Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Team Novel Teen Book Tour: "Failstate" by John W. Otte

You'd think being a teenage superhero would be relatively easy, wouldn't you?  You'd have super powers, all the girls would probably love you, and you'd get to pound the bad guys to your heart's content.  But for Robin Laughlin, it's no simple matter.

When Robin decides to join a reality TV show for superheros things just get more complicated.  Oh sure, it seems simple at first: win the show and become a licensed superhero... easy enough.  But for Robin things just don't come that easy.  With his brother, Ben (aka. Gauntlet) pulling at America's heartstrings, and with Robin's own powers proving themselves so unwieldy even for the monitored studio challenges, Robin begins to wonder if his calling really isn't to save the world after all.

Until one of his competitors is murdered.

Robin vows to find the killer and sets out on a very real quest to unmask the hidden villain.  But can he find justice?  Or will his lunk of a big brother ruin everything for him -- and possibly the world?

My Thoughts:

John Otte has proved himself a masterful writer with his debut novel, "fAILSTATE".  It is, without exception, a superb piece of fiction.  And I do not say that lightly at all.

Mr. Otte has created a character that is both flawed and perfect... perfect very much in the sense that he is flawed.  Robin has LOTS of problems, and throughout the entire book he is forced to work through them - from feeling awkward around girls, to family troubles with a mother who ultimately ignores him and a big brother who not only looks down on him but seems to try his best to see Robin fail, to the struggles he has with containing his powers, to how he actually looks and the barrier that creates between him and an even seemingly normal life, to his ultimate feeling of ever present guilt ... Robin is downright imperfect.  And that's why it was so easy for me to relate to him and feel sympathy for him.  That's why it was so easy to like him and root for him to win.

Mr. Otte has also shown his hand at plot twists.  Without revealing too much here and spoiling everything, I honestly would never have guessed who the actual villain in the story is.  Not until the very end, and then the revelation was like, "WOAH!  THAT IS TOO COOL!"

And as far as the writing goes... I was drawn into the story at the very first page, held captive there, and after the first chapter, I was completely hooked.  I finished the book in one night.  I simply couldn't put it down.  The writing style flows right along with the story, pulling the reader along as if by a hook in the nose.  I was on edge the entire time.

And for those of you who follow my blog regularly and have read several of my other reviews, you know that I don't give THIS kind of review very often.

And the Christian themes... they weren't subtle, but they weren't in your face either.  The whole book showed the trial of faith that Robin faced, both in his home life, and in his life as Failstate.  Robin often questions God and his motives, and often questioned himself.  He would remind himself of what God's word said about situations, but he couldn't help doubting.  Yet ultimately, God's word came through every time.  Prayer was used adamantly, but again, it wasn't as if the author was trying to push the message in a person's face, or flash it across a neon sign. (I've read books like that before... they get very annoying very fast.)  Rather, the christian themes were there, prominent, but not posted on a billboard. It was mixed in nicely, and my guess is that it probably helped that Mr. Otte is a pastor.

"Failstate" has become a favorite.  It's been a couple weeks since I read it, but right afterwards, and even looking back now, I can come up with no prominent flaws that stood out to me.  Oh, there was a typo here and there, but nothing that took me out of the story, and nothing that can't be easily fixed.

Ultimately, an Amazing read.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars. ^_^

For those of you who are interested, here is a link to Mr. Otte's blog:

And is the link to the "Failstate" Book Trailer:

And here is the Amazon Link:

I seriously suggest that you get this book and read it.  It is so worth the money.

(Links to other blogs on the tour)

Bookworm Reading •
Hornspoon Reviews •
Jill Williamson •
Virtuous Girlhood •

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A chance to get a Short Story or Poem in an Anthology and get paid for it... :D

Hello Friends,

It's been a long time since I've blogged and I know that. I have a couple of really good books I'm reading, and I'm also way far behind on posting book reviews... I plan to get some of those up in the near future. :D

However, I thought that perhaps some of you might be interested in an opportunity now available through MEP. You read about it in the title of this blog post... yep, the one that says you could be published in an anthology and paid to be?

Well, here's the deal.  I have been collaborating with some of my writing and publishing friends about ways to get Magpie Eclectic Press off the ground and into the publishing world with some standing.  The idea was posed to me by a dear friend to try for an anthology... a sort of experiment to give writers a chance to see what we are looking for in Speculative fiction, work with us, see what we are really about... while at the same time putting out quality work so that readers will know to look out for us in the future.

Really, if we can pull this off, it will be win/win.

But before we can publish an anthology, we need authors who are interested in contributing to this anthology.

Now, I've looked around at other houses putting out anthologies right now.  The really really high end publishers (I mean the ones that are - like - in the big 6 and making ridiculous amounts of money, or even just really good money) can pay a very fancy one-time sum for a short story that they want to put in an anthology.  (Usually short stories don't bring in royalties, but are instead bought one at a time for use in magazines and anthologies... therefor the contract agreements are different than agreements made over novels and novellas.)

Currently, I can't afford to pay a high-end sum of money to multiple authors for an anthology.

Other, smaller but still reputable independent houses that I'm following online offer much smaller amounts of money per short story, or even no money at all.  Some houses, instead of money, offer a complimentary copy of the anthology as payment.  All of these houses are still getting submissions.

Well, seeing as I can't afford to pay a high-end sum per story, I thought why not try for a low-end one?

So here's how it is: Currently the "Write for Us" page on the Magpie Eclectic Press website is undergoing a slight edit and hopefully will be completely updated within a few weeks.  In the mean time, I'm going to post what we are accepting (short story wise) here in the blog for any of you readers who are interested in it. :)


Magpie Eclectic Press is currently accepting Short stories and poetry for a possible anthology.  Short stories are to be Approx. 3k – 6k in length and follow the regular formatting guide.

For poetry, please center the text.

Please use Times New Roman as your font, size 12. 

To submit your short story or poetry, fill out the submission form as it requests.  For poetry submissions you may type the words “Poetry Submission” in the boxes that ask for your novel premise and synopsis.  However, I would ask that you leave a brief description or “hook” for your poem in the box that asks for your novel’s hook.

Authors submitting short stories to the anthology will receive a one-time payment of $5.00 per story accepted upon the time of publication.  Authors submitting poetry will receive a one-time payment of $2.00 - $3.00 per poem accepted (depending on the length of the poem in question) upon publication.


If any of you are interested in submitting, hop on over to to find out more about our submission process, and to submit your story. ^_^

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Official Launch for Magpie Eclectic Press!!!! :D

Hello Friends,

I'm blogging today to tell you that, yes, everything is official as of this moment.

Yesterday was the launch of the official website for Magpie Eclectic Press. :)  That means that we are now OFFICIALLY up and ready for business. :D

Here is the new website: 

Check it out!!!! *does a happy dance*

I would also encourage you to check out the Magpie Eclectic Press blog here:

The blog is going to be the main place people can go for updates and information.  The site itself will be updated periodically, but the blog will be the place where most everything that's going on at the press will be kept updated.

Also, I encourage you all to like us on Facebook. ^_^

Besides the blog, our facebook page will also be a great source of updated information on what's going on within the press and (hopefully) the publishing world.

I'm so excited.  Today I've been half studying and half going through submissions... I've had a few already.  So far I've found one short story that I'm most definitely interested in, possibly for a future anthology, and I've gone over a few novels.  Haven't found a novel submission yet that I'm particularly interested in, but it's still very very early in the business.  I'm going to keep look, and I know that the right books are out there for this company... God knows what's in store for Magpie Eclectic, and he has the right books in mind for this company as well.  I cannot wait to see how far this can go. ^_^