I’m Also a Novelist: Interesting Search Terms

Someone—I’ll assume it’s one visitor making two visits, rather than two different people using the same search phrase—found my blog today by searching for:

  • butt charlinder black ass

…and the strange part is that it doesn’t seem to have brought them to any of my book-related pages.

It’s a curiously random combination of words, but even so, my first literary protagonist is a multiracial-black young man named Charlinder, and he does a lot of interesting things in my debut novel, Charlinder’s Walk, and I will admit that there are some women who enjoy his fine ass. If all that mountain-climbing doesn’t give him an impressive backside, then he must have had a gorgeous pair of glutes to begin with.

Most of you may not be looking for man-butt in particular, but I am a writer of original fiction, and if you’ve been enjoying my Game of Thrones posts, and/or my social-justice writing, you may also enjoy my novels. If you’re on Goodreads, add Charlinder’s Walk to your shelf. It’s only $4.99 on Kindle. If Charlinder’s Walk seems too weird for you, you may still enjoy my urban fantasy/women’s fiction, Suicide is for Mortals. It’s only $2.99 on Kindle. It features vampires and other paranormal creatures written for readers who are tired of vampires and paranormal creatures. There’s more info available under the “I Write Books” tab at the top. Give either or both of my books a peek, if you enjoy my blog. Also, I have a Facebook page you might like.

An indie author has a birthday!

No foreign languages? No problem!

October 10th marks the anniversary of the day that the Monster made the transition from “stubborn breech fetal Monster” to “squirming, colicky Monster.” It is almost the first anniversary of the day(s) that I first published Charlinder’s Walk, but it is still the first birthday for me since I’ve had a book to show off. So! If you enjoy my blog, and you want to wish me Happy Birthday?

(No, I’m not going to ask you to buy my book. Unless it looks like something you’d enjoy!)

You can TELL YOUR FRIENDS about my book!

Help a Monster out on her birthday, and share one (or more) of these links!

Excerpts from the book…

Round-up of great reviews…

Official website…

Podcast with New Books in Secularism…

And just for good measure, here’s the cover:

He’s not coming home until he knows the truth.

Although, now that I think of it…

With the previous post in mind, I now have the idea for my next post-apocalyptic novel. Women of Earth get sick of men’s bullshit, so they reduce the world’s population by slightly less than half! They start with the police and military, move on to their own husbands/boyfriends/sugardaddies, then their minor sons, and…I’ll figure out the rest later. The point is, women organize a rebellion and massacre all the men. They don’t need to worry about reproduction because, as Greg Hampikian pointed out, there’s plenty of frozen sperm to go around. I think it would be a little more interesting if they kept a small percentage of hand-picked men alive and in cages, in case they need some more genetic diversity.

And once that’s all squared away, women don’t just drown all their sons at birth. They still raise boys! Only they struggle with the question of how to raise their boys so that they don’t grow up to be another generation of violently insecure, evidence-free mansplainers. The thrust of the story will be mostly sociological, rather than genetic or logistic.

What should I call it?

(Seriously, though, if you want to see an example of a man who is a member of society without being the Strong Protective Hunter, look at Charlinder. His lady-friends don’t keep him around because they need him to lift heavy stuff. They just like him.)

“Make more babies! But don’t let them read Harry Potter!”

What in the shit is this?

A library in Columbia, SC has been showing the Harry Potter movies this month. This has drawn some protests, I’d like to say from the usual suspects, but these folks are actually…special.

Asking supporters to call and email Lexington County Council members demanding they put an end to the Witch-a-thon and decrease the library’s funding, Columbia Christians for Life indicated that any council member who disagrees should be voted out of office. The group backed up their demands and proved God’s apparent dislike for the Potter series by including several Bible verses from Deuteronomy and other Old Testament books:

“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire (which, in the Harry Potter series, could be accomplished by a simple shield charm), or that useth divination (one of Harry’s least favorite classes at Hogwarts), or an observer of times (sounds like Hermione’s time-turner), or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer (such as Gilderoy Lockhart), or a consulter with familiar spirits (hopefully fire whiskey), or a wizard, or a necromancer.”

