Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April Contest Info


Hey readers! So I had this idea...everyone loves contest, including me, so why not begin them on my blog? Starting April 1- May 1 I will be running a contest. I am sure you want to know what the prize is and what are the rules. Well here they are:






Rules:
1) You must be a "Follower" on my blog.
2) You must leave a comment on the contest.
3) You must include your name (Last name, address and phone # isn't needed yet.), and your email address.
4) On May 1 I will put all the names into a bowl, pull one out. There is no purchase necessary. This is an absolute 100% free contest...for YOU!


Whoever's name I pull will be the happy winner of a brand new, hardback issue of Stephen King's "Salem's Lot." This is also an illustrated edition with previously unpublished material and a new introduction by the author himself! How sweet is that?!

Don't forget to continue following for more reviews, updates and four more upcoming contests!!!!!!

Forget Me Not Reader's Guide

Hey readers! Well in the review for "Forget Me Not" by Vicki Hinze I mentioned I don't, and I mean, ever! ...Pay any attention to Reader's Guides. It has nothing to do with the author. I just feel once the story is over, it's over. However I felt this would be a cool opportunity for a blog post. So here are my answers to the questions:

1) "Even when we forgot who we are, at core level we remember whose we are." That belief prompted author Vicki Hinze to write "Forget Me Not." What core-level memory do you feel you could never forget? Why? Do you feel bad memories are more easily recalled than good ones?

I think the most important memory I have is when my parents CHOSE to adopt me. They didn't have to. They could have picked anyone boy or girl, or none at all. Yet, they chose me. It's a feeling and a memory that will not be forgotten. I actually think about it more and more everyday. Gratitude for parents who don't use a blood lineage as a label of family. They proved that even more so when they adopted my two sisters (before me) and also my sister Maranda & my brother Travis (both biological siblings). I don't feel that bad memories are more easily recalled than good. I do believe that we, as humans, tend to focus more on the bad than the good. We are the most helpless of all species in that regard.

2) Do you believe forgiveness means forgotten? The Bible states that repentance washes away our sins and that God no longer remembers them. Are human beings capable of that kind of forgiveness without God's help? Have you struggled with forgiving but not being able to forget? Are there times when not forgetting is constructive?

I definitely do not believe forgiveness means forgotten, especially when I apply it to my own life. With all the miserable things I have suffered to as a child, teen, and even now as an adult- I find it hard to forgive, even harder to forget. I have done my best to forgive those who have done me wrong (there's a list a mile long alright), but in turn I have wronged others I am able to admit. With that being said I should be able to forgive those wrongdoer's just as I wished who I wronged could forgive me. I am no saint by all means. I think a strong individual with great morals and self-respect (such as my Mom & Dad) are capable of forgiving, but when it comes to God's help? That can only be answered by the people at question. I can't say if a stranger is capable of it as much as you can. We don't know their belief's, or what side of the street they come from. That's a double edged sword of a question. Yes, like I said above I constantly am struggling with that. I am still fighting with forgiving my birth mother for what she made my siblings and I suffer as children. Do I know I should forgive her, yes. If not for her sake for my own. There's extinuating circumstances and no one can understand how I am feeling about it, not even my siblings. It's a different situation for all four of us, we all have different perspectives on it. Enough said. I don't think not forgetting is key. I think finding a way to cope with the forgiving in an appropriate manner is what is constructive.

3) Would it be a blessing to be able to forget parts of your past? Or do you feel it takes all of those parts- good and bad- to be the person you have become? Why? If you could wipe your memory clean and start over, how would you construct life differently?

Wow, this is a very emotional and personal question for me. I don't like to hide anything anymore, the opposite of my adolescent years. Of course it would be a blessing to forget my past, largely my years from birth til 15. The reality of the matter tho is this is a cowards way out. Sure, I suffered quite miserably in my past, at times I still lie in my bed crying wondering "if only things were different." They're not, and there's a good chance they never will be. I feel that both good and bad parts have molded me into the person I am now. Again, most of the person I am now is due to my parents raising me to be a good person, how could I ignore the past; because if I did I would never have had the blessing of having such amazing and wonderful parents and belong to a family that is so strong even in the faulty times we encounter. So to make a short answer of it, no I wouldn't wipe my memory even if I had the opportunity. I am not a coward, I stand for what I believe in even if no one else does. My parents taught me that!

4) Do specific names evoke a specific emotion in you? If you could chose your name, what would it be? Why would you chose it?

Names are irrelevant to me. A name is a name is a name. I do think my name is rather generic. I have never been one to want to be like others or blend in. I have always been a rebel. I would change it to something off the wall. As I read "Forget Me Not," I thought Benjamin's last name, Brandt would be an awesome name. I had the opportunity to change my entire name at my adoption trial, I thought it over, but after 14 years of answering to Steven....it just seemed that if I had changed it I would never answer anyone because I would always be thinking my name is Steven.

5) The heroine in "Forget Me Not" is a woman of serene faith. It gives her certainty and calm in horrific circumstances. What has brought you calm and certainty in troubled times.

If only I had Kelly's faith I think my life would be in a drastic turn for the better. I admire the character's stronghold on her faith. Whenever something bad happened she immediately prayed. In my case, I freak out and that's all that comes of it. I pray mostly every night. I am spiritual. I don't believe in organized religion due to the majority of hypocrisy I see in religions. I have been following in the Native American ways over the past year. I have never been drawn to a spirituality as I have with the "Red Road." However, even in it I find hypocrisy. I am not bashing religions, or people for that matter. I am just stating humanity is flawed. If we could all just live healthy, happy lives things would be so much better in this evil world. As for my calm and certainty, I really and truly don't believe I posess either one. I think, as I have since as long as I can remember, whenever things go bad or become too much for me to bear- I simply go to sleep. It's my only way of shutting out the reality that surrounds me in those times of tragedy.

