T.L. Mumley

El Cerrito

VP of Marketing turned Author

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A bit War Wary...

Well written, albeit quite wordy. You might want to tighten up the long paragraphs throughout. Your prose can be quite poetic and flows beautifully otherwise. I was really saddened at the start, with Tolmido losing both parents (oops, spoiler?) It sucked me in, as I was invested in his future and well-being, but knowing it would be rough.
Lydia's birthing experience was written quite well, very realistic for the time. I love your descriptive writing and you lay out the scenery well.

I might be opinionated, yet I find war stories that use preachy cliches of "fighting for freedom" a bit too much. Maybe it's all metaphorical or purposefully laid out as such as I think I hear subtle and not so nuanced inuendos about the brutality of war, rather than glorifying it with "honor and service" to the gods.

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A Telling Tale...

Wow! At times, I wanted to stop reading as the details were almost too real. Yet, the author does a great job with telling it like it is, I like how, rather than glorify war, the story unfolds to show the reader how horrific battlefields and such "honor" of "obeying" such military dictatorship is. rather than the usual trite, elementary and cliched words of "bravery" we see a mockery of the so-called "sacrifice" soldiers make to nothing but an elitist ruling profiteering from the global military industrial complex.

I'd like to see a little less demonizing of the Japanese though, as all empires (including the American Empire today) are equally as brutal as the next. I felt, as the reader, equally as horrified for those being executed, the soldiers and Rebecca's repeated rapes, one atrocity as horrifying as the other as in the end, they are all victims of military madness. Great ending!

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I Smell a Rat saying "Show me the Money!

The blurb confused me until I read on and then the story pulled me in. Excellent metaphorical messages all through of who the real "snakes" can be. Loved the scene with Ted Pickwick the dick running for Mayor and the "good people" voting profits over the people with his plan to poison parks and the swamp with pesticides, and the political spin always used of "moral values" or "American values". You do an excellent job with POV shifts, always using a horizontal divider to show when we are in the mind of a new character and your character names are funny. Also really good dialogue between Tim Jr.and his sister Elizabeth. Tim is my favorite character. In fact, I don't much like many other characters as they are mean spirited or downright immoral, but I think you meant for the reader to feel this way. I love how well you captured young women's obsession with body image over being beautiful on the inside (Tilly the murderous skinny twit). You overall have the reader waiting, wondering, wanting to read on to find out first of all if little Tim ends up with a radioactive phyton for a pet, secondly how the story plays out with the disappearance of Tilly.
Some areas you could improve: Your paragraphs are WAY too long in many places throughout. Break them up a bit, as you don't want to lose the reader. You also started two paragraphs in a row with "Timothy was busy talking to" and then "Tilly was busy talking to.". Change this up so it's not redundant. Overall, this is a fascinating story. I've never before been able to feel as if I could find myself inside the mind of a python, you do this very well. The reader goes from fretting that big snake to loving him for his friendship with Tim and what he does for him. And excellent animal rights message in so many ways. . .

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A Realistic Teen Scene, right down to the Screenager

As the mother of a teen myself going into High School, I could see the interactions of these kids play out in real life, including the typical girl jealousy about boys, the locker scenes, missing class, the cell phones. And the plot message how one decision can change everything jives with my own story on Inkitt (Masks of Morality) so I felt connected. There is even a masks gala that jives with my story, so really on a similar wavelength. I found the subtle bullying attitude toward the character Ryan heartbreaking and found myself as the reader wishing Ryan would flat out dump the setup date with Hannah, teach the girls a lesson about seeing the beauty of each person. It's quite sad Ryan would want to plan something "special" for a girl that clearly does not deserve him.or want him.

In chapter three, the paragraph about Hannah loving art class is far too long, I'd break it up a bit. Another thing I saw that could be improved is in the line "The final week of the summer in always...." remove the word "in".

finally, how can Josie MacArthur look for her birth parents that died in a plane crash? Does she not know they died in a plane crash?

Overall, the story was really enjoyable and well written. It flows very nicely and the descriptions of the New England autumn colors are delicious.

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A Modern Romeo & Juliet

I was pulled in from the start to this story and especially felt for Bijay all the way through. Ash, on the other hand, comes off as a bit shallow and self-centered, too wallowing in self-pity of being "only a middle-class girl."

The author sets up the world both Ash and Bijay live in quite well, and we see into each character's lens so clearly BRAVO to AryaTara! I especially liked hearing from Bijay's point of view and was utterly heartbroken how he would do anything for his disabled mom and made so many personal sacrifices to his parents, only to be forced into a marriage he never wanted. Oh, Romeo, Romeo, where art thou?

A well-thought-out story depicting how the triangle of the monied class offspring is not always a pretty picture. How certain "family traditions" can be toxic to love and humanity as a whole.

If I'm not mistaken, it's also a subtle hint the world does not need to "empower women" any more than men. We need to empower humanity as a whole. Bijay's world was really oppressed more than Ash's in many ways, as was Ash's father's that went off into an army no man belongs in more than any woman. would he have been killed if not on the way to some army camp? I wonder how many readers caught that? among the worst "family traditions" is being subjugated into violence for profit.

