As you know, this year has been quite a challenge. Between the pandemic, the elections, and the hurricanes, this has been a year like no other. Many among us are running out of steam and can’t wait for 2020 to be over.
Some are dreading the holidays whereas others see them as a welcome change: finally a season of joy and happiness. A few have already started to put the lights and the decorations up. Some of us are sad that their families won’t be able to get together and celebrate the way they usually do but, keeping the ones we love safe is more important than celebrating together. Perhaps next year will bring relief and hope.
In the meantime, think of the ones who have lost a friend or a family member or something precious this year. I encourage you to donate your time or funds to a charity of your choice or help a complete stranger. Even a small gesture is welcome and can lift the spirits of those in need. Your gift will warm your heart and you will bring a little bit of joy to the world around you.
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones! Stay safe!
Tamara Walsh is a wife, mother, and physician. In general, she is a perfectly ordinary woman. However, she finds herself in an extraordinary situation when she falls through a wormhole and lands on another planet, a place populated by aliens with unfamiliar biology and even stranger customs. Though she yearns to be back home, there is little chance of her being able to return without another wormhole. So until one appears, she will have no choice but to wait and do her best to acclimate to her new home. Luckily, she finds a close friend in Maashi, the alien who first found her and devoted himself to taking care of her. Somewhat less luckily, her feelings for Maashi soon grow complicated, evolving into an attraction even she cannot understand.
Overall, I Am Sheffrou is a fascinating book and an impressive debut for the author. It reminds me of the classic science fiction stories I read when I was much younger, when explanation was far less necessary than exploration…I enjoyed the book a great deal and am excited to see where the trilogy goes next (keep an eye out for book two, Betrayal).
On the whole, I enjoyed how the story was so different from what I’ve come to expect from science fiction. I said before that it’s heavier on exploration than explanation, and exploration takes up the vast majority of the book. Most of it is also devoted to Tamara learning about the Chamis’ culture, and if you enjoy thought experiments of that nature, I Am Sheffrou is not one to miss. Reviewed by Jo Niederhoff
Athena on Amazon
Different and engaging. If you’re looking for something just a little bit outside the realm of an ordinary space romance, look no further. You found it.
The concept of the story is pretty unique, and therefore refreshing; the characters are largely intriguing and definitely memorable; and the world planning, the detail and naming, are nicely in-depth.
Overall, this is a pretty solid story from a new author and I look forward to reading her future books.
Crispycreme on Amazon
Great read! This book will draw you in! Can’t wait for the next book in the series to find out what happens next!
K. Hugues on Amazon
Easy read, quick flowing. This book is in a world of its own. I couldn’t put it down because I enjoyed it so much. It was a great diversion during the pandemic of 2020. Looking forward to reading book 2.
What’s next? Such a fun and engaging book. I can’t wait to read the next two.
John Shenouda on Goodreads
Excellent book, well written, very entertaining. Cami Michaels takes the reader to her imaginary world where he surfs and enjoys the adventures of Tamara. I have never read an alien’s novel before and I am happy that my first one, I am Sheffrou, is a beautiful introduction to this niche. I encourage you to read this masterpiece and look forward to the rest of the trilogy, Congrats Cami Michaels.
Trilby Plants on Goodreads
For those who enjoy sci-fi/fantasy, this is a good read. I enjoyed this story. The author has built an interesting world and introduced me to interesting characters: aliens that resemble humans.
Tamara is a believable protagonist who falls into a wormhole and lands on another world. She is rescued by aliens. Although she hopes to find her way home, she must make the best of her current situation. Falling for an alien is a well used theme, but the author handles it well and in a believable way. Maashi is handsome and adept at the art of seduction, and Tamara is seduced.
Just when I thought things were going to be okay, along comes a sinister enemy that threatens all of the alien society.
As I am also a debut author, Ms Gilian’s thoughts are also mine. I will appreciate it greatly if all who read my novel “I Am Sheffrou”, book 1 of The Sheffrou Trilogy, pen name Cami Michaels, now available on Amazon will take a few minutes to write a review.
Most writers will agree that when it comes to achieving the goal of having a novel published, the dream and reality do not quite correlate.
From the outside, it looks amazing – and of course, in many ways it is – but what looks like a joyous time of champagne quaffing, great-review sharing and being #so excited on social media is only part of the picture.
What authors don’t usually report is the nail-biting days after publication as you wait to see whether your book will sink or swim. We don’t necessarily mention the fear that each publication contract might be our last. We don’t mention being plagued with imposter syndrome when we change our Twitter bio to mention that we’re a ‘published author.’
Launching a book into the world is a bit like sending a small child out on her first day of school. You know you’ve prepared her; you believe she can do it. But at the same time, you’re petrified. Is she really ready? Are you?
One of the most terrifying parts is knowing that you’re going to be judged. Judged by critics, judged by friends and family; judged by readers who stumble across your work for the first time.
Don’t get me wrong, writers need reviews. Good, mediocre or downright ugly, they draw attention to our work and give us a much-needed boost or – if they’re ugly – an incentive to write an even better, more sparkly novel next time. Plus, they’re evidence that people are picking up and reading our work – the opposite is much more frightening.
But after the thrill of an agent actually saying yes, of signing a publishing contract and working with a team who really believe in your book (a process that takes a year or more for many of us) the first mediocre review can feel like a cold cup of water being thrown over you as you recline in your deckchair on a hot day (seriously, I have five kids – I know what I’m talking about).
Look, I get it. I know people’s tastes vary. Thinking back over my years of reading, I know I’ve read books that didn’t quite work for me, and can think of very few that I’d actually award a coveted 5 stars. I also know that while some amazing people review each book they’ve read (something I’m going to try to do going forward), others are only moved to rate your work if they’ve absolutely loved it… or the opposite.
Humans are hard-wired to focus on the negative – leftover programming from prehistory, when in order to survive we needed to remember that although we’d left the cave with the intention of bringing home a tasty deer for dinner, we mustn’t forget about the pack of wolves which could simultaneously be hunting us.
Alert to what it perceives as ‘danger’ our brain dismisses pages of four- and five-star ratings and hones in on the two star, or the dreaded DNF (did not finish).
From the outside, I thought I was ready to receive my first thumbs down – I’d read terrible reviews of books by writers so successful they’ve become household names. I’d gasped at the one-star critiques of novels I’ve loved. But I’d also seen how these were offset by reviews from readers who’d really enjoyed the work and given it a higher rating, higher praise. I knew that receiving the odd negative comment was par for the course.
But nothing can really prepare you for the moment when your little baby comes back with their first bad report card. It’s heart-sinking. And for many authors, or at least those like me whose egos are pathetically fragile, it can make you momentarily question whether your writing is actually any good. Whether your book should ever have been written; whether all the people along the journey who had to approve of your novel in order for you to get this far actually knew what they were talking about.
I find chocolate helps. Chocolate and the bit of perspective that comes from chatting with other writers. As part of a debut novelist group on Facebook I know that the two- or one-star zinger is a rite of passage. And I’ve learned to let go of the dream that everyone in the entire world is going to love my book as much as some readers do.
I’m relieved to report that – so far at least – the four and fivers completely outweigh the more negative reports of my little novel. But I’m still grateful for the people who take the time to report back on the bits they didn’t love. (Eventually, that is, after consuming half my body-weight in candy).
Being rejected is part of writing. It keeps us on our toes. It reminds us that whilst we’re lucky enough to have broken into the world of print, we still have so much to learn.
And while I’d never choose to receive a mediocre rating, those moments of horror make the times when you receive a great write-up in a magazine, or a five-star rating from a brand new reader all the more exciting and precious.