6) Much has been written about the power of prayer. What, to you, is the greatest benefit of individual prayer? Is a group united in prayer for a specific purpose more or less powerful than individual prayer?"

Like I said in the last question I pray almost every night. I don't and can't believe that an individual prayer vs a group prayer is stronger and vice versa. To me I believe that a prayer, any prayer, is just as powerful as the one before and the one after. Can you judge the colors white and ivory? No, they're the same.

7) Kelly is warned that "some people are the opposite of what they appear to be." Have you found this to be true? What about people of great wealth, like Gregory, who endowed inspiring works of art, gave prestigious scholarships, and benefited charities? Can people who do these things yet live dissolute personal lives be redeemed? Can enduring humanitarian works help erase the personal harm done by an unbelieving, evil, or corrupt personality? Or must that redemption be made solely through repentance and God's grace through Jesus Christ?

There are plenty of "poser's" out in the world. We would all be a liar if at some point in our life we didn't pretend to be someone we're not, for whatever reason...work, love, friends etc. I can't say who can and can't be redeemed. That's Creator's choice not mine or yours. I don't think if a person has done some kind of wrong that by doing something good erase's the wrong doing. That is the most idiotic thought ever. I do believe that it may benefit the person in a positive way. I think only Creator has a knowledge of what and who can and can't be repented. Everything is done with Creator's will, we are just a vessel in the process.

8) We all have challenges and bear burdens. Matthew 11:28 inspired the Crossroads Crisis Center series of books. In times of trouble and burdens, has your relationship with God given you rest? Has that aided you in coping with your challenges? Resolving your conflicts? Easing your burdens?

When I was forced into the various organized religions as a child and teen, my relationship with God fluctuated. One day I would believe in him and all his might, others I couldn't fathom how in all the world's suffering there existed someone God, or otherwise that would allow such evil and pain to be afflicted on "His loved ones." In the Sweat Lodge Ceremonies in the Native tradition, has been the only time in any church or religious affliation I felt a true and pure sense of peace. A feeling that cleared my thoughts and opened my mind, body and soul into listening to Creator. Sometimes in the Lodge I even shed tears, the feeling of Creator's presence is just so overwhelming.

9) Ben and Kelly are wealthy people. Is it harder, do you think, to be a rich or poor Christian? What makes it harder or easier? Do material possessions impact a person's inner life at all?

We had discussed this topic over the weekend actually. I am unsure what Vicki means by rich or poor. We had mentioned that in foreign and poverty stricken countries the poor aren't poor in the aspect of faith. They have little or no shelter, never know where their food may come from and other thoughts we in more financially stable countries never worry about. These people aren't heartbroken over not having material things or finances. Sure it could benefit them, but they have their life in a higher power's hands. I believe material possessions can and do affect a person's soul. I am one to prove that. When I lost almost everything but the clothes on my back last year I was furious! How could I live without this and this and this!? At the end of the year, after much contemplation it dawned on me. My parents for yearsssssssssss have been telling me about my grip on materialistic things. I don't need them. What am I going to do with them when I am buried? They will serve no purpose. Only then did I realize that I only missed them, I can live without them. I also feel I associate too many materialistic things with memories. I think that's why I focus on them so much. I feel in a way, if I lose the item that I will lose the emotions and memories associated with them. How dumb am I?

10) Repeatedly, Kelly hears God's instructions:  "Be patient with him." She listens and tries, but it isn't always easy. Is being patient difficult for you? What experiences have led you to trust in God's perfect timing?

Patience is a virtue I do not have. I doubt I ever will. I am the most impatient person ever! I do my best at concealing it but it never fails to bubble over into the real world and tell my secret. Someone was looking over me back in 2006. I had blacked out in the bathroom of my ex and I's apartment. I still do not recall moving from the bed to the bathroom. However if he had not taken me to the hospital I would have died. Even in our disfunctional friendship now I will forever be thankful for his kindness...at that time.

11) Ben had a loving, content marriage. As a widower, he had challenges starting over in a new romance. If you suffered such a loss, what would encourage you to (or discourage you from "trying" again?

Hmm...refer to question 10's answer.

12) Kelly was orphane, abused, and mistreated. Often in abuse cases, those who abused become abusers. Yet she did not. Neither did she grow bitter or engage in destructive self-pity. Instead, she made God her escape plan from the abuse and learned to pray. She relied on Him and as an adult commits to helping others stay safe. That is this story's tie to Matthew 11:28. Did her reliance on God, her trust in Him, break the cycle so often present in abuse cases?

I am unfamiliar with that passage. However I feel Kelly did break the cycle of abuse. I think her faith was the biggest key in her turn-around process, among her own determination.

13) Have you experienced situations like Kelly's where you felt the hand of God at work in your life? If so, please explain.

I don't recall at any point in my life feeling like Kelly's experiences were a work of God's hand.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

April Interview Update

Hey readers! You will be proud of me. I spent almost all day working on interviews for April. I have five of the seven typed up and ready to post well in advance of my schedule for next month's interview schedule.I mistakenly thought I had six, however, after I looked at one email I forgot that interview is for May's schedule. As soon as I have the other two interviews in I will post the schedule for April ASAP!
xoxo

Flood of ARC's

This is just a list I made so I know which ARC's are on their way, and which ones I have and still need to review. I have so many papers I keep losing my list. ADD & OCD are just two things that one person shouldn't have to be suffering through.

