Red Madrassa by Terah Edun

Red Madrassa (Algardis, #1)

by Terah Edun

Book Blurb

A magical accident threw them together. But when Fate holds all the cards, it can be impossible to tell the difference between pure chance and Destiny… 

The Madrassa, a magical school for mage practitioners, is the stuff of legend. With selective entrance exams and quotas for only the most advanced of mage children, it’s almost impossible to attend.

When Allorna, a guardian trainee for the royal family, ends up on the doorstep of the citadel on the eve of the final day of a recruitment ceremony, she decides it must be fate.

She was sure she knew the path her life would take before she enrolled. But sometimes life has a way of throwing in magical curveballs and strange friends, just to see if you’ll trip up.

Oh, and one of those friends is a mage accused of murder, another is a slightly psychotic dragon, the third a healer facing an existential crisis, and the last is a female storm-caller with more hidden secrets than a thief lord.

Do they all belong at the new school they call home?

My Review 

Owl rating

To preface this I’m a fantasy nerd yet with the way YA is trending, it’s hard to fine a good, solid epic fantasy ala LOTR for teens.  So I was generally very happy when the author contacted me to review Red Madrassa.

Red Madrassa is an epic fantasy unlike many books I’ve read mainly because it has LGBT themes as well as a racially diverse cast of characters.  The characters in this book truly reflect how the “real world” is, and from the book’s cover alone, it really caught my attention.  I thought the characters were strong, developed and believable, that being said, there were a lot of them and although the writing was strong the multiple POVs were a bit confusing and slowed/bogged the story down for the first few chapters.

That’s why I’m giving the book a four owl rating rather than a five, multiple POVs in epic fantasy is hard to do and I’ve only read very few authors that do it well, most notably George RR Martin (A Song of Fire & Ice), however it’s necessary in order to keep the story moving.

On a final note, while there are LGBT & racial themes they are huge, they’re hinted at in a very subtle & well-written way which I like because I prefer (as I’m sure most readers to) to be shown things rather than to be told everything (in a word-vomit(y) way).

I loved the storyline and the world of Red Madrassa, there were so many interesting elements in it that I cannot wait for the next book in the series.  So if you’re interested in reading an epic fantasy that follows a misfit band of teens with a tad bit of romance in it (that’s woven in very nicely), go and get yourself a copy of Red Madrassa today (it comes in paperback & Kindle) 🙂

*This is a 100% honest review, I received the book from the author to red & review.*

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Interview with YA Author Terah Edun

Hi Readers –Good Afternoon!!!

Today I have with me Terah Edun author of the YA Epic Fantasy Novel Red Madrassa (review to come later today!).

Hi, I’m Terah!

I’m currently a humanitarian aid worker, so that’s what takes up most of my time and energy. I’m young, starry-eyed and a daydreamer who loves to read. I became an author after writing novels for my best friend and growing frustrated at the lack of strong, young women being published in epic fantasy. *cough* There could be five hundred books a year and I still wouldn’t consider it enough. *end cough*

What is your favorite place to write?

I’m pretty easy to please. I need a quiet environment, a desk and my iPhone. I can’t write outdoors. My favorite place is comfortably ensconced in my apartment with a blanket wrapped around me.

What is the first story you remember writing?

It was a story I submitted for an English Arts project in high school about a girl climbing into a mountain cave and discovering a magic lizard. I still have it and the comments from my teacher written across the top in red. She loved it!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Hmm when I held the print copy of my first book – Red Madrassa.

If you could be any character from a book, movie, play, or musical who would it be and why?

I’d probably love to be Queen Selenay from Mercedes Lackey’s Arrows of the Queen series. She’s a compassion and loved Queen in Valdemar history.

What is the best piece of constructive criticism you ever received?

Keep writing.

How do you overcome “writer’s block” ? 

I take a break, listen to music, watch t.v., do anything else and then come back to the story fresh.

Coffee or tea?

Chai.

Fun Fact about yourself most people don’t know?