Something tells me the general voting populace is not going to share their priorities.

What I wonder is how Columbia Christians for Life, which you can tell by the name is an anti-abortion group, got so interested in protesting Harry Potter movies. As Ashley Miller shows us, their website is covered in spittle-flecked pronouncements about how abortion is sending America to Hell in a handbasket. (I’m not even exaggerating.) Harry Potter doesn’t say anything about abortion. If anything, you’d think the forced-birth set would appreciate the fact that Harry’s favorite family are the Weasleys, who seem to be in the camp of “babies are awesome so let’s have lots of them.”

I guess it makes sense if they view fertility less as building families and more as making lots of little Warriors for Christ, which, based on their website, appears to be their angle. They want you to make more babies, but don’t show them anything as left-leaning as Harry Potter, which has a nuanced view of authority figures and shows women doing interesting things with their lives. Nothing but Left Behind books for Columbia Christians for Life kiddies.

I’ll know I’ve made it when library systems start banning my books. If Columbia Christians for Boring Lives think Harry Potter is offensive, I’ll introduce them to Charlinder. Wait until you hear his thoughts on the Immaculate Conception. We won’t even get started on Gentiola.

Book Club Edition: Charlinder’s Greatest Hits

This is actually the post where I reveal everything about the Book Club Edition. I’ve shined up the interior formatting, especially for the print version, I wrote up a discussion guide, I added a little bit to the Author’s Notes, and I have put a new cover on the book. For those who love Venessa’s artwork, it can still be found in the book, just after the title page.

However, I can’t show you the discussion guide without giving SPOILERS, and I hate spoilers, so I’m not very well going to spoil my book. There’s only so far you can get in discussing a book you haven’t read. For the most part, I’m going to round up my favorites from the virtual book tour we did in May.

I want you to read ALL of these reviews, but here are some edited highlights.

Eric Swett at My Writers Cramp

The author takes the reader on an atypical journey through a genre that has become even more popular as of late. It would have been easy to make the story about the journey itself, the hardships of walking such a great distance, but she chooses to make the story about the people and the societies that Charlinder meets on his quest to discover the great truth that has plagued his village since its founding.

Laura Roberts at Black Heart Magazine

In Alyson’s imaginary world, daily life as we know it has been destroyed, but the universe keeps on chugging along as it always will. The people in Charlinder’s village have reverted to a more agrarian lifestyle, keeping chickens for eggs and sheep for milk and wool, though they do not raise animals for slaughter. If they want to eat meat, they must hunt and kill it themselves. This “simpler” form of life keeps the members of his community busy for most of the day, with plenty of physical tasks that farmers have performed around the world for centuries. While this lifestyle may seem desireable, even preferable to big-city life, it is quite a lot of work—especially for people who are used to being able to use technology to get through their day. Would we big-city dwellers, indeed, be able to survive in Charlinder’s world?

Jo Bryant at Chronicles of Illusions has fabulous things to say about the supporting characters.

It’s a very long walk.

There are some great characters in this book. Personally I loved Charlinder’s Uncle Roy. Any man who would send a young man off on his walk half way around the world with a sheep as a companion is the type of character I love.

Queen Anne’s Lace, Lacey for short (the sheep), provides Charlinder with exactly the type of side-kick he needs. Their relationship on the journey also provides a lot of the humour in the book, as well as a lot of insight in to Charlinder’s character.

Martha at Martha’s Bookshelf asks me some great questions, such as:

Please share with us one surprising thing about your experience writing Charlinder’s Walk, or about something else related to your career as a writer.

A memory that jumps out is how the comparison—which is not spoken out loud, but sort of left in plain sight in the text—between Charlinder and Marietta’s son George. It didn’t really occur to me until I was writing the conversation, and this parallel took shape before my eyes. I liked the comparison, so I ran with it.

Inga Silberg at Me and Reading:

After he starts his “pilgrimage” the pace of the book picks up and the reader finds out how the world looks like through the eyes of Charlinder. These parts were the most interesting for me, because the descriptions of the surroundings were captivating and engaging.