On The Way:
We Were Here- Matt De La Pena

The Soul Hunter- Melanie Wells #1
When The Day Of Evil Comes- Melanie Wells #2
Down Among The Dead Men- Robert Gregory Browne
Hater- David Moody
Dog Blood- David Moody
Glimmerglass- Jenna Black
The Six Rules of Maybe- Deb Caletti
Wormfood- Jeff Jacobson
Foodchain- Jeff Jacobson
Red Headed Step Child- Jaye Wells
The Mage Is Black- Jaye Wells
unknown novel- Rachel Hawthorne
Unholy Ghosts- Stacia Kane
Betwixt- Tara Smith

Need to Read:
Chick With A Charm- Vicki Lewis Thompon*
Shiver- Maggie Stiefvater*
Linger- Maggie Stiefvater*
Split- Stefan Petrucha*
My Soul To Keep- Melanie Wells*
Epitaph Road- David Patneaude*
Guns- Phil Bowie*
Diamondback- Phil Bowie*
KLLRS- Phil Bowie*
Chernobyl Murders- Michael Beres*
Traffyck- Michael Beres*
Voices of Dragons- Carrie Vaughn*
Spider's Bite (e-book)- Jennifer Estep*
Web Of Lies (e-book)- Jennifer Estep* (sending bookmarks also)
Darkscape: The Rebel Lord: R. Garland Gray*
Faery Faith: Predestined- R. Garland Gray*

Read:
Moonshine- Alaya Johnson*(currently reading)

Saint Iggy- K.L. Going**
Blonde With A Wand- Vicki Lewis Thompson**
Forget Me Not- Vicki Hinze**
Nothing- Robin Friedman**
Demonfire: The Demonslayers- Kate Douglas**
Firespell- Chloe Neill**
Princess For Hire- Lindsey Leavitt**

The Beautiful Between- Alyssa B Shienmel**
Frostbite: A Werewolf Tale- David Wellington**
Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story- Carolyn Turgeon**
Everlasting Kiss- Amanda Ashley**
Gonville: A Memoir- Peter Birkenhead (ARC won from GoodReads)**
The Accessory- James G Hutchison**
Dragon's Kiss- Ally Blue**
Oleander House- Ally Blue**
What Hides Inside- Ally Blue**
Fireflies- Ally Blue**
Me, Myself and Why?- Mary Janice Davidson**
If I Stay- Gayle Forman**

Claire De Lune- Christine Johnson (Unsure, but think it's coming I can't find the confirmation email from Christine.)
xoxo

Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze

"THEIR ELUSIVE ENEMIES TOOK EVERYTHING.
NOW THEY WANT MORE.



Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man- in his faith, his work, and his family. Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away. His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith. Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too. Why had he survived? He'd failed to protect his family.
Now a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help- a victim who eerily resembles Ben's deceased wife, Susan. A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith- and Susan's necklace.
The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill. Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman's situation from dangerous to deadly. Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?"

I want to begin this review, as usual, by thanking the author Vicki Hinze for graciously sending me a copy of this book to be able to review it. If you read the post the day I got the package you will have read she also included a copy of "War Games: Kill Zone" and a bookmark of "Forget Me Not" to go along with the autographed copy of the book. I didn't ask for any of the other items, so it goes to show you how kind Vicki really is.

This is a beautifully written mystery, suspense, thriller, and Christian novel. I think a lot of people outside of the Christian faith associate Christianity as a roadblock in experiencing things involved in its Faith, such as books.  "Forget Me Not" was a majorily suspenseful novel. I think whether you are Christian, or not in my case (spiritual belonging to the Native American form of Faith), you will enjoy this book.

If it weren't for my exhausting weekend I wouldn't have put this book down until I finished. Susan/Karen/Kelly & Ben's gripping story is loaded with tragedy and sorrow, that only they could get through it together. While I'm on that topic, Susan/Karen/Kelly had me feeling like the poor woman had a severe case of Multiple Personality Disorder. Thankfully this wasn't the case, and you will have to read the book to find out what I am talking about.

There were quite a few quotes from the novel that I think were very powerful, for me atleast:

"...emotions. They don't care about logic or reason or even common sense. They just hang out and drive you nuts wherever they can find a nook or cranny to rip you apart inside."

"Fear isn't an enemy. It warns us of danger. It makes us notice things so we protect ourselves. Fear isn't a failing. Sometimes it's a weapon, but sometimes it's a shield too." (If you're on my Facebook you will have seen this, when I woke up. I had this as my status message. I think it was a great quote to inspire others for the on-coming day!)

"The center had healed, and so would Karen." (I think this was a very talented way to use as a comparison to Karen's circumstances and the ones that the center had to deal with.)

In general tho, I loved how Vicki has incorporated that even tho Susan/Karen/Kelly has no memory of her life, she still knows she has her faith in God. Whether you are religious or not I think you can feel the sense of sorrow this character has. Can you imagine never knowing if you were loved, if anyone ever cared for you?

Typically I am not into the whole reader's guide things some authors feature in the back of their books. Some reason, Vicki's is calling my name. Later this week I will be posting my answers to the reading guide questions.
xoxo

Tuesday Mail Call

Hey readers! Tuesday's mail brought in "Moonshine" by Alaya Johnson courtesy of both Alaya herself, Loren Jaggers from Publicity at St. Martin's Press, and also from Ann Day Associate Director of Publicity for St. Martin's Press. The book came along with a media release from Loren and Ann. "Moonshine" will be published and in stores for purchase (14.99) in May 2010.

