Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pulse of Heroes Blog Tour

Pulse of Heroes by A. Jacob Sweeny 
Publisher: Thalamus Press
Published: October 31, 2010 
Pages: 509

Michelle used to feel like she was behind in everything, especially school and relationships. Her great aunt from the old country says she is like a bland meal, "no salt or pepper". But in junior year, everything changes. Her father takes a position on the Town Council, a popular boy in school becomes interested in her, and most importantly, the Hekademos Learning Center, a private school for 'troubled' students, moves into her quiet neighborhood amidst the protests of the entire town.

After an embarrassing fall over the school wall, Michelle meets Elliot and her ordinary ‘bland’ life changes its course forever.

Elliot is no ordinary human. In fact, no one at the Hekademos Learning Center is. Beautiful and fierce, they have survived throughout the millennia by weaving in and out of human events. Through them, Michelle learns that history and myths from around the world are dotted with references to their kind. Michelle falls madly in love with the ever-striking and mysterious Elliot and, as much as he tries to fight it, he develops strong feelings for her as well. Although Elliot carries numerous painful memories from his many pasts, he disregards his own better judgment and the advice of his friends, and finds himself falling for Michelle‘s offbeat personality. Their feelings grow in intensity, but when History catches up with them, the difference between their life paths threatens to destroy any future that they might have had together.

Michelle learns that there are infinite shades of gray between black and white, and has to deal with the bundle of contradictory emotions called love. She has to trust her intuition in order to face the danger and uncertainty of being drawn into Elliot’s wondrous world. Ultimately, it is up to Michelle to make the split-second, life-altering decision that will either tear them apart forever, or give them another chance.

The Pulse Myth Series

On reviews:

People often ask me if bad reviews still hurt, and I would be a liar if I said that they don’t. However, there is a big “but” to this answer. They hurt the ego, BUT only for a moment. It saddens me that I was not able to entertain the reader, that’s pretty much it, as the ratings on my novels are extremely high. Now that I have had my books published for over a year, I realize that reviews can be misleading in many ways and that the only unbiased review will be the one that references things like grammar and format issues. In terms of plot, characters and nuance, every reader brings their own “baggage” into the book they read. I don’t mean baggage as a negative term; I mean baggage as a general word that includes upbringing, education, personal experiences, cultural influences and just plain preferences. I will give you a couple of examples:

I have had one reviewer complain that the main character, Michelle Andrews, didn’t make sense to them. They explained that they couldn’t understand how Michelle could be this “good girl” and still do all these “bad” things. Let me first clarify that I never wrote that Michelle was a good girl or not, since being “good” is very subjective. However, this particular reader had somehow gathered that I was trying to portray Michelle with a goody-two-shoe image. Perhaps it was the fact that she is a late bloomer and hasn’t dated much; again, nothing good or bad about that. Still, this reader maintained that the things she did showed that she was bad. The examples they gave were once again very subjective: Michelle climbs over a wall to spy on what’s happening at the newly built Hekademos Learning Center, she cuts a class when she feels so embarrassed and distressed over her failing grade, and she lies to her parents about where she’s going several times - especially when she starts dating an immortal who’s secret she has to protect.

But how are these behaviors bad? Well, the reviewer is from a country where girls are not allowed to show any form of energetic personality. To be a girl is to be a wallflower. For her the typical behavior of an American teenage girl is viewed as illicit. Funny that another reviewer complained the exact opposite, that no teenage girl like Michelle could actually exist. To them she was much too innocent. Yet the many reviewers who identify with Michelle 100% tell an altogether different story. That reviewer may have been hanging out with a different crowd around that same age; maybe that reviewer was sexually active at age 11? And thus believing that everyone else is the same as they are. So they give me a low rating because they cannot fathom that girls like Michelle exist, and yet I based Michelle on real girls that I know personally.

Another general class of low ratings I get is the lack of comprehension by some readers. They claim that the book confused them and that they couldn’t follow it, and yet the majority of my reviewers have no problem understanding the concepts and following the plot. What does that mean to me? It can mean one of two things: either the reader was too distracted to devote their attention to the novel, or they simply lack the capacity to comprehend a longer and more complex story, as my novels are just that: long and complex.

I recently got a low rating on my novella A Sword For His Women, in which the reviewer complained that they couldn’t follow the story and that perhaps this was because it doesn’t stand up well on it’s own and must therefore be read along with the rest of my novels. Interestingly enough, I weigh this review against a 5-star review where the reader had never read any of my other novels, yet loved the novella so much and was so intrigued by it that they proceeded to put the rest of my novels on their TBR list!

In conclusion, I think that if the majority of my reviews were complaints then I would have to take a long hard look at my writing ability. Alas, they are not, so I just keep going with what I know and what I love to write about. When I began this journey I was well aware that I will eventually get a review saying that the paper my novel was printed on wasn’t worth wiping their a_ _ with. Well, I did receive something close to that, but to each his own. I have a legion of awesome fans that love and appreciate my work, and they tell me so in no uncertain terms. That drives me to want to improve my skills and my storytelling just that much more. 

About the author:
A. Jacob Sweeny holds a degree in History with an emphasis on Ancient Near East. Her immersion in world myths and her archaeological fieldwork provided the initial spark that led to the development of The Pulse Myth series which is a trilogy that includes Pulse Of Heroes, Of Blood And Pulse, and soon to come Pulse Genesis. Adding to this collection is a new series of novellas and shorts called- Pulse Historia. A Sword for- His Women available in kindle version is the first short. Besides writing, A. Jacob Sweeny loves to cook and Italian and Indian foods are some of her favorite cuisines. She has always been immersed in the literary world and will read anything from Shakespearian plays, philosophy and spiritual books, to comedy and modern thought. She is a strong advocate for the protection of women and children worldwide. And is active in animal rights groups. She suffers bouts of writer’s insomnia, and is delighted to share those hours with her pug and two cats.

Find A. Jacob Sweeny around the wed: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter


  1. Thank you so much for letting me spew out my strange and often incoherent thoughts- AJ Sweeny

    1. Anytime! :) It was great to have you on the blog. :)


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