Michelle Scott has been a fiction junkie all of her life, but she didn’t start writing until junior high. Over the next decade, she wrote many (really awful) poems, short stories, and limericks.
A native Michigander, she attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, earning her BA in psychology and meeting the guy of her dreams. After marrying said guy and spending two years doing nothing of great importance, she went on to earn an MFA at Wayne State University in Detroit. Fortunately, her writing improved considerably, and since that time she has published nearly a dozen short stories in a variety of magazines. The Dragons of Hazlett is her first novel.
Currently, she teaches English at a community college in southeastern Michigan and lives with her husband and three terrific children, all of whom are addicted to fiction as much as she.
Where to find Michelle Scott online
Where to buy in print
Straight by the Rules
by Michelle Scott
Price: $2.99 USD. 66220 words.
Published on October 4, 2012. Fiction.
Although temptress Lilith Straight didn’t forge her contract with the Devil, she’s obligated to obey it. But upon hearing the dastardly details of her latest assignment, Lilith vows to wriggle out from under the Devil’s thumb one way or another.
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Smashwords book reviews by Michelle Scott
- Vibrational Passage
on Aug. 28, 2011
For just a minute, I'll set aside the confusing plot, poor grammar and punctuation, and clunky writing style and merely comment on what really bothered me about this novel: the exploitation of the 9/11 tragedy.
Although the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers happened almost ten years ago, I think it is far too soon to be using the event as a plot point for a conspiracy theory novel. Especially a conspiracy theory which involves such diverse elements as Nazi experimentation on human beings during the Holocaust, a strange pseudo-religious element linking the 9/11 event to the Christian holiday, Pentecost, and an even odder thread involving autistic children.
All I can hope for is that the authors didn't intentionally mean to be disrespectful to those people affected by 9/11, survivors of the Holocaust, or parents of autistic children.
- Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch
on Sep. 23, 2011
When sixteen-year-old Astanyx and his friends return home from a hunting expedition, they horrified to discover their entire village in ruin. Astanyx's dying father gives them a clue as to what befell their families and friends and begs the boys to take a message to the king. Now, it is up to Astanyx to convince the king of the danger which is about to unleash a terrible power upon the land.
The strongest thing about Legacies of Talimura is its plotting. The book moves swiftly, taking the reader from one exciting episode to the next. There is some 'info-dumping' from time to time; however, the pace is not bogged down by the back story.
For the most part, the book is well-written; however, there are some things keeping it from being a truly great novel. One is the dialogue. There are many places that suffer from the "Deerslayer Syndrome" - a condition in which characters speak slang in one paragraph and then switch to high-flown speech in another.
Another problem is way the sixteen-year-old, peasant Astanyx is treated by his adult companions. Throughout the book, Astanyx's ideas are given equal consideration to those of the high-ranking officers in the army. He's also left alone with the king's daughter a number of times, sent on an extremely important mission that should have been undertaken by a seasoned soldier, and allowed into a meeting among heads of state. I would have liked to read an explanation of why this common-born teenager was given so much respect.
Finally, there were some problems with naming. Astanyx's god, for example, was named 'Shiva'. However, because this god was not the famous Hindu deity, it was jarring to see her name used. The witch's name, Debonair, was also a strange choice since the witch in the book was anything but suave and carefree.
I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I think that with a little more experience, the author's work will improve.
on Oct. 29, 2011
The book, Lastborn, chronicles the lives of two very different people: Black Wolf (aka Donovan Banning) who strongly believes in both justice and non-violent protest, and Nara-Ya (aka Ayuma), a young woman whose murderous temper provokes her into acts of cold-blooded aggression. In a very complex series of events, these two meet and band together to save their land from an evil witch and a despotic king.
The writing in Lastborn is some of the best I've seen in an indie novel. Not only is the language very smooth, but the descriptions are wonderful and detailed. Not detailed as in endlessly long, but detailed as in precise. Forde excels at painting pictures in the reader's mind. I also appreciated the characters of Black Wolf and Nara-Ya. They are complex individuals who are each trying in their own ways to right injustices. I loved how they grew as individuals and as a pair.
Unfortunately, there were a quite a few things that I didn't like as well. The biggest issue I had was with the book itself. I couldn't tell what it was. When it began, it seemed like a story of indigenous people fighting against colonists. Then a unicorn showed up. Then the story shifted yet again to an urban setting in which Donovan was struggling to unionize workers from the iron works, giving things a quasi-steampunk feel. Finally, midway through the novel, the native peoples theme came back into play. These diverse sub-genres did not make for a good mix. A steampunk unicorn might be a unique story element, but that doesn't mean it's a good one.
The book also contained so many different peoples, countries, villains, and secondary characters that it was very difficult to keep everyone straight. Admittedly, this was written as an epic novel; however,there was only one major plot. Without significant subplots, all those characters were superfluous. The pacing was also very slow. Months would pass with the characters doing nothing but waiting.
Lastborn has potential. I'd love to see the author edit it by tightening up the plot, losing a number of minor characters, and focusing on one sub-genre. Although I didn't care for this book, I do think that the author's talent shows.
- Under Witch Moon
on Nov. 22, 2011
Maria Schneider's urban fantasy novel, Under Witch Moon, is one of those rare, wonderful books that transports the reader into an entirely different reality.
Adriel knows that being a witch is hard. It's not only the difficulty in finding just the right spell for just the right job, it's also the troubling clientele. The humans demand perfection, the weres are hunting for a good time, and don't even get her started on the vamps. Add a smoking-hot man, a murder mystery, and a truly evil witch into the mixture, and it's no wonder why being a witch is nothing but trouble.
One of the biggest reasons I enjoyed this story so much is that the author makes magic appear so realistic. After reading the book, I swear that I could work magic providing I had the right herbs and enough silver. The supernatural beings are also very real, especially the weres. Their human sides take on some of their animal characteristics, and their animals sides are, well, very animal. After dealing with idealized versions of these creatures in other stories, it was a relief to read something so grounded.
I also loved the southwest setting. Having visited Sante Fe, NM, myself a few years ago, I could really relate to the book. But even if I had never been to the American southwest, the author describes the places so wonderfully that the reader would feel as if she's been there before. The mix of Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo-American characters was also a nice reprieve from the typical vanilla cast in so many urban fantasy novels.
The book centers on a mystery, and it was that mystery that kept me turning the pages. There aren't any detailed subplots, but there are enough distinct threads running through the story to give it depth and make it interesting.
One thing that I wanted to read more of, however, was the interplay between characters. I love reading about emotional entanglements, and while there was some of this, I wanted more. Adriel, a rather paranoid young lady, has maternal feelings towards a stray teen named Lynx, and mixed feelings for her yuppie sister. I found these relationships very interesting and wanted to read more about them. Also, at times, the descriptions of the magic become too detailed so that the world-building overshadowed what I would consider the more interesting parts of the story.
Overall, Under Witch Moon, is a fun urban fantasy populated with interesting characters.