but before leaving, they pick up the suspicion of an elite assassin.

Chapter 3 – Woman/One-on-One: After checking the place where they’d had the invaders captive, Fenix notices a tracking device. He discovers an assassin stowaway and they fight before the assassin derails the train.

Chapter 4 – Forest/Rest 2: Fenix is contacted and told to leave the train and make their way through the forest toward the port but they are captured when they are come across by soldiers and locked up in a facility.

Chapter 5 – Melkai/Monster: They are put up as food for a monster experiment and Fenix uses his power to defeat it and escape. Before they leave the facility, he manages to recover the suitcase with the device.
_

Act 2
Island Massacre: Fenix and Ryan stay on the island and Fenix discovers what his powers are and, in a disaster, learns how to control them.

Chapter 6 – Port/Rest 3: They make it to the port and Fenix and Ryan take a boat to the island where they find out that the device they were transporting is somehow related to Fenix’s mysterious power.

Chapter 7 – Island/Group: Fenix and Ryan guard the device before the scientists return to the island and Fenix becomes a hero in the town for beating up some violent foreigners before going to his next shift.

Chapter 8 – Device/Rest 4: Fenix ends up connecting with the device in a magical way. The scientists arrive and one tried to use him in experiments while the other tries to explain to him his magic.

Chapter 9 – Dancing/One-on-One: Fenix takes home a girl that turned out to be an assassin who tries to kill him until he realizes that he had met her in his past and she warns him of the massacre that he goes outside to see.

Chapter 10 – Massacre/One-on-One: Fenix witnesses Ryan get murdered by a commander who has a similar power to his own. Fenix ends up controlling his power and uses it to kills the commander. He gets a warning about Daemon.
_

Act 3
Desert War: Fenix joins the others of his group and uses his newly controlled power to decimates the enemy force, defeating monsters and assassins.

Chapter 11 – Grieving/Rest 5: Fenix grieves Ryan’s death and resolves to master the powers he can control to stop the war. He gets a call from his team telling him about their missions in the desert country.

Chapter 12 – Warzone/Group: Fenix uses his newly mastered power to go to the frontline to easily take out entire armies and meet up with the other elite commandos in his group. They all meet up at a barracks.

Chapter 13 – Foreshadow/Rest 6: They mark a trajectory for the enemy headquarters and are warned about assassins that have similar to powers to that and the commander Fenix killed. Fenix remembers the commander’s warning.

Chapter 14 – Trapped Underground/Monster: The headquarters is exploded when they are inside and they are trapped underground where a monster attacks them but Fenix uses his powers to kill it.

Chapter 15 – Discovery/Rest 7: On the way out of the tunnels, Fenix discovers one of the gods related to what the scientist was telling him about and warns him about his adversary and his assassins that are going to be after them now.
_

Act 4
Highway/Urban Battles: Fenix and his crew fight the assassins and Fenix ends up fighting the first assassin girl who gets kidnapped by Daemon.

Chapter 16 – Plan/Rest 8: Fenix and his crew make a plan to divide and conquer the assassins knowing they couldn’t take them out together. Each of them has the technology to fight them.

Chapter 17 – Collision/Group-on-Group: On their way out of the desert city they get attacked by the assassins and are forced to split up and fight them individually. He heads toward a neighboring city where he was given a message to meet one.

Chapter 18 – Assassin/One-on-One: Fenix meets the assassin girl in a ballroom and they fight and confront their path, showing their feelings for one another before Daemon himself shows up.

Chapter 19 – First Fight/One-on-One: Fenix and Daemon fight with their powers and Daemon wins. Before he can kill him, assassin girl is wounded trying to protect him. Fenix harnesses more strength and Daemon kidnaps the girl.

Chapter 20 – Resolve/Rest 9: Not wanting to lose someone else, Fenix resolves to save her but once again is uncertain about his power. He goes to the god who says that if he loses it could mean the end of the world.
_

Act 5
Fenix goes to the tower, fights the betrayer and Daemon, dies, is resurrected and finally defeat him.

Chapter 21 – Invasion/Group: Fenix goes to the tower to rescue the assassin girl. He fights his way through the military security and finds that one of his crew betrayed him for power and is one of the assassin lefts alive.