"Zephyr Hollis may seem as though she's a typical inhabitant in Prohibition-era Manhattan. A transplant from the ranches of Montana, she teaches night school to the underprivileged of the Lower East Side. She's generous and concerned for her fellow citizens. In fact, she's extremely socially conscious- you can find her volunteering in soup kitchens or delivering blood for the blood bank in addition to protesting for the rights of the Others that inhabit New York. These Others are otherwordly creatures, most notably vampire, that live among the human inhabitants. However, like everyone in the crowds of New York City then and now, Zephyr carries many secrets- secrets that protect her but could also very well cost her life.



Strapped for cash, Zephyr agrees to help a student, the mysterious Amir, who proposes she use her charity worker cover to bring down a notorious vampire mob boss. What he doesn't tell her is why. Soon enough she's tutoring a child criminal with an angelic voice, dodging vampires high on a new blood-based street drug, and trying to determine the real reason behind Amir's request- not to mention attempting to resist (often unsuccessfully) his dark, inhuman charm.

In her debut novel, Moonshine, (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's Griffin; April 2010; 0-312-6-4806-5; $14.99), Alaya Johnson imagines a city of Others at the heart of the social struggles of 1920's. Moonshine blends vivid historical fiction and a bittersweet romance with a lively mythology teeming beneath the gritty New York City streets, complete with boarding houses, immigrants, tenements, and construction sites."



I know some of you may be thinking, "doesn't he have enough to read as it is?" Well bite me! (Pun intended!) We all know my weakness for good books, especially them paranormal, vampire, ones.

Stephenie Meyer's New Twilight Novel

NEW YORK – Attention "Twilight" fans: Stephenie Meyer has a new book coming out.


Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will release "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner" on June 5.


The novella is told from the viewpoint of Bree, a newborn vampire featured in "Eclipse." That's one of the books in Meyer's best-selling teen-vampire saga.


Meyer says in a statement Tuesday the novella had originally been planned for "The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide." But she says it became too long to fit into the guide.


The publisher says one dollar for each book sold in the U.S. from the first printing of 1.5 million copies will be donated to the American Red Cross International Response Fund. It supports disaster relief efforts such as those in Haiti and Chile.

(Article taken from Yahoo News)http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100330/ap_en_ot/us_people_stephenie_meyer

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday only get better!

Hey readers! Well the mailman just ran and made my Monday even better. As I went to peer into the mailbox in anticipation of atleast one ARC, I was suprised to find four packages, a total of five books in all.

Todays packages are brought to you in part, no no no, in whole (lol!) by K.L. Going- "Saint Iggy," Vicki Lewis Thompson- "Blonde With A Wand, "Chick With A Charm" and an autographed postcard with the novels book covers, Robin Friedman- "Nothing," and last but not least Kate Douglas- autographed "The Demonslayers: Demonfire" that came with two bookmarks for her "Wolf Tales" series, book plate of "The Demonslayers: Hellfire" (book 2 due out September 2010) and lastly a postcard of "The Demonslayer: Demonfire." So thank you to K.L. Going, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Robin Friedman, & Kate Douglas for sending me some amazing novels to do reviews on! <3

WOW! I need to read faster! HA! HA! I am going to leave you with pictures from the packages and get back to reading a great book, "Forget Me Not" by Vicki Hinze.
xoxo

Hey it's Monday everyone!

Hey everyone. Well it's Monday. I hope everyone had a great weekend? Mine was amazing I have to say! Saturday I received the package from Vicki Hinze (see blog post below). Sunday I went to the Cherokee Native American Reservation. We got to have a lovely feast at Bruce's house on the Rez. Then we went to see Mingo Falls, which is named after the Native American tribe that I am from. We also went to Oconaluftee, Island Park. I actually got in the water, knee deep even! OMG was it ever ice cold. It was well worth the experience.

Due to the long day at the Rez yesterday I am about 60 pages behind in my review reading schedule for "Forget Me Not" by Vicki Hinze. I have another 110 pages to read today on top of that to keep to my schedule of finishing the book on Tuesday, review posting on Wednesday.

This week I will be typing up the draft copies of a few author interviews I have completed. I will be working on the schedule for April's interviews next week and the week after if I don't have the week of interviews booked already! These authors are so eager to do interviews. I love it! This week I should be receiving a handful more ARC's. I think I'm nearing about 20ish that are coming and/or on the way. David Patneaude author of "Epitaph Road" has agreed to send me a final copy of the novel for a review. It sounds like a book that is right up my alley! 

So for now I will leave you with this pic I took yesterday inspired by "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding (see post below), and then I am off to do some more reading on "Forget Me Not."
xoxo

My "Lord of the Flies" pic in the Bamboo Forest on Oconaluftee Island Park Cherokee, North Carolina

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Halloween by R.L. Stine

"This party is a killer.


Brenda hates her cousin Halley. And Brenda isn't the only one. Because Halley keeps stealing other people's boyfriends.
So Brenda and her friends decide to plan the perfect murder. Something to go along with Brenda's perfect Halloween party.

Not that they're really going to kill anybody.
It's just a joke.
Right?

Ha. Ha."

Hey guys, so this was just a leisurely reading I was doing in between ARC's. I found this copy at a thrift store recently and for retro-childhood amusement I bought it, I think for 25 cents? I began reading R. L. Stine books waaaaaaaay back when I was in the fifth grade in elementary school. First I began his Goosebumps series throughout elementary, Fear Street series in junior high and high school. Close to the end of my senior year he came out with his Seniors series which I only finished half of the books. :( I still need to finish the rest. The thing I love about his books are the cool graphics, and the bubbled up cover titles. I don't seem to find many books with the title like that anymore? Maybe it was a 1990's book fad? I say it comes back! Another cool thing about R.L. Stine is that not only does he write cool novels, but he was also one of the geniuses behind one of my childhood favorite tv shows, Eureka's Castle.

