So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff


Stories Set In Colorado

Nine Month Review

Mark’s input on his sales, rankings, ratings, etc. is fascinating reading. It is always a huge question for authors, especially self-published authors. How do you best get your work out there in an efficient, cost effective manner which helps get your work in front of the right people?
I had to laugh, under “Ratings and reviews” he posts that he didn’t get any good ratings from the people he sent review requests too. I, of course, e-mailed in high dudgeon (we had been conversing by e-mail for some time by now, very pleasantly, about his books, and I had written a rather fawning review . . . ) about how I most certainly HAD written a good review for him. He replied, with a laugh, that yes, I had, but I was one of those “unplanned” reviews he loved so much. Uh, Oh. Yea. LOL!! I read “Sleight of Hand” and was totally charmed by his writing, his characters and his world building. So, of course, being me, I wrote and told him so. That e-mail led to long e-mail conversations which I have very much enjoyed and continue to this day.
As i was going through my e-mails, I noticed this blog post and realized how smart it is and how helpful I thought it was. Therefore, here it is, and I hope you find it as interesting as I did..
Now. GO OUT AND BUY MARK’S BOOKS! You will be very glad you did!

Mark Henwick

Sales, rankings, ratings, reviews and marketing roundup

This has my numbers!

It has the worst marketing mistake I made!

It has a challenge to find a book that beats SoH’s rating!

It has a reading recommendation while you wait for Wild Card!

It has predictions 🙂

This is pretty much the last opportunity I’ll have to feed back on the success of my first phase marketing plan for the Bite Back series, so I’m taking some time out from Wild Card to report. It is also a suitable date for an analysis, as it’s 9 months (plus a few days) after I pressed the Amazon Save & Publish button for Sleight of Hand.

The reason for this being the last opportunity is that, soon Raw Deal will be published, and this prequel novella is being provided free as a marketing ploy. This is a significant change from the original marketing, which was based primarily on…

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Raw Deal: The Amber Farrell Prequel – It is Out!

raw deal
“I’d lost my entire team, and nearly lost my life. In a way, I had lost my life, and was left with this—a tightrope walk between hunting down creatures people didn’t believe existed, and being locked up as one.”

It isn’t often that a writer comes along who really hits all my buttons. Of course, I am sort of an oddball myself. I like women characters who can, in a word, kick-ass, take-names, and generally stick up for herself – with a little help from her friends, and without having to have a male holding her hand and making the big-bad go away with her cheering him on. I like women characters with depth, who have a backstory that is tough, but that she makes it through on her own.

Amber is definitely tough, but she is also a good person, with heart and soul and a deep desire to do the right thing. She doesn’t lay down and cry because her life has gone into the toilet, but she doesn’t take it out on others, either. She is the kind of person that others immediately trust and believe in.

In this prequel to the Amber Farrell “Bite Back” series, Amber’s life is something of a walk through the fun house mirrors. Nothing is as it seems, only when it is. Her life has been turned upside down, ripped apart, and stomped on a few times for good measure by a government she once trusted. She is back “home” doing a job she never expected, with Big Brother watching over her shoulder, waiting with baited breath to snatch her back to a cold, concrete cell, never again to see the light of day, victim to needles and knives. It is enough to make the strongest woman cringe a bit.

If you have read the Bite Back series, this will give you the back story on Amber’s introduction back into Denver’s seedier side. If this is the first you have heard about Amber, grab this novella first, then move on to Sleight of Handsleight of hand

then on to Hidden Trumphidden trump

This is a killer series about a woman who is strong enough to know what she wants and goes after it, without walking all over everyone to get there. Buy the books (this one is FREE) and read them. You won’t be disappointed.

Hidden Trump (Bite Back #2) Mark Henwick

hidden trumpWhen I first read Sleight of Hand: Bite Back Book 1 (Volume 1), the first book by Mark Henwick, I was, in a word, thrilled. Yes, there are a lot of unknown authors out there, many self published, and many very good. Mark, however, knocked the ball out of the park in his freshman entry into the crowded field of urban fantasy.

Mark’s exceptional grasp of character development is the first thing that gripped my attention. His main character, Amber, is a fully three-dimensional character, with a strong back story. She felt, in SoH, like someone I could see myself knowing and liking. She wasn’t an overblown character by any means, but she was tough, centered, and above all she feels ‘real’ in an unreal situation. I was very, very excited, and could hardly wait to read the next in Mark’s series. Thank goodness I read it ‘late’ i.e., not long before the next book was due to be released. It would have been a killer to have to wait a whole year for the next! (OF course, now I have to wait for the next, siiiiiggggghhhhh)

The very first day Hidden Trump became available, I sat down and started to read – and didn’t put it down until 5:47 the next morning . . .(*yawn*) I kept meaning to put it down, really I did – I did manage to feed the pups, but not to feed myself! Go to bed? Nah, just one more page. . . one more . . . one more. . .