During his walk Charlinder meets a girl named Gentiola who opens Charlinder’s eyes on many different levels. Charlinder finds out, that nothing is as it seemed and that you have to be careful what you wish for – it can be unexpected, unwanted and lead you to something different what you searched for.

I think that the strong side of the book was Charlinder himself. His thoughts and how he experienced the world, what he saw and how he acted actually created the whole book. Author did an excellent work with Charlinder’s character.

Kristin at Live to Read:

This book explores many issues through an interesting plot.  A plague decimated the human population in 2012, and now, in 2130, the survivors still do not know why.  Charlinder is the hero of this novel.  He leaves the safety of his home to learn why the world ended.  On his journey he explores issues such as religion and family and learns more about the world that surrounds him than he expected. The character is easy to connect to, though sometimes he is hard to fully understand.  This is not a book that one finishes in one sitting, but the book will remain fresh in the readers’ mind after completion.

Charlinder’s Walk is a book that makes the reader consider important issues and reflect.  Miers’ detail and use of description are excellent.  Her writing is attentive and draws readers into the world she created.

Best Blog Entry according to Novel Publicity is from Kriss Morton at Cabin Goddess:

I am giving this book FIVE stars on the writing and complexity of a tale that flows so well and so beautifully. For the different voices that spoke to me and I could hear. For poetic beauty she wove throughout the book. From a personal rating, I am giving it THREE, not because it is not a good book, it is amazingly written. As stated, the story is well constructed. the cultural questions, religious questions and all the sociological implications are spot on. My reasons are exactly that, just like my religion.

I recommend this read to anyone who wants a really good thought-provoking read. I would recommend this for a book club read because I spent hours talking about this with my fiance. I would recommend this to my elder children to read and question. I would recommend this to people who have no hang-ups like me because it really is one heck of a book.  I would not recommend this book to any of my rabid pagan friends. I would not let anyone young read it because the sex scenes are just to graphic. Necessary to the story for sure but much and to graphic for a young adult read. It is well worth the cost of either paper back or ebook. Fair warning however, this is not a weekend read. This is a book that makes you think all 400+ pages of it. The only thing I would add to the book is a book club guide because as stated above this is a great book club book. Hmm maybe I should write one!

(Book club guide: written!)

Sean Keefer at The Trust Blog:

The overall premise of the book is actually quite refreshing. (Yes that’s an interesting choice of words when the end of the world is the topic, but Miers’ treatment of the subject is novel.)

I found the book to be a breath of fresh air in a genre that all to quickly can become cliché.  Using a little walk around the globe as a method to paint a canvas showing a possible society of the future is completely different and works quite well.

Go out and pick up a copy and give it a read.  Encourage a couple of friends to do the same. Aside from the well-crafted fiction you will find between the covers, you can rest assured that once you and your friends have finished, you will find yourself discussing the themes that Miers raises.  That, in my humble opinion, is what sets a book apart from the ordinary – wanting to talk about it when you are done.

Carrie at Views From Nature:

Charlinder is different from everyone else in his village. As a teacher, and from the way he was brought up he thinks about things in ways the rest of his village doesn’t quite get. I must admit that in the beginning of this story, based on how the character interacted with others, I assumed he was gay. Miers’ use of gender roles to help redefine this new world is thrown upside down when it comes to Charlinder. He does very few of the more traditional “male” jobs in the village. I was quite surprised at the point in the book where this assumption was proven wrong.

*cackles like an evil mofo* No, Charlinder is not gay, but I think it’s awesome that he can be perceived as such.

Lissette E. Manning:

Embarking on his quest, he never imagined the ordeals he’d encounter throughout his journey. Language barriers make it hard for him to understand those he comes across. Food is also scarce. With everything step he takes, he gets further and further away from his place of birth. Doubts and insecurities creep upon him as he treads along the path he’s set before him. Yet there’s one thing he’s sure of – he will get the answers he seeks, no matter the cost.