Chapter 22 – Betrayer/One-on-One: Fenix and the betrayer, who also has been given power from the Daemon, fight and after explaining about the girl by his sister, Fenix defeats him and continues up the tower.

Chapter 23 – Defeat/One-on-one: Fenix comes to the top of the tower and fights Daemon. Despite evenly matched, Daemon tricks and defeats him and take his power to start the end of the world.

Chapter 24 – End of the World/Rest 10: Daemon causes the end of the world but it turns out Terra and Fenix did not die because they have the blood of gods and because of that the Fenix gets the gods powers.

Chapter 25 – Final Fight/One-on-One: Fenix gains the god’s power and fights Daemon and ends up sacrificing his power to defeat him.

Chapter 26 – Conclusion/Rest: Fenix reverses the end of the world and returns safely with assassin girl, where he laments those who were lost.

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I love this comedy music video

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My First Negative Review was Bad

When I received zero bad reviews for Gods of the Mountain in the first 5 months of its release, I decided I needed to go to someone notorious for giving negative reviews so that others wouldn’t accuse me of paying for them. I was also looking for feedback before the audiobook went into recording, so on the Bookstooge’s review policy page, I commented:

“I need a bad review, my book has only been getting 4 and 5 stars (mostly 5) and it’s beginning to look like I’ve been paying for them.”

I’d made such blogger requests before to varying responses but he found my comment humorous enough to agree and we traded emails where I made my intentions clear. Eventually, he did write a review, but before I poison the well with my opinion of it, feel free to read it yourself here along with the comments section which I’ll be referencing.

Adding and subtracting points from his rating for reasons like my emails to him showed that the review was meant to be a little tongue in cheek. These points, as well as the book having “Sandersonitis” was accurate. I did resend the book while editing it for the audiobook version and it was partially inspired by Brandon Sanderson. If he thought it was funny to subtract points for that, I had no problem with it. Everything accurate in this review, I found funny.

It was when he started lying that I got a bit antsy, and his denial and threats in response to my requests for clarification or correction revealed how petty and dishonest this reviewer really is.

Those of you who read my blog will know that I take pride in not being an indie author. Being only selected by traditional publishers, I haven’t paid a cent to get my writing published and I doubtfully ever will. So when I made a comment correcting a claim on his review that I was an indie author, which I thought was unnecessary considering the publisher is mentioned on the VERY FIRST PAGE, he didn’t feel the need to correct this or add a note or reply at all. Being an optimist, I regretfully gave him the benefit of the doubt and took it as an honest mistake.

Before assuming that he was willing to throw his integrity as a reviewer out the window to discredit me, I decided to address another point in his review I was unclear on.

His first remarks on my writing linked to another post in which he took a quote out of the context of its sentence to convince his readers of its “ambiguity”. I think we can agree that out of context “being turned on” could mean arouse, but in the sentence he removed it from, the character mentioned “even the youngest of them could harness the power of the symbols” which were already revealed to be deadly when used… yet he was blaming the book for an assumption he made that it was sexual in nature despite this context.

He went so far in the comments section of this “quote post” to imply I didn’t use an editor despite, once again, the editors being referenced in the book. In the review, he also claimed that this was one of a handful of instances that the grammar was “awkward”. He later clarified in an email that there were 5 of these instances, but upon requesting other examples so I might improve the book by removing them, he suddenly became defensive and, sounding like a drunk, said:

“I’ve let a lot of your “give me answers and detailed justification” comments alone. Don’t comment again. This is your only and final warning.”

You can read the comments for yourself, it’s all there. I didn’t ask for answers or detailed justification, in fact, I was being damn right jovial and accepting. All I asked for was another example, and I figured with him mentioning a specific number of them, that he might be able to point them out and help improve the book before the audiobook began recording. Yet as many religious men do when asked for evidence to hold up a lie, I can only assume he felt backed into a corner and that threatening to censor my next comment was the only way to get out of it.

He mentioned “this is why I’m always hesitant to review upon request.” to which I assume he’s done this to someone else before and think no wonder they had problems with you. He also mentioned “I’d try him again in 5-10 years” but I’d prefer that he didn’t read anything of mine in the future just in case he tried to peddle even more BS to his meager following.

Review Rating:
Consider this bridge burned, dishonest manchild.

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