“Hidden Trump” picks up the same day as the ending of SoH, and the excitement doesn’t stop. There is plenty of action to Mark’s books, both SoH and HT, and it keeps you riveted to the page. However, unlike other books of the genre the action is, even though it includes werewolves, Athanate and Adepts (oh, my!) amazingly believable. While she is ‘becoming’ (and that, in itself, is absolutely fascinating – one of the most creative bits of character development/mythos building I have run across in a very, very long time) and she is both strong and fast, she still takes her share of hits both emotional and physical.

There are a couple of what some would call ‘oddball’ things about Mark’s work that left me more than a little impressed. You may laugh at what it is – military and political knowledge. I have quite a bit of it myself, and Mark’s knowledge is almost scarily correct, for a ‘Brit’ – LOL. Secret military groups, political machinations, the fleecing of the American public by the rich, drugs and guns and bad guys (oh, my!) Oh, yea, Mark knows his stuff! Sound boring? Believe me, it is anything but. Amber’s interactions with the military that turned their backs on her after ten years of totally dedicated service touched me on a deep level. Her dedication, repaid by betrayal, is the story of the American military/political system. I know, I know, lay off it, this is an urban fantasy, right? Yes, but what I just spoke of is paramount to who Amber is, her motivations, and her deep commitment to helping others.

Mark’s character development is still spot-on, his world is continuously building throughout both books (and I am sure it will be in the next installments also) and is all the more outstanding for it. Mark doesn’t fall into the ‘pure style’ trap that so many other writers seem to fall into. There are background characters in Amber’s life, most especially Top (whose story was learned in SoH) whose history is integral to Amber’s and requires full development as character, even if they sometimes lead away from what is going on at the moment. It all fits together. Mark doesn’t disappoint.

Sleight of Hand (Bite Back, #1) Mark Henwick

sleight of hand

**FIVE STARS!!!!**

I rarely do this – but I am actually willing to compare this new author to my favorites. The team of Ilona Andrews and their “Kate Daniels” series and Patricia Briggs and her “Mercy Thompson” novels,  are a hard act to follow. Intense storylines, fully developed realistic characters, exceptional world building, the list goes on and on. And, so far, the author of “Sleight of Hand” fits right in there with my favorites.

There are a lot of things to talk about, but first, a guilty admission. When I came across this book while looking at the “customers also bought” on my Kindle, I didn’t look at who wrote it. I clicked on it, saw the premise and the five star reviews, wanted a new author to read and snapped it up. While I am incredibly glad I did, I have to admit I was absolutely shocked when I went to do my own review and saw that the author was actually a male. I know,I know, it is prejudiced, but after reading the book, I was embarrassingly shocked that I was dealing with a “Mark” who could write a female character so exceptionally well. I really believed that I was reading a woman author. Guess that shows me, huh? Yes, Gordon writes exceptionally well, but I always figured that Ilona wrote Kate and Gordon wrote Curran, right? Well, that shows ME!

Henwick has written an exceptional urban fantasy. I would call it Urban Fantasy rather than “paranormal” for a few different reasons. First and foremost, the action is set in modern-day Denver. This is not ‘alternate’ Denver, but rather, a Denver as I know it myself. The story encompasses ‘paranormal’ beings, but in a fresh new way that was both believable in a scientific manner and highly interesting. There is action, suspense, a very likeable main character going through an incredibly tough time, and some exceptional additional characters. There are a couple of love interests (and one of them wedgies the shorts of some readers, but that is their problem) but the book doesn’t disintegrate into a ‘wham-bam-thank-you-mame’ as so many other fantasy books do. And come on, who falls in love and gets married in a week? Instead, Henwick focuses on the character development, the world building, the science and military/police procedure, all to the good of his story. Everything about the story is well developed and leaves plenty of room for exceptional follow-up novels. One of which I am very much hoping to read quite soon!

Amber is much more interesting than many (most?) of the other female characters out there today. Well, other than Kate, Mercy, and Jane, of course! She is ex-military and as such, is highly trained. However, she is also damaged, highly mature in some ways, immature in others. Strong enough to protect others, but in terrible pain herself. There isn’t the kind of instant sex you find in many books, but she is going through a vital change, which causes her to suffer from a heart-rending difficulties, both emotionally and physically. The creature she is changing into is ‘highly charged’ – much more so than she is comfortable with. Dealing with these changes will be interesting to watch, given the whole dynamic of the community she is moving into. It will be fascinating to see her grow and mature, hopefully without her falling into the whole “Anita Blake” sleaze fest. I like very much that there is a mixed dynamic in her love interests, to be honest – it is more realistic within the context of this bright new world that Henwick is developing. I look forward to a brilliant future with Amber and her friends and enemies, and hope very much that I can continue to be so wonderfully positive about this series.

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