After I purchased and read Mark’s book, The Blackfire Chronicles, Volume 1 I was so eager to leave a review on Amazon. I wrote my heart out. I carefully examined my obvious bias and tried to write from the heart and with truth and honesty and to be as objective as humanly possible. Needless to say—I had no idea my review would be rejected due to my relationship with the author.
So, I figured I would just write it here since I cannot for Amazon, but also share some of my obvious bias and a perspective that is not often seen from just any reader.
I gave Mark a computer for Christmas a few years ago. As with everything in our married life, we tend to support each other 1000% once one of us decides to do something. I couldn’t afford the best, but I got the best I could get. I was so excited. I found him a desk and surprised him with that. My son and I met a lady in the Fred Meyer parking on a extremely frigid and blustery night. We set it up for him and were even more excited to see him sitting at it.
This book has been rolling around Mark’s head for years. The first time he told me about it I was intrigued. I will say the first thing that attracted me to Mark was his mind. Sure he was a long-haired handsome man who played the drums, but it was his command of written language that snared me.
My best friend is responsible for us finding one another. I recall the very moment I read to him Mark’s reply to me. I was floored. I told Phillip—“He has brains! My God it’s all grammatically correct! AND he uses big words, all spelled correctly in the RIGHT places!” I tend to write like I speak, and Mark—he is encyclopedic in his vocabulary but his ability to write right---was stellar. I had seen too many “I will write you tomarrow” emails or “Wear are you going to go later?” and here was this guy. Needless to say, we fell for each other.
Mark’s passion for writing is so apparent. I loved being a tiny part discussing some scenes, mostly affirming him, but sometimes being a tiny spark of inspiration and then he was off. Writing like a man possessed. The tale he is weaving is done with intention, with care and meticulous notes. I am impressed with his ability to create a world from the synapses in his brain, each thing carefully woven into another and some of it I swear flows like a manna from heaven through his fingers and the keyboard clicks quietly and furiously. Mark has often said when he is in the groove it flows from his mind and is almost like watching a movie unfold. I know though, that it is his talent and creativity unleashed. And I am proud of him.
The process of writing a book is not always easy. It has bumps and hurdles. Editing and more editing, nurturing and cajoling. I liken it very much to one giving birth to a child. It is a mind child. A baby that you have gestated, carefully brought into this world and wrapped in a cover. As a first-time author finding the cover art is as hard as a new mother trying to clothe her baby for the first cold outing. Is it good enough? Is this or that right? And then---it is time. For the baby to be exposed to the world. We both watch the sales, the reviews and I get a tremendous warm feeling seeing the smile on his face with a good review.
Unsurprisingly - he has had some awesome reviews! I know that if you give his book, The Blackfire Chronicles, Volume 1 a chance you will no doubt be captivated, enthralled in a world entirely of his creation, and like I was---want to know what happens next. You find yourself rooting for his protagonist. He doesn’t sugar coat the world, part of it ---even in his made up world, is ugly. Yet it allows one to appreciate the small things, the good things, the just things. As I was reading this book, chapter by chapter all I could think was—wouldn’t this be an awesome Netflix series? I said to my self---geez I know I think he's a great writer (yes I am kind of biased, I married him), but when another person read his book and left a review and wrote the very thing I had been thinking it was a total affirmation that he’s as good as I think he is! I believe in my husband’s talent. It is a gift that not everyone has. I invite you to join us on this journey. I hope you become a dear reader. I hope you follow him all along in his career as an author, book to book, with anticipation for the next book, and the next just as I do. I think you'll find yourself cheering with me.
Please read all self-published books to the very end, as authors only get paid full royalty if you do. I have realized that I purchased some books, and only read a few pages and gave up. I will admit with Mark’s book I couldn’t just not read it. I had to scroll to the end. So now for every author I truly enjoy I read it to the end and leave my number of stars and a review. I just can’t bear to pay full price for a book and end up giving some of the authors cut to the publishing company, regardless of whether I liked it or not.
The time and investment is so huge for most authors that I believe each one deserves the full royalty regardless of how much I read, and sometimes it's just a matter of timing. Why should they wait until I have time to scroll through to the end? But I get it, but having understood how royalties are paid I am much more inclined now to get to the review page on all books I read. And maybe now you are too.
So yes. I am biased. But it has made me a more thoughtful reader of other books. I care about the authors that I enjoy reading and want them to succeed. Share the good books you love with others who could use a break from the insane world. Our imaginations are something that can be a balm when everything is crazy and I think The Blackfire Chronicles, Volume 1 will have you cheering for Revan and pulling for him and maybe, just maybe believing that there is magic in the world.
Mark Sowers, author of works of fiction. He writes fantasy, action/adventure, loves life in Alaska.