As a publisher, I know that the hardest thing about being a writer is getting people to know that you've actually written something they might like to read. The second hardest thing is getting them to part with their money! But Ms Conway has managed to quite successfully do both for me, and she also managed the third difficult thing: getting me to read her book and enjoy it.
I like a little humour, and it was Mark Coker's post on a Smashwords update that alerted me to Ms Conway's existence and rather entertaining marketing strategy. While I might have written Social Media Blues, I haven't recorded it, nor made a video for it. It was just me letting off a little confused steam. But Ms Conway took the ball and ran with it by making a video for the remarkably entertaining The Indie-Author Lament, and of course posted it on YouTube. And while that by itself didn't alert me to her book, the next video (the promo for her book), coupled with Mark Coker's original comments, did, and for $0.99 I thought 'What the hell?' And I'm a glad I did. Glad, I tell you, glad, glad, glad! (Okay, so you have to be of a certain age or a great fan of the old black and whites and/or Bette Davis to get that, but again, what the hell!)
I finished Xenofreak Nation in bed this morning (on my NOOKColor, of course!) and while the literati would probably turn their noses up at it, I found it to be well-written, well thought out, well edited and formatted, and easy to read without being trite or simple. It's got plot twists coming out of everywhere and touches on quite a few issues in current society, without labouring any points, but certainly giving me another perspective and a little food for thought.
I'm not one for the science fiction of weapons, gadgets, etc, but I do love science fiction based on societal changes (think John Wyndham's The Chrysalids and Stephen King's The Stand) and Xenofreak Nation, set in the New York of 2022, delivers us a society which has advanced quite believably from where we are now. While today's trend is tattooing, tomorrow's trend is xenographs - the art of medical surgery where the human animal decorates himself with skin, fur, feathers, etc grafted from non-human animal donors. Ms Conway has taken this idea and built a quite convincing action thriller around it. And while there is the hint of romance here and there, she manages to keep the book away from the cheap route of having the hero and heroine actually get it on together. You know that one day they will, so she doesn't waste your time with it now.
I have to admit to having a wee bit of trouble following the plot from time to time, but then I can never follow a James Bond movie, so one has to take that comment bearing in mind my need to be constantly reminded of why people are doing things. But that aside, it was fast-paced, believable (from a science fiction PoV) and well worth a read.
Verdict: highly recommended, as is the video for The Indie-Author Lament!