I don't want any more spoilers but want to say that Ash's mom drove me nuts with her overprotective shield, treating her grown out-of-college daughter like a teenager with a curfew. The feeble female and toxic masculinity are played out in a more than nuanced way, but there nonetheless. Not sure if this was intended or just my interpretation seeing how the patriarchial world hurts foremost boys, not girls.

Some paragraphs are a bit dense and could be tightened, and some parts went too fast. (for example, you brought us from the party Ash's mom threw for her new friends to a concession stand within a sentence. I felt like there was lost opportunity for the reader to see into Ash's world more, at her modest home with her Mom)

Overall, a heartbreaking, profound story that moves the reader to tears, joy, and back again.

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Great Plot that could be 3 Novels!

A good, LONG read that really could have been fashioned into a few novels, like a trilogy. I am afraid you could lose the reader in words. It is a very suspenseful and intriguing storyline, I especially think the mystery surrounding the bracelets is very well done. Brilliant. I want to see the characters better----how they look, dress, act. More overall character development. And some really important scenes are rushed, such as the death of Jacko's wife. You really want to get the reader to FEEL here, not speed through it to next scene. And watch the use of comma's., you use too many and it slows the pace down or makes it confusing.

You do have a storyline worthy of making it a movie if you just develop the characters more so they don't sound too much the same.

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Revenge IS the Enemy

I read this story in one day, could not stop reading. The author has a similar message as my MASKS OF MORALTIY, in which I speak of a culture of irrelevant revenge and choosing love over hate in every choice---including walking away from wars of hatred. EXCELLENT metaphorical depiction all the way through of how geopolitics itself and aversion to diversity is simply a manipulation of broad symbols: flags, royal crowns, "loyalty" to tyrannical rulers with brainwashed, mindless soldiers carrying out "orders" of arrogant kings or in modern times---Presidents and Prime Ministers, all purposely turning people across boundaries or color against each other for a sick power and control. even the anti-intellectualism movement is reflected here, how truth is hidden from populace, lies written into history books and media to keep masses ignorant of just who the "enemies" are. I did not like how Dominic goes to the dark side of revenge, killing children and an entire kingdom----yet do feel his pain knowing what happened to his people.

Add a horizontal line or some divider in chapter six between the scene where Dominic asks "what war?" and him landing in sticky ground. It confused me there, with sudden scene change.

Overall, an amazing reflection on how war merely breeds hate, how revenge eats away at ones soul, and leaves the reader questioning whether violence could really ever bring world peace.

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Cyber Spooked!

Very intriguing from the start, and a realistic portrayal of a young woman playing the field, innocently just trying to find where her heart is and hitting the online dating scene despite having a boyfriend. I felt really bad for her boyfriend, Ken, the author does a great job with depicting how today's over the top busy schedules, the digital age on steroids and living half in a virtual reality stops healthy communication in relationships. who was to know Ken loved her so much?

I was confused how Sammy Jo suddenly makes an appearance and what her role was in all this, had to re-read that part. And you seem to switch point-of-view a bit too swiftly throughout. For example, in chapter one, you went from Erik to Amy within a paragraph or two, making the reader think twice whose thoughts we are in.

I love the scenic backgrounds, flowers, trees, birds, buildings. but would like actually a few more details about the appetizers Erik and Amy had before their dinner (oysters? calamari?)

When Amy goes to the bathroom and asks Erik if she can bring him back something, it makes the reader think something from the bathroom, which I don't think is what you intended. Maybe just add "while I walk through the kitchen--would you like something?"

Also when they are at Erik's beach house, maybe add something about each others swimming attire (and body physique they each enjoy). Did she wear a bikini? Tankini? Was he fit with six-pack abs?

Overall very good read, I like the short chapters. Be careful of separating POV shifts, use either asterisks or extra line spacing to let reader know we are now switching to the mind of XXXX

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The intrigue was a great build up

At first, it seemed a bit slow paced and many paragraphs a bit dense. Yet as I read further, I was pulled into the magic, mystery and could not stop reading. You do an excellent job with getting inside the heads of main characters Prince Nicky and Elizabeth. NO problem at all with any point of view shifts, which in and of itself shows great writing talent.

I did not know who to feel worse for, Prince Nicky or Lady Elizabeth, but lean more reader compassion towards the Prince being so young and really robbed of his youth. I LOVE, the mother-son bond of his spirited mother and the magic entwining, such creative flair.

I don't know if this was intentional, and hope not to be a spoiler---but I saw metaphors like a Hunger Games backdrop: the poor out hunting with bow and arrow, youth robbed of their childhood through forced oppression with either violence or marriage, the wagon and waving to the "cheering" crowd while they are all dressed up in glitter and "glory", the suppressive crown rule.

I like it, and really appreciate the time you took to give me feedback on my novel, Masks of Morality. My novel is already in print and doing well on Amazon, yet I can still make changes and you provided GREAT advice. Thank you for that, and for sharing this amazing story!

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Creative, magical mystery!

I read this story really quickly as it drew me in from the start. I felt like I was with these little girls going through a magical labyrinthine puzzle to solve their grandma's mysterious death. I LOVE the creativity of the wine cellar, paintings (won't say too much here as to not spoil plot), and the deep curiosity of the older girl.

I'd like to see more emotion around the alleged murder itself. Some deep nostalgia mixed in with the adventures and tension.

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