This was quite a thought-provoking book. Granted, it’s just fiction, but certain aspects of it make the reader wonder ‘What if?’ Heavily fortified with religious themes, the reader finds him/herself immersed in a world that’s very much possible in this day and age. Alyson has painted a very vivid picture of a world in which we’re able to feel each character pain and insecurities. We’re able to glean what the post-apocalyptic world is like through their eyes, as well as understanding the meaning behind the lessons that have been imposed throughout the book.

Ajoop at On Books!

Charlinder WALKS across three continents… that’s right, walks!… over the span of three years with only a sheep, Queen Anne’s Lace or Lacey for short as his companion. He does this by stopping by various villages at various points of time and meeting people from various cultures and communities with different beliefs about race, gender, sex and the Plague itself. By the time he quite literally finds the origin of it all, he wonders if the source of the problem was all he came for and if that alone is enough.

I loved everything about Alyson Miers’ Charlinder’s Walk because of the Walk itself. Charlinder’s journey wasn’t easy and I felt like I was there with him as he crossed several barriers, encountered several hardships, was confronted with so many different types of living and attitudes towards gender, division of labour, sex and life and that, in many ways, helped him grow and fully live up to his potential. I loved Charlinder, with his fondness for knitting, weaving and teaching and how he was bright, unusual and yet completely true to himself. I enjoyed getting to know him as he grew out of his old shoes, ragged from his travel, into newer and bigger ones.

I could appreciate Charlinder’s bond with Lacey, his sheep and only constant source of companionship, especially after Charlinder ventured into Eurasia where there was the language-barrier between him and the locals that presented a whole new challenge! I adored Lacey and grew extremely attached to her.

It was an amazing journey, especially the journey back to North America when I could feel the growth in him and how his experiences had caused him to question his role in the world rather than just the state of the world! It was a teary, difficult and realistically long journey and I loved the insights, details and richness of it!

I started reading Charlinder’s Walk at a photocopy shop, read a little on the bus on my way back from my summer internship and most of it at home on particularly sunny days. This book has traveled places and I loved every minute of my journey with it! Charlinder’s Walk was an extremely long read for me which made me appreciate the length and breadth of Charlinder’s walk even more. With a pleasant writing style, an engaging and diverse bunch of characters and the exploration of Charlinder’s inner struggle alongside the exploration of much broader themes, this is a book that will stay with me for a long time.

Becca Boucher at My Life with Boys and Books:

Charlinder still has to figure out how to communicate when he doesn’t know the language. And  figure out how to assimilate into alien cultures. Along the way he finds out he is stronger than he ever knew and far more valuable. When at home he questioned his role as the village teacher, on the road people marveled at the fact he could read and write. He learns that his world view might have been biased and formed on a one sided history, but that human nature stays the same across the miles.

When he meets the woman he has been searching for he can’t believe what he walked hundreds of miles to find out. Now that he has his answers what are the implications for his village and his friend’s fragile peace? How does he go on with the knowledge he received? He has to decided if the truth really matters. I was so excited by this sweet and amazing tale it’s hard to not to give too much away.

In fact, I loved this book. I wanted it to go on. And that’s saying a lot considering it was over 400 pages long. I was drawn in from the first chapter and Miers had me hooked. I love a good dystopian story, and hers was believable and relate-able.  And because of that somewhat scary in its plausibility.

Miers gives us a lot to think about. Through Charlinder, and the vast and varied cast  of supporting characters, we learn a lesson on how not to take the world and her resources for granted. We are forced to think about tolerance, the roles of society, and how things can change in a relatively short time. And a book that makes us think that deep is one to treasure. I wold love to see this book widely read. It is timely and well written. It showcases some of the best of indie writing and publishing. If you have read it, pass it along. That’s what Charlinder would have wanted.

Emlyn Chand:

Before you begin reading, you must understand that Charlinder is NOT a fast, plot-driven read, nor is it light. Do this book justice, take your time, and you will be left with a lot to think about. Few novels have struck me as such strong selections for book club discussion (and remember, I run a club with over 450 members, so I know a thing or two). You don’t have to search hard to find the themes or resort to conversations along the line of “who’s your favorite character?” or “what would have happened if Y instead of X?” The meaning is right there in front of you ready to be analyzed, contemplated, and enjoyed.

