An indie author’s life isn’t easy. In some aspects, it is extremely liberating and inspiring. While in others – well, it often feels like a struggle. A never-ending struggle for reviews, readers, more exposure for your books. And in the middle of this Sisyphean task, you stop and ask yourself: “Why am I putting myself through this?”.
Just then, a review from someone who has truly connected to your story and understood your characters, is what helps get back the motivation to keep rolling that huge boulder up a hill. Even though you know for sure that the moment will come when the thing will roll down and smack you on the head.
I won’t say it happens every time. Not so seldom I simply let myself drown in self-pity and dark thoughts. I apologise for not being a diligent positive-thinking gurus’ pupil, but the truth is, it also helps. The most important thing is not to dive into negativity too deeply. In my experience, if you don’t try to drag yourself out artificially, repeating things like “You can do this”, apathy passes and you are ready to face the cruel publishing world again.
This time, I got lucky. I didn’t have to drag myself out by the hair. Someone else did that for me.
I can’t but share this thoughtful review of “Neglected Merge” by Anne M. Smith-Nochasak. It has given me the drive to continue swimming holding my face above the water.
“Neglected Merge, set two hundred years after an apocalyptic event that ruptured the world, is classified as a fantasy romance. The emerging love of Tauria and Doron is though, much more than a simple romance, for it becomes the catalyst by which two worlds must face “the winds of change.”
Tauria lives in a future that has evolved from life as we know it. There is contentment, productivity, and job satisfaction. Open-ended relationships have replaced the pressures of marriage. There is intimacy, but one does not ask personal questions. It is a comfortable life.
When the upheaval shook the continents two hundred years before, Doron’s culture, possibly from another dimension, surfaced, but the two cultures have long ago ceased dialogue. This other culture has a different world view: marriage is a sacred bond, vegan eating habits are observed, and emotional displays simply do not take place. They also have wings and are able to fly. It seems they have a technology that would make flight possible for others, which becomes significant to the plot.
Tauria and Doron meet in a chance encounter, and they fall in love. To be together again, however, they will somehow have to bring their worlds together. And when they do, both worlds must re-evaluate all they knew to be true, and work, not to preserve a way of life, but to build a way of life that all can live with.
We learn about both worlds mainly through the reactions of each culture to the other. Doron is puzzled by the outlook in Tauria’s world; Tauria needs time to adjust to Doron’s reserve, to read the more subtle signals of his people. The Winged guests in Tauria’s world are both intrigued and baffled by the openness they find. And Tauria, in her new world, misses the colour and emotion and sense of purpose she had at home.
At the same time, Tauria has never “fit in” back in her old world. As the novel develops, we see her growing into the person she was perhaps meant to be. We can appreciate, too, her dilemma as her dreams are coming true, but she seems increasingly restricted.
I enjoyed the scenes in which the delegations discuss topics like “early twenty-first century literature.” I find myself agreeing as I read Tauria’s thoughts: “For Tauria, every story put on paper was alive, and every story existed by its own rules. She felt they were acting as intruders, taking away something valuable from what other people’s imaginations had created.” (p. 216)
Tauria’s mentor Alfred is a most appealing character with his his wit, gentle sarcasm, deep wisdom, and appreciation for life. Abelia, Doron’s sister, is delightful in her eagerness for a full life, which she sees embodied in Tauria.
There will be hard times as both worlds work to overcome the obstacles that surface when an almost forgotten faction from the past emerges. I look forward to reading the next instalments to follow their progress.
There is not in-depth preliminary world building, but this allows us to experience the worlds as the characters do — as something new and surprising. Through their thoughts and interactions, we develop understanding beside them. We also catch glimmers of the cataclysmic event of the past, and this seems to suit the mood of the story; the characters are not caught up in that past, but living very much in the present. (if they had reflected more carefully, the faction mentioned above might have been managed differently.)
The author’s style has been noted by some, and as an English teacher, yes, I noticed that nonstandard English forms were used. They were, however, used consistently as part of the story. And what a delightful story it is! A story of love, of reaching for one’s dreams, of changing the world — contemporary romantic heroines are world builders, after all, and that makes them memorable.”
The Neglected Merge trilogy is available on Amazon worldwide. It is also free to read for Kindle Unlimited users.
You can find out more about Anne M. Smith-Nochasak and her books on Goodreads.
She is also active on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/smithnochasak/
and on Twitter https://mobile.twitter.com/smithnochasak
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