Brenda and her friends have an english class assignment to create a murder mystery. The mystery creative and original in the book. It made me wish my english teachers had given us an assignment like that. Can you imagine how fun that could be? I loved the fact he mentions the charaters playing Super Nintendo. We have come a long way in video games since then, Playstation 3 and Wii is the craze now. No longer do we have to blow on the actual game to get it to work, or jerk the controller in hope it helps us play.

Brenda's nemesis cousin Halley's name kept making me say Haley (One Tree Hill). I had to read it as Haley and correct myself everytime saying HALLEY!!!!!!! The plot twist was great. I thought I had it figured out up until the end. I got half of it right, only to be suprised at the part I had wrong! It's been years since I read R.L. and even now, I still enjoy his creativity and imagination. I really need to begin collecting his books again. I truly do enjoy them.
xoxo

Author VIcki Hinze's Suprise Package Arrived!

Hey readers! I will be posting Halloween: R.L. Stine review later today. However! Today I received my copy of Vicki Hinze's novel "Forget Me Not." I was so excited I tore open the package like a child on Christmas Day. HA! Upon opening it, not only did she kindly send a copy of Forget Me Not but also a Forget Me Not bookmark, and a copy of War Games: Kill Zone. What's even better? Sure, I'll tell you. She even autographed both books. What a kind and sweet woman! :) Thank you again Vicki for your kindness. I am so looking forward to these novels. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and stay tuned later today for the Halloween review.
xoxo



Jane Lovering Interview

Jane happens to be another author who found my post on Samhain's website calling for author interviews. Just in the brief time I chatted via email with her, I found her to be hysterical and filled with life. I hope you all enjoy this interview just as much as I did.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I woke up one morning and someone had shoved a biro in my hand. When I sobered up, I thought I’d better learn how to deal with it.

How long have you been writing for?
Why, what time is it now?

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
Of my published works, both of them, Reversing over Liberace and Slightly Foxed. They make me money, and people occasionally get in touch to tell me that I made them laugh. Not, incidentally, always through the books, sometimes they just happened to catch sight of me walking along, and fell into hysterics. Sigh. It happens. What can I say? Of my other works, the novel about the vampires, Dead Run. Got to love a vampire who loses his trousers.

As an author, who is your favorite to read from?
Er. Apart from me? Douglas Adams, Jasper Fforde, Kate Johnson, Terry Pratchett, Jenny Colgan, Frank Tuttle, and, you know, stuff. Not big long words, or anything with numbers in though. Basically, any writer who can talk down to my level.

What is your favorite genre?
Ice cream.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer. :)
Oh, would that I had spare time! By the time I’ve got all the children off to their jobs up various chimneys and put in my regulation hours at the local moustache-waxer, there’s barely enough time left to dash off a best seller and seduce Johnny Depp.

Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
No. They all hate me. Writers are most dangerous when they pack, you know.

Do you have any pen names? If so why do you choose to use a pen name?
What, you think my real one isn’t ridiculous enough?

Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
Always take an umbrella, don’t eat anything pink and wait for the green man to stop flashing before you cross. Also, buy my books. Hope these are of some use to you! Best wishes, Jane.

Thank you Jane for spending time with us and giving us all a good laugh. With my vampire/horror obsession I am looking forward to reading "Dead Run." I hope we here from more of you in the future.

Friday, March 26, 2010

General Updates

Hey readers! Well I have been up since sometime yesterday...again! However I did get my 2010 Debute Author Challenge list posted, re-vamped my blog a bit, and also have 1 of 3 pages of author links posted. GO ME! I still have 2 more pages to post links on, and also about another page of author's to contact regarding ARC's and interviews. I am off to do some more leisurely reading to keep me busy until some books arrive. Before I go here's some more books on their way. Special thanks to: Chloe Neill "Firespell," Robin Friedman and her publicist "Nothing," Lindsey Leavitt "Princess for Hire," and the wonderful Melanie Wells for her trilogy "The Soul Hunter, When the Day of Evil Comes, and My Soul To Keep."









2010 Debut Author Challenge

Hey guys! Well I decided a few days ago I am joining this 2010 Debut Author Challenge. This challenge is open for anyone. You don't have to have a blog of your own, as long as you can read. If you don't have a computer you can always borrow a friends or the libraries to post your review on any site that hosts book reviews.

If you need more info on the challenge itself you can view the information at The Story Siren
She is the challenge host for the current year and can provide you further information if you need any.



For my challenge I am shooting for 50 novels  this year. I have quite a bit more I would like to read but I don't want to set the bar too high and not achieve it. I would like to struggle slightly. :P The list of my books for my challenge are at the bottom of the blog listed as "My 2010 Debut Author Challenge List."

For all the author's I have in my list I will have your links added on my blog if they aren't on there already. If your name is not on the list please email me with the subject "2010 Debut Author Question" and I will provide you with my contact info. If you would like to become a partner on my page you can email me stussystuff82 at yahoo dot com. Please feel free to leave comments and become a Follower on my blog. I am here to support authors of all types and most important literacy. We can only break this illiteracy problem with care and support.

The books with one * means that I have those books.
The books with two ** means that I have read those books.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

"When Lord of the Flies appeared in 1954 it received unprecedented reviews for a first novel. Critics used such phrases as "beautifully written, tragic and provocative...vivid and enthralling...this beautiful and desperate book...completely convincing and often very frightening...its progress is magnificent...like a fragment of nightmare...a dizzy climax of terror...the terrible spell of this book..." E.M. Forster chose it as the Outstanding Novel of the Year. Time and Tide touched upon perhaps the most important facet of this book when it said "It is not only a first-rate adventure story but a parable of our times," and articles on this and subsequent Golding novels have stressed these twin aspects of Golding: a consummate control of the novel form, and a superb all-encompassing vision of the reality which communicates itself with a power reniniscent of Conrad."