This book would be an EXCELLENT selection for a sociology class at either the undergraduate or graduate level. The over-arching question is not, what caused the plague, but rather what caused society to develop in the way it did, and what might happen in our real world if a similar epedemic set us back several centuries?

Oh, yes, this is a novel for thinking. With smooth prose and a few heart-wrenching moments, Charlinder’s Walk makes a fantastic read if you’re willing to take the time to thoroughly process it. Charlinder didn’t walk across the world in a day, nor can you read about his adventure in such a short period of time. Life isn’t about the destination, after all. Enjoy the journey; enjoy the read and the inevitable introspection that comes along with it. I did.

Kimberly at Turning the Pages:

Charlinder’s Walk was a fantastic read and one I enjoyed immensely. Alyson Miers did an excellent job in terms of character development. I really liked the whole cast of them because they seemed to jump off the page, the whole story did for me actually jumped off the page and I really felt as though I was there with Charlinder as he was on his journey of self discovery.

I thought the overall plot was great, because Miers went about writing a dystopian novel in such an awesome and unique way. I was totally blown away by the way in which she wrote the whole novel. From the first page I was completely drawn into Charlinder’s post plague world. I think that the author Alyson Miers is an amazing new talent and I wish more people were aware of her book because it is was a thrilling read. I hope she continues writing since she certainly has a gift for the written word.

 

Now, what exactly is this book about, you may ask? Here is the blurb which can be found on the back cover of the paperback edition now that I’ve made some adjustments:

In 2012, the Plague brought about the end of the world. In 2130, Charlinder wants to know why when his village begins to fight over the Plague’s origin. Was it a natural event, or did God punish humanity for its sins?

Unwilling to wait for matters to get any worse, and never having been more than ten miles from home, he decides to walk across three continents to find the site of the Plague’s origin and bring the true story home.

In the two and a half years it takes him to get there, he learns how shocking his village’s culture seems to outsiders while the settlements along the way force him to grapple with questions of family, religion, education, sexuality, hierarchy and interdependence. He survives thousands of miles of language barriers, hunger and disaster before he meets Gentiola.

Nothing could have prepared him for the tale of madness, ecology and fanaticism that he learns from her. His place in the world is a question he will ask for the first time.

Book Club Edition: First, I will show you name pronunciation.

Remember how I said I wouldn’t show you any more excerpts from Charlinder’s Walk? Well, I still won’t, at least not tonight. However, since I’ve just given Char a little back-to-school makeover (sure, it’s at the end of the school year, but the analogy holds), I’m going to show him off a bit more.

But I’ll start with something small, and show you how to pronounce the characters’ names. There are two characters who are named in the synopsis, and I’m particular about how those names are supposed to sound. (Names are a sticking point for me. It’s a neurosis.)

First, we have Charlinder. Start with a hard “ch” sound, as in “chair,” and emphasize as follows: char-LIN-der.

Next is Gentiola, who is Albanian, and in their language, the letter G only makes one sound. Start with a hard “g” as in “get” rather than “gentle,” and emphasize: gen-tee-OH-lah.

Yeah, I should’ve thought about this before I gave my characters tricksy names. Everyone else’s names are uncontroversial.

Shameless Saturday: Charlinder will keep you company for a good long while.

Week 4 of Monster’s First Blog Tour comes to an end! What happened this week, you ask?

Stephanie at ¡Miraculous! parts company from most reviewers in that she found the journey underwhelming, though she did enjoy the socio-political commentary.

Charlinder’s Walk is a quickly paced, fairly easy read that makes me want to jump into arguments about all the global and political affairs it bestows. Kudos to Miers for being able to fit all that into one storyline and still make it relevant, and even more impressively, enjoyable. This isn’t just a cheesy read; it actually has substance.