I would love to own a Newfoundland and a Bernese Mountain Dog.

What was the publishing process like for you?

A step at a time. As a self-published author I’ve learned everything on my own with the help of a very supportive writing community. Many times I’ve made mistakes but I’ve learned from each one.

What is some advice you would impart to writers who wish to be published?

There are so many ways to get published nowadays – pick what’s best for you and keep moving forward.

If you could have breakfast with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what would you eat?

Barack Obama.

What is your favorite movie(s)?

Air Force One and Mulan are oldies but goodies. I’m really looking forward to the release of Beautiful Creatures though.

If you had/have an animal spirit which animal(s) would it be…why?

Probably a crafty fox. 😉

What is your favorite childhood book and/or author?

Hands down the Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce.

What is the next book you want to write?

My latest book is Sworn to Raise which releases in March 2013. After that I’ll be writing the sequel to Red Madrassa.

Imagine you are writing your memoir…what is its title?

The girl who tried to have it all and succeeded.

Last words???

I love readers – stop by my website teedun.com

Thanks for joining me today, Terah!  I’m really looking forward to the release of the Beautiful Creatures movie as well:)

–Readers: If you have any questions for Terah feel free to ask them in the comments section below 🙂

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

The Sunday Scoop (Jan. 21-27, 2013)

Hey Readers!

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Sunday Scoop!!!  without further ado, here’s what happened last week in the world of publishing:

the sunday scoop

Amazon Children’s Publishing Names Two New Imprints – Jan. 21st

Roughly a year after the Amazon Children’s Publishing division launched, it has announced two new imprints. Two Lions will be home to picture books, chapter books and middle-grade fiction, and Skyscape will be devoted to titles for young adults, encompassing works from both established authors and new voices.  Read the full Publishers Weekly Article!

53% of Library Users Want ‘A Broader Selection of eBooks’ – Jan. 22nd

“An overwhelming majority wanted more coordination with local schools and more help for teaching children how to read.”  This is according to a survey done by The Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project Library Services.  Read the full GalleyCat Article!

Libraries: Good Value, Lousy Marketing (How American Libraries are Changing) – Jan. 23rd

The singular most important finding in the latest Pew study, Library Services in the Digital Age, is that libraries—in the opinion of most Americans—aren’t just about books. 80% of U.S. residents say that lending books is a “very important” service, but they rate the help they get from reference librarians as equally important. And nearly the same number, 77%, reported that free access to technology and the Internet is also very important. Read the full Publishers Weekly Article!

Algonquin Launches Young Readers List – Jan. 18th (I didn’t hear about it until the 24th so…)

With an eye toward what Howard, editor and publisher of Algonquin Young Readers, calls “character- and voice-driven stories,” the imprint is releasing its first list in fall 2013. The roster includes two YA and three middle-grade books; the spring 2014 list will be similar in size, she says, with a goal of 15 books per season, beginning in the third year.  Read the full Publishers Weekly Article!

Macmillan to Begin E-book Library Lending Pilot – Jan. 24th

As the American Library Association Midwinter conference kicks off its run in Seattle, Macmillan has announced that it will begin its first e-book library lending program by the end of the first quarter. Using the agency model and working with a number of distributors, Macmillan will offer libraries over 1,200 backlist e-books from its Minotaur Books imprint.  Read the full Publishers Weekly Article!

*Bonus – The Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2013

Culled from PW‘s Spring Announcements issue (on newsstands January 28), we asked our reviews editors to pick the most notable books publishing in Spring 2013. Links to reviews are included when available.  See the full list!

And that’s all folks!  

What’s going on in your life?  what are you thoughts on what’s going on in publishing and do you have any publishing news of your own???

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Updates – 1/23/13

Good Afternoon Readers!

smiley-face1

I like to think of a new year as a time to get better organized and to really figure out what it is you want to focus on in the upcoming year.  Sure, it would be great if we could just dabble in everything 24/7 and lead a happy and productive life but coming from someone who is has been/is the queen of over dabbling and over committing for years, that’s just not the way you want to live your life.  Sooner or later, it’ll all catch up to you.