I remember, looking back, that I had to read this book for the first time in junior high school. I hated it as much as I loved it at the time. There some sense of eerie creepiness about it, probably because I imagined myself as one of the boys on the stranded island. I again had to read this, I think twice, in high school. It seemed the more I read it-the more I enjoyed the plausible reality of it.

In the story Ralph & Piggy were my favorite characters. Ralph showed an adulthood about him in making choices to better their situation. What I admired in Piggy was what lacked in Ralph, an understanding of how things should be. Piggy was quite annoying, but if he were real I would identify him as a potential friend. He had the characteristics that make for a strong and endearing friendship. SamnEric come in a close third, they're funny and witty and cute.

The way the children set up a type of society, standards, ranks, jobs and rules was just amazingly written. However I believe back when I was forced to read this chapter 8's scene with the hunter's and the pig slaughter, and the demise of both Simon and Piggy it was not a children's book. It was too morbid and graphic for someone in that time and age to be reading in my opinion. 

With the lack of fire, Simon unable to explain "the Beast," and the inablility to flag the ship you begin to wonder will they ever be rescued?! In retrospect I think the ending could have been tweaked just a bit. It seemed as if it was just an abrupt ending. I would have liked to have read about Ralph punching Jack square in his face and breaking his nose. To me...that would have been a fabulous and way more appropriate ending.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by: C.S. Lewis



"They open a door and enter a world.

NARNIA...the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy...the place where the adventure begins.
Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first, no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund and then Peter and Susan discover the Magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion,  for themselves. In the blink of an eye, their lives are changed forever."

The entirety of this book is a magic in and of itself. However I think the dedication is one of the most endearing I have ever read:

"To Lucy Banfield
My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books.  As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales agin. You can then take it down from the upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to ear, and too old to understand a word you say but I shall still be
                                                                                   your affectionate Godfather,
                                                                                                                 C.S. Lewis"

The opening scene the movie actually elaborated on, but it was for good reason. However in the movie Professor doesn't come down to greet the Pevensie's as they come to stay with him. My favorite characters so far in this series are Queen Jadis, Lucy and Mr. Tumnus. I think I fell for Mr. Tumnus in chapter two because of this:

"Meanwhile," said Mr Tumnus, "it is winter in Narnia and has been for ever so long, and we shall both catch cold if we stand here talking in the snow. Daughter of Eve from the far land of  Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?"

I thought when I watched the movie, and even more so when I read this in the book, that just the way Mr. Tumnus talks and misinterprets the words Lucy says is just adorable and funny!

The walk with Susan, Lucy & Aslan was clearly a reflection of Jesus's final walk, when he carried the cross, crown of thorns and was in pain. Although Aslan wasn't physically bearing pain or torture, it weighed heavy on his heart. It was clear to see the significance. Then there was the part where Aslan offers himself to Jadis only to be resurrected. Among that and the broken "Stone Table" and no Aslan, it proved again to be a reflection of Jesus in the tomb, the boulder moved and yet there was no Jesus in the tomb! Reading this makes C.S. Lewis's christian symoblism made even more prevelant.

The castle scene where Mr. Tumnus was a statue was portrayed differently via the movie. Edmund & Mr. Tumnus where held prisoners, not statues, in seperate but adjoining cells in the movie. Another difference between the movie and the book was Mr. Fox. In the book he was turned to stone during a Christmas celebration; in the movie he was made into a sort of "treacherous" hero. He would help the Sons & Daughter's of Eve but then somehow cause trouble out of it all, what else is a fox for- very sneaky and untrustworthy.

A big problem for me in the book was the battle at the end with Aslan and his crew versus Queen Jadis and her crew. The book had the battle so brief and short. I think it was summed up in a whole two or three pages. The battle in the movie was much better and prolonged. I have four books left in the series to go. As each one passes I grow more and more eager to continue on with a slight sadness; knowing that once I hit book seven I will not have any more of the wonderful land of Narnia to "live in."

Four More ARC's On Their Way

Hey guys! Well good news, I have three more review copies coming in the mail. I am really excited. All of these books look amazing. I can't wait for them to arrive. Special thanks to authors Vicki Hinze for "Forget Me Not," Matt De La Pena for "We Were Here," Stefan Petrucha for "Split," and last but not least Alaya Dawn Johnson for "Moonshine: A Novel." We all know I love some vampire's. :) Below are the book covers. Off to type up the review due today....




Tuesday, March 23, 2010

ARC Update

Hey guys! Well I apparently was meant to read "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis first. I just logged on to do this post and fix some grammar errors I seen when I noticed the schedule. So if you wonder why the review dates flip flopped on Lewis & Goldings books, now you know. :)

I have been busy most of the day emailing some new ARC clients. I have about two and a half pages and finished with one. There are just so many good books out there I can't resist the urge to read them all. I have also joined a few contests as well.

About an hour ago I got an email back from the very sweet and kind Vicki Lewis Thompson. She is sending me a copy of "Blonde With A Wand" and also "Chick With A Charm." BWAW was released in stores in Feb 2010, and CWAC was released this month in stores, March 2010. Both books appear to have a sense of campy, romance. I am excited to read them and send Ms. Thompson back the review for her personal use.




The wonderful Kate Douglas is also sending me a copy of her newest work "The Demonslayers: Demonfire," which is book 1 in "The Demonslayers" series. She is edging towards the end of writing a new book. So I can't express my gratitude for her in sending it while she has so much else on her plate to worry about than myself.