Lissette Manning says:

This was quite a thought-provoking book. Granted, it’s just fiction, but certain aspects of it make the reader wonder ‘What if?’ Heavily fortified with religious themes, the reader finds him/herself immersed in a world that’s very much possible in this day and age. Alyson has painted a very vivid picture of a world in which we’re able to feel each character pain and insecurities.

Ajoop at On Books! has…a great deal to say about this book:

Charlinder WALKS across three continents… that’s right, walks!… over the span of three years with only a sheep, Queen Anne’s Lace or Lacey for short as his companion.

He sure does! The title refers to a very…long…walk, and without a big strong pack animal to carry his gear.

It was an amazing journey, especially the journey back to North America when I could feel the growth in him and how his experiences had caused him to question his role in the world rather than just the state of the world! It was a teary, difficult and realistically long journey and I loved the insights, details and richness of it!

I want you to pay Ajoop a visit and read the full review. Her enjoyment is infectious, though it’s possible I’m a tad biased.

Becca at My Life With Boys and Books is equally enthusiastic, saying that she wanted the book to keep going, and for a book of this length, that is extravagant praise:

…a book that makes us think that deep is one to treasure. I would love to see this book widely read. It is timely and well written. It showcases some of the best of indie writing and publishing. If you have read it, pass it along. That’s what Charlinder would have wanted.

Thank you, Becca!

Emlyn Chand recommends Charlinder’s Walk for book clubs and Sociology classes:

I have a master’s in sociology, and I hardly ever have the opportunity to use it. Charlinder’s Walk brought my repressed educational knowledge back to the surface, reminding me why I loved sociology enough to study it for 6 years running. During Charlinder’s journey he comes across many isoloated communities of survivors–each is small, each has developed independently of the rest, and each is informed by the pre-plague culture of the region (i.e. India, China, Alaska). Charlinder confronts gender issues, division of labor, racism and segregation, varying family models, and oh-so-much more. This book would be an EXCELLENT selection for a sociology class at either the undergraduate or graduate level. The over-arching question is not, what caused the plague, but rather what caused society to develop in the way it did, and what might happen in our real world if a similar epedemic set us back several centuries?

Oh, yes, this is a novel for thinking. With smooth prose and a few heart-wrenching moments, Charlinder’s Walk makes a fantastic read if you’re willing to take the time to thoroughly process it. Charlinder didn’t walk across the world in a day, nor can you read about his adventure in such a short period of time. Life isn’t about the destination, after all. Enjoy the journey; enjoy the read and the inevitable introspection that comes along with it. I did.

Thank you, Em!

Kimberly at Turning the Pages gives us a quick, though enthusiastic review.

I really liked the whole cast of them because they seemed to jump off the page, the whole story did for me actually jumped off the page and I really felt as though I was there with Charlinder as he was on his journey of self discovery.

And furthermore:

From the first page I was completely drawn into Charlinder’s post plague world. I think that the author Alyson Miers is an amazing new talent and I wish more people were aware of her book because it is a thrilling read. I hope she continues writing since she certainly has a gift for the written word.

I most certainly intend to keep writing, and thanks for your support!

Jessica, the Guardian of the Crossroads, asks me some questions about my novel:

Why did you choose a male character to write about. 

Charlinder was the character who presented himself to me for this coming-of-age tale. Why a female protagonist didn’t occur to me probably has a lot to do with why female protagonists aren’t already more represented in hero’s quest tales. If I’d written Charlotte’s Walk instead, it would have taken some more doing to explain why a post-apocalyptic agrarian community would allow a young woman to walk out, with the intention of crossing three continents, and possibly never return.

I think this is worthy of a longer answer, but not today. I intend to devote a few more blog posts to talking about Charlinder’s Walk in more detail.

The tour isn’t quite finished yet. I have a Twitterview with Novel Publicity at 4 PM (EST) today. Watch me scramble to fit maximum brazenness into 140 characters at a time. Search #emlyn to follow along.

 

Charlinder is full of surprises.

Week 3 of Charlinder’s virtual book tour is at a close. This means it’s 75% over. This makes me a little sad, but all good things must come to an end.