And quite frankly it has.  I’m tired of doing everything.  So this semester (in college) I’m streamlining everything so that next semester I can focus on what really matters (a couple of orgs and my writing).

Because of this, last night & this morning I had the grandest time revamping some things because I want to get serious about my writing career.  Yes, I do consider myself to be very serious about it but I wanted to fully show it as well as clean up some things and create new things.

Social Media Buttons!!!  (niftybuttons.com)

social mediaI got rid of my links page and instead got easy to use & see buttons linking to all my social media outlets (yep, I have a lot…I’m a teen, it’s what we do).

The Sunday Scoop

the sunday scoop

What: A Weekly roundup of the previous weeks publishing headlines & other updates.

Why: I love reading publishing newsletters such as Publisher’s Weekly and Galley Cat & I’m always sharing updates via twitter so I figured why not compile them all into a weekly post.

When:  Every Sunday, starting this Sunday (1/27)!!!

Writer Resources

A collection of posts by myself or others that I have found helpful so far on my writer’s road.

A Redesigned PatriceCaldwell.com

patrice blog design

I’m also going to be ordering business cards:

business cards

I’m thinking simple is best for now but I might get some with BLOOD OF ISIS’ tagline/hook on it for when I go to conferences.

I updated my bookshelf!

Finally, I know right.  Well I’m very pleased with it, it’s a nice mix of indie, big publishing houses, and small press published books.  I’ll update this on my book review policy page but I think I’m all booked for reviews pretty much through March & part of April.  Of course, exceptions have been known to be made, so shoot me an email regardless.

Thoughts?  Updates of your own?  How are you getting & staying organized during the new year?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

P.S.  Don’t forget to enter my giveaway of a $25 Amazon gift card – entry window closes Feb.12!

My Foolproof Way to Revise Your Manuscript

Revisions…yucky. My last major revisions came out looking like this:

20120801-223308.jpg…Fun Zapper

And revisions like that can take forever!  Yes, I did get a lot of critical things changed but in the end, I was so tired that it took me forever to type them into the computer.

However recently I heard about this new thing called revising via your Kindle.  At first I was like, no way!?…that doesn’t really work.  Then I tried it:

kindle version

First of all seeing your manuscript on a Kindle is the coolest thing…second to seeing it in print, I bet.  As I heard my story through my headphones I started to tear up, like a little baby (without the obnoxiously loud cries).  I was in heaven.

…at least for a few minutes.  Until I realized boy did my manuscript have a lot of teeny tiny errors that I never would’ve caught by editing it on paper or even reading it aloud (because often, with your own work, your eyes glaze over things or put in what you know is supposed to be there).

OMG I’m 1/3 of the way done and I have already fixed so many minor inconsistencies that no one who has read my book to date, has caught.  Not because my beta readers or critique partners weren’t good enough (they’re amazing!!!) but because the errors were so tiny that unless you wrote the book (or knew everything about it), you probably wouldn’t have caught it.

After all…the funny little man, speaking on my Kindle, does not lie.

Things I’ve caught thanks to using my Kindle’s Text-to-Speech option

  • things that were still in the story from earlier plot lines (I thought I had erased)
  • rando quotation marks
  • duplicate lines
  • things way out of my characters’ character
  • too much hinting
  • other rando crap

So that brings me to my next point…how do you know if your manuscript is ready to queryit passes a Kindle (other ereaders probably have this too) text-to-speech read-through…aka, mine wasn’t (*head-desk*).

Yes.  I want to punch myself in the face.  However, for now, I think continuing listening to my story and fixing these errors all day, is punishment enough.

–Now I’m sure there are other great ways to revise, (after all “silly-error free” books have been being published for years) this just works best for me.  If you have any other great ways to revise, I’d love to hear them (in the comments section, below) 🙂

Whimsically Yours,

PnC