Wednesday my stepfather is giving a talk at WNC College on Native American's and their history with drugs. So most likely I won't be back until late tomorrow night. I will try my best to get the Lewis review up asap. I am also hoping to get all of the author's links posted. If possible I am going to add a section for various website's graphics etc.

Best wishes to all of you and your families.

xoxo
Steven

Corrina Lawson Interview

Corrina is another Samhain author who approached me regarding my interview post on Samhain's author section. She was so eager and happy to do this interview. How could I say no? :P

What inspired you to become a writer?
I was born that way, I think. I've always been driven to make up stories, for as long as I remember. I was a voracious reader as a kid and certain books fired my imagination but I expect wanting to make up stories came first.


I was inspired to become a reporter by Lois Lane from the Superman Comics. She had a very cool job and, at the time I was reading her comics, she tended to solve all her own problems without calling in Superman.

How long have you been writing for?
I've been actively writing fiction for about ten years now, since my twins were born. But I've been writing stories since I could put pencil to paper. If the internet had existed when I was a teenager, I would no doubt have written fanfic at a furious pace, like my eldest daughter does.

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
It's so hard to pick favorites!

I end up loving all my characters in one way or another. But if I had to pick just one, it would be the first I created--Trisha Connell, a crime reporter in a mystery/romance series that I haven't sold yet. I suspect that's because, originally, the concept of Trisha came from a Mary Sue character I wrote for some fanfic, plus the fact that she has the same job (a reporter) that I did for seven years.


Trisha is fearless in all the way I'm not, though she's terrified in all the ways that I'm not as well. But whenever I'm feeling particularly intimidated, I think "what would Trisha do?" Because she doesn't take "no" for an answer.


As an author, who is your favorite to read from?
It changes all the time, depending on my mood and depending on what I need from books.

For years, I re-read the Lord of the Rings once a year. I just loved that world. When I was a teenager, I would take long hikes in the woods near my house and imagine Rivendell was just around the corner.


More recently, I absorbed the first nine of Laurell K. Hamilton's book but fell off the bandwagon with book ten. The series just went in a direction that did nothing for me as a reader.


I've read all of Jennifer Crusie and love her sense of humor and the way her female characters learn to stand up for themselves.


Right now, I'm reading a lot of Linnea Sinclair (SF romance), JD Robb. (Nora Roberts' mystery alter ego) and Lois McMaster Bujold. So apparently, I'm on a SF kick, especially when sprinkled in with a lot of romance. But all three writers are tremendous at creating wonderful characters. That'll hook me every time.


What is your favorite genre?
There's more SF/F on my bookshelves than anything else. But I'll read anything that has a good story from contemporary romance to historicals to mysteries to hard SF to epic fantasy.


The only genres I avoid are horror (I don't like the scare) and literary fiction. Nothing against the latter but I'm an action-driven reader and literary fiction often doesn't have enough forward movement for me. I can do without beautiful words and phrasing. I apparently can't do without action.


What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer. :)
Spare time? What's that? :)

I have four kids, one of them special needs. That absorbs most of my free hours. I also have a part-time job writing for the GeekDad blog on Wired.com. But that's writing again, so that doesn't count. I read, of course, and I watch some TV. Mad Men is a particular favorite right now and I tend to love crime shows. I also watch a lot of the History Channel documentaries.


And I play with my three cats. The dog gets jealous.


It's all very dull and boring to anyone else, I'd guess. The action is mostly taking place in my head as I make up stories.


Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
A few years ago, a friend and I were each trying to develop a character. So we sent emails to each other--but writing as the characters. Her character would write to mine, mine would write back, and they'd tell each other what was going on. We each developed an entire plot this way. It was a ton of fun. But I'm not sure that counts as collaboration.

Another friend and I wrote a short story together, which started as a fairy tale about a princess who was angry her big sister was getting married and pushing her aside. That developed into a lot of political intrigue around a bunch of daughters and a very nasty dad playing them against each other. I liked that story a lot but, unfortunately, lost touch with that friend over the years. I'd love to revisit that story but I don't feel right about continuing it without her.


Overall, I don't think I'm cut out for collaboration. I have too much fun creating my own storyverse to want to compromise by writing with another author. Or, to put it simply, I like being the only god of my universe.


Do you have any pen names? If so why do you choose to use a pen name?
My writing name is simply my maiden name: Lawson. It's the name I used as a reporter and it's the name I'll always use as a writer. I thought about using a pen name for Freya's Gift, which is erotica. But it's basically a prequel to my full length novel, Dinah of Seneca, which is romance but not erotica. It seemed better to use the same name for both of them to avoid confusion.


Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
I am not wise in the least. Most of the time, to paraphrase Bujold, I feel like I'm stumbling around in the dark, looking for any sign of light.


If there are any writers out there who want to be published, I say to them: keep writing. Finish what you write. Poke around the internet and learn how to write better. Practice, practice, practive. Don't give up on it.


It took me eight years to get a publishing contract. I've know people who've waited longer than that.


And that could apply to anything that you love. Find a way to make it happen. Because life is too short to be miserable doing something you don't love.
 
Wow, Corrina you have really outdone yourself! I really enjoyed your answers. It shows you took a lot of time and thought about them, or you're just such a great writer that it's natural. *HeHe* Typically I am not into romance novels, but the way that you talk it makes me want to read them. That is the true power of an author, to break someone's barriers and allow them to enjoy something they normally wouldn't have. I have a little brother who is special needs, and my friends son is as well. It can be hard on them as well as the family. Best wishes to all of your children and family. I want to thank you so much for giving us all a look into your "storyverse" as you put it. I hope we can somehow work together again in the future.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

"The secret passage to the house next door leads to a fascinating adventure.
NARNIA... where the woods are thick and cool, where Talking Beasts are called to life... a new world where the adventure begins.