Wakela keeps it quick and simple:

I loved the imagery that was provided in this story.  Plus some of the encounters that Charlinder had a long the way really caused me to stop and think.

Pavarti at My Life of Books & Beauty takes her time in expressing her thoughts:

 The question though, is whether the price is too high.  I for one would always rather know the truth, the reality of the situation.  But that’s not to say I’m impervious to the cruelty that reality can sometimes present.  But in a quest, the grand scale holy grail kind of quest, the ultimate prize is  held out as being worth any difficulty.

Kristin at Lives to Read gives us a refreshing view of what to expect:

 This is not a book that one finishes in one sitting, but the book will remain fresh in the readers’ mind after completion.

Charlinder’s Walk is a book that makes the reader consider important issues and reflect.  Miers’ detail and use of description are excellent.  Her writing is attentive and draws readers into the world she created.

For readers 18 and up.

Kriss at Cabin Goddess gives us a very thoughtful, thorough review in which she notes that Charlinder’s community is a very supportive place to live in the post-Plague world. She has a lot of nice things to say, such as:

I am giving this book FIVE stars on the writing and complexity of a tale that flows so well and so beautifully. For the different voices that spoke to me and I could hear. For poetic beauty she wove throughout the book.

This is noteworthy:

I would not let anyone young read it because the sex scenes are just to graphic. Necessary to the story for sure but much and to graphic for a young adult read.

(emphasis mine)

However, there’s something about my handling of religious issues that rubs her the wrong way. She very tantalizingly ends with a quote from Gentiola, whose talking point Charlinder does not take lying down.

 Sean Keefer at The Trust Blog gives us a fabulously well-constructed review. He ends with these two excellent paragraphs:

I found the book to be a breath of fresh air in a genre that all to quickly can become cliché.  Using a little walk around the globe as a method to paint a canvas showing a possible society of the future is completely different and works quite well.

Go out and pick up a copy and give it a read.  Encourage a couple of friends to do the same. Aside from the well-crafted fiction you will find between the covers, you can rest assured that once you and your friends have finished, you will find yourself discussing the themes that Miers raises.  That, in my humble opinion, is what sets a book apart from the ordinary – wanting to talk about it when you are done.

 Laurisa at 1000 Wrongs hosts an interview, in which I share this:

I figured out pretty soon that I could keep on trying for years to get a book deal with a publishing house, or I could actually put my story out there in readers’ hands. The decision to self-publish was a “get busy living” move.

I will conclude this week’s round-up with this review by Carrie at Views From Nature, which has a special place in my deviant little heart. I want you to hit the link and read the whole thing to see what is so awesome about it, but I will quote this much:

Eileen was one of the original survivors and documented many of the struggles and issues faced by the remaining members of the human race. I liked being given those views into the past. Eileen’s voice came through as authentic. She held her own beliefs and would not be compromised.

The honey badger was not yet a meme at the time I wrote the book, but the phrase “honey badger don’t care” might pop into your head when you see Eileen having her say.

Charlinder and I can’t please everyone, but we do make an impression.

Week Two of Monster’s First Blog Tour has drawn to a close. I guess? The review that was scheduled for today hasn’t appeared, but there’s no time like the present to do the weekly roundup.

A.B. Shepherd’s Reinvented Reader assures us:

Charlinder’s Walk is really a thought provoking book about many topics including religion, ecology, sexism, racism, education, morality, sexuality, family, and ethics. But it doesn’t do any of this in a preachy or lecturing way. I’m glad Alyson Miers wrote it and I’m glad I read it.

(However, I do occasionally put nasty language in my characters’ mouths. It’s…actually pretty tame compared to the nasty language I use on this blog, come to think of it.)

M.K. McClintock soon figured out this was not a YA book:

What I liked most about this book was Charlinder’s journey and once he began his ‘walk’ the story drew me in a bit more. The author’s imagination and attention to detail cannot be missed. Charlinder is an interesting character and you’ll likely find yourself encouraging him along as he experiences struggles, adventures, and meeting new people. I’d have to say that his travels were the best parts of the book for me and what I found most engaging. The author does a good job letting you see the journey through Charlinder’s eyes.

