Emily is Away Review

Emily is Away, is a retro (set in early 2000s) instant messaging style game. It takes me back to my high school days, using MSN messenger to awkwardly converse with people you might not otherwise have the guts to talk to in person. The era of this experience perfectly aligned with my experience of that time #nostalgia.

The game is basically an interactive narrative, giving you the illusion of choice in a lot of cases, by presenting you with 3 options of response during an online chat with your best friend, Emily. You chat on and off over 5 years and consequently have life changing events to discuss, including (spoiler alert!) your relationship that may or may not turn into something more than just friends. That was actually the let down for me – although I liked the game and the narrative was well paced and easy to engage with, the fact that your character IS male (whether you are or not) kind of sucks. It would have been great if there were 2 branches that followed the same story arc, but were played out as a male or female character. It would have been so easy as you are simply typing in an online chat window and have no sense of your physical person in the game. I had to play along as a broody teenage guy pining after Emily which wasn’t something I could relate to. If it had been in reverse, I definitely would have had a deeper connection with this simple, yet well executed game.




Eternally Ruthless

Eternally Ruthless is a supernatural sensation! The novel contains some elements of horror and romance but mostly consists of fast-paced action and a number of twists and turns that leave the reader wondering where the heroine’s allegiance really lies.
The story follows Ruth Wroth, a career-driven hirer and firer, who—after her own premature death—finds herself working for GlobalCore — a global corporation that is quite literally, Hell on Earth. Her new eternal occupation entails terminating Lucifer’s human employees, effectively killing them and reaping their souls in preparation for the coming Rapture. 
Where Eternally Ruthless is unique is in its corporate portrayal of both Heaven and Hell and their divine leaders. Although Ruth is tasked with brutally murdering heinous criminals, often in terrifying situations, the book’s ever-present dark humour presents her job as similar to that of any other office worker. Compulsory ergonomic assessments and water-fountain gossip are scattered amongst brutal yet satisfying murders and nail-biting escapes.
Ruth is strong and independent, and she does not suffer fools; she is consequently not particularly lucky in love. Ruth’s abrasive nature adds complexity to her character and depth to her transition from a ruthless career woman into someone who appreciates that there is much more to life (and death) than work. She finds love, friendship and a new outlet for her extreme work ethic—plotting against the Devil himself.  

A Poem – The Career Path

This is a simple poem about “climbing the corporate ladder.” I am addressing this ‘theme’ in the Ruthless sequel at the moment. I can’t say that I’ve reached the top myself but I have seen the results of others getting there and finding it is a dark place. I definitely feel like I’m somewhere on the stairs right now. I’m considering my next steps carefully.

We’re set upon a winding path the minute we are grown.

We’re led to believe it’s ours to choose and travel on our own.

In actual fact most routes we follow were paved long ago,

by trending fads, society, our family and so –

They guide us into rivalry and lead us to a contest.

We learn that the journey is really about proving we’re the best.

The pathway ends where stairs begin, the goal to take us higher.

If we continue, we’ll reach the top, but our legs will surely tire.

As we climb, the air grows thick, making it hard to see.

We ignore our concerns and stay the path while we struggle just to breathe.

A simple step is harder now, almost an impossible feat.

We stagger on but the dizzying height has really got us beat.

At the top we can move no more but we’ve succeeded where others have failed.

We are the best- superior, blind advancement has prevailed.

Be mindful when you choose your path that each step is your own.

Perhaps when pushed you’d rather take the path that is overgrown.

Say my name, say my name

Krogdahl. It is my married name and one I haven’t had for very long. Everywhere I go I have to spell it- TWICE, but I love it anyway because it connects me to my husband and my new family.

I giggle during meetings and introductions when I am almost always just introduced as- “Esther” because no one wants to tackle the second half. It’s actually quite easy to pronounce- you should just say it like it’s spelt- Krog (no help needed here surely) – Dahl (like the tasty Indian lentil paste). It is of Danish origin I believe and I’ve heard it means ‘deep valley’. In Denmark I’m sure there is some deep throat gargling that goes into the pronunciation but that’s not required here. The Australian pronunciation varies, but most often comes out sounding like Krog-Dale- as in “Dale dug another hole”

I have chosen to use this name on my book (and future books) because it is who I am. I hope in a weird way it is catchy- because it’s not 🙂

If anyone out there has some more interesting history on the name- I’d love to hear it.

Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

The publishing game has changed and that is a fact. Gone are the days when an author needed to store a pile of books in their back room and hope desperately that they could sell them. Now, its all about Print On Demand (POD). Someone buys a book -> Book is printed. Perfect!

So what does this mean practically for authors? Well it means we have choices and it means we need to do some research on those choices to make sure we make the right one.

Originally, because I got such great feedback from my editors on Ruthless, I thought I would try and have it published through a proper publishing house. So I started researching some big publishers that preferred my genre and then made a list of those I would like to approach. A while ago, you couldn’t get a publisher to read your manuscript without a reputation or an agent. Now, some publishers seem to be opening their doors a crack and looking for new authors (perhaps this is a symptom of the game change). Two examples I can think of are Pan Macmillan’s Manuscript Mondays and Harper Collin’s Wednesday post. You can go to these web sites at certain times of the month and submit your manuscript- which is pretty cool.

Anyway, after speaking with some REAL authors I found myself being asked the same question- Why would you publish through a publishing house?

Well, I didn’t really have a good answer. Publishers generally take a fairly decent cut of your book sales, if you are a new author they spend ZERO $$ on marketing you and they can take years to actually publish your book. On the flip side, they can provide excellent editing services, cover design and help you with the logistics of producing a finish product and getting it into stores.

I starting reading about self publishing and immediately I changed my mind. Its just so easy (which can be a negative since any clown can produce a book- cluttering the market). You can sell your book for what ever amount you think is fair and you can publish it when you darn well like. Amazon does POD and takes a relatively small cut of your sales. They also “market” it (through their Amazon web site) and distribute it for you! You are in total control. You can pay a bit extra to get it more widely distributed and target book stores. Amazon also provides templates for setting up your book interior and the cover. If you want, you can do it all yourself or you can take advantage of their services to help you.

I did it all myself with the help of a terrific graphic designer friend who did the cover. The hardest part is marketing yourself. To stand out amongst the army of Amazon authors, you need to be proactive in getting your name and your book out there. That is what I am planning right now- a marketing campaign to run for a month or two before I release the book on Amazon. I recently went to a Social Media sales seminar run by Frank Furness. It was excellent and I will soon be posting on that topic.