Bex Brennan of Bex Book Nook says the book feels more like a fantasy than a dystopian, which she appreciates:

Ms Miers writing style is easy to read and understand, while not losing any of it’s descriptive qualities.

She concludes:

I would suggest Charlinder’s Walk without reservation to any dystopian fiction fans, or anyone interested in a well written coming of age tale with some really interesting and unique plot twists.

Suzanne van Rooyen found the book a bit outside her tastes:

It asks some really difficult questions particularly of religion while examining societal norms, challenging established gender roles and even family construction. I appreciate how fearlessly the author dived into this topics. It made for some interesting and thought provoking reading.

On the other hand:

I’m not a fan of stories with such strong religious and socio-political content. I found this book difficult to read, not because of bad writing but because of the subject material. The writing is actually very good, it’s the content I didn’t like although it did make me think.

Okay, the cat’s out of the bag. There is all sorts of socio-political content going on in my novel.

Martha’s Bookshelf gives us an embarrassment of attention. She starts off with a review in which she tells us about ALL the socio-political stuff:

If you like discussions on social issues, you would like this book.

She praises my writing flow as smooth and easy reading, she says Charlinder is likable if a bit odd (yeah, that sounds about right), and she gives us the full disclosure:

This is suitable for mature YA and adults but, in addition to social issues engaging some thought effort, I caution parents that there is some open sexual discussion and activity. I’d say this story is best read with an open mind that is willing to see and ponder the dilemma of cultural oppressions.

But that’s not all! She also interviews me and Charlinder:

This life and this world are all we have, so we need to make the most of the time we get on Earth and be good to the people and creatures around us.

–says Charlinder, the outspoken humanist.

Inga Silberg at Me and Reading gives some very nice feedback, such as:

Charlinder’s Walk by Alyson Miers was a book which surprised me positively. It was well-written with lots of thorough and detailed descriptions, interesting settings and it engaged me from the very beginning.

And…

I think that the strong side of the book was Charlinder himself. His thoughts and how he experienced the world, what he saw and how he acted actually created the whole book. Author did an excellent work with Charlinder’s character.

Finally…

Charlinders’ Walk by Alyson Miers is a book which you need to take time for in order to enjoy it fully. I think it was not very easy to read due to long and captivating scenery, but it was all worth it. The world which the author has created is unique, and there are surprising twists and turns which come along with the story!

Yeah!

Evangeline Han at Audacious Reader seems to have found Charlinder’s Walk perhaps a bit too audacious?

But then, the issues about society in the novel aren’t pleasant as well. Charlinder’s Walk is definitely a novel that goes all out at its approach of issues that aren’t in the comfort zone.

She likes the mystery and intrigue but doesn’t like Gentiola. She likes Lacey, though.

What I like about Charlinder’s Walk is that it doesn’t force you into thinking a certain way, it doesn’t propagate. It does, however, bring up issues and cause you to view them at different angles. Along the way, you’ll decide (or judge) your position on those issues. Charlinder’s Walk causes one to think, rather than make one view strongly prominent than the other.

[English teacher mode: by “propagate” I think she means “proselytize.”]

Her review has given me some gristle to chew on, so I’d like to make a couple of notes here. The first is that Gentiola is the closest thing the story has to a bad guy. Villain? No. Antagonist? Yes. I put some status updates on She Writes last year about how my antagonist was so viciously difficult to write that she was driving me to drink. Not that I need any encouragement to drink, but the antagonist in question? Gentiola. I also didn’t expect anyone to view the interaction between her and Charlinder as a romance.

I’m thinking about writing up some FAQs about Charlinder’s Walk, in which I’ll go a bit further into reviewers’ reactions, but it should wait until the tour is finished. I like to err on the side of thoroughness.

To finish up, here is a charming little graphic I found on Pinterest. Something about it bothered me, though…

Writers should know better than to abuse apostrophes.