Digory and Polly meet and make friends one cold, wet summer in London. Their lives burst into adventure when Digory's Uncle Andrew, who thinks he is a magician, sends them hurtling to...somewhere else. They find their way to Narnia, newborn from the Lion's song, and encounter the evil sorceress Jadis, before they finally return home. 



Enter this enchanted world countless times in The Chronicles of Narnia. There are seven books in all:
The Magician's Nephew
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle"


For a children's book this story has so many valuable and intriguing lessons any person of any age can apply to their life. I have never read the books, only seen the movies. Originally I seen the old late 80's early 90's version; the robotic animals with blinking eyes and puppet mouths, and more recently the new versions of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and also Prince Caspian. The newer versions by far are way better.

Although now that I'm reading the books it gives a more clear understanding of the full concept on Narnia. Humanities errors, bad judgement calls, sins of the flesh basically. I only wished they had started out the newer movies with the first book. As much as Queen Jadis, aka the Ice Bitch in my words is evil, there is something so alluring and wonderfully deserving of her presence. Good doesn't exist with out evil.

Here are a couple quotes that I found inspiring:

"When things go wrong, you'll usually find they go on getting worse for some time; but when things once start going right they often go on getting better and better." -C.S. Lewis

"Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed." C.S. Lewis

Usually when I do my reviews I have a notebook that I write down various thoughts, errors, etc. I was originally reading this as just something to read. I had always wanted to read the series but never got around to it. That day- a month or so ago- when I seen the whole set very cutely wrapped in a silk ribbon in the thrift store I knew they were meant for me! Who knows, maybe "Uncle Andrew" used his magic to put them there for me. At any rate I truly loved "The Magician's Nephew." I can't wait to read "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe" to see how it compares to the movies. They always leave things out. :(

xoxo

Author Interview/Review Schedule

In lieu of some author interviews I am going to use some book reviews. I had four other author interviewees, but they either were no longer interested or their schedule became too hectic. Either way I apologize and hope some of these old classic books take you all back to yester-year. Most of these books are well before I was even born. So below is the schedule for this week and then it's back to my regular review postings.

March 21- Jenna Ives Interview
March 22- The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis Review
March 23- Corrina Lawson Interview
March 24- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis Review
March 25- Lord of the Flies by William Golding Review
March 26- Halloween Night- R.L. Stine

March 27- Jane Lovering Interview

Before I forget, I also joined Del Rey publisher's ARC reading group on Saturday. They will be sending me various books to review. If any of my reviews are chosen, they will be published on their Del Rey Internet Newsletter. How sweet!
xoxo

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jenna Ives Interview

Jenna is another author who stumbled upon my wrongly placed posting with Samhain, in its more aptly put location. She is a sweet soul and you should keep reading to find out more about this wonderful woman.

What inspired you to become a writer?

My day job was so depressing that I escaped at night into romance novels (where there's always a happy ending, guaranteed). One day I decided to try and write a romance myself, and it actually sold :)

How long have you been writing for?
To be honest, I've been writing since about age eleven, but those stories are in my mother's attic somewhere, LOL!

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
I'm proud of The Initiation Of Isabella. It was written for a "call for submissions" by Samhain Publishing for its Binding Ties anthology. One reader called it "an accidental bondage story," which is funny, but true -- a case of mistaken identity brings two people together under very intimate circumstances. It came out in e-book last September, and will be available in print in July 2010.

As an author, who is your favorite to read from?
I'm a voracious reader. I love too many authors to mention them all here!

What is your favorite genre?
I love historical romances, but I also read contemporary and paranormal. The Initiation Of Isabella is a contemporary romance.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer. :)
What spare time?!? Seriously, I love to read, and I do watercolor painting.

Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
I've never collaborated with another author, but if I met someone whose creative mind works the same way mine does, I would certainly be open to it!

Do you have any pen names? If so why do you choose to use a pen name?
Yes, I use a pen name. I think all authors should, for privacy and protection. One of my good friends writes under her own name, and a scary stalker fan forced her to move to a different city!

Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
I love to write stories I would like to read myself, so I hope my readers will love them, too! Also, I love to get feedback from my readers. You can visit my website at www.jennaives.com to read an excerpt from The Initiation Of Isabella, and if you read the whole story, I'd love to hear what you think of it :)

Jenna thank you for sharing time out of your schedule with us. It was so nice to meet you and be able to do this interview with you. The Initiation Of Isabella sounds captivating. I will be reading it soon. In all the different reasons why an author would have a pen name, I would have never guessed your answer to being one of them. Although it should have been my first thought. Send my regards to your friend. I hope in the future we may be able to work together again.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Julia Knight Interview

When I began thinking of doing these interviews I had written a post on Samhain's yahoo group seeking author's willing to do them. Unknowingly I wasn't allowed to do so in that section. Marty who works for Samhain in that department kindly moved my post to the appropriate location. This is how Julia found me and contacted me. I can't say how excited I was, and still am, that so many authors were eager to help me in this endeavor. One of them just so happens to be Julia. So read on and find out more on this sweet writer.

What inspired you to become a writer?
A combination of things really. I've always made up stories in my head but never thought of writing them down until I became housebound with ME. Daytime TV drove me to distraction but physically there was little I could do. Then I saw a particular film ( The Brave, with Johnny Depp. Very dark, very thought provoking) and this character kind of turned up in my head and I had to start writing. That character was Ilfayne, who originally was supposed to be a side character but, again, his ego took over….


How long have you been writing for?
In total 5 years or so, though there was a year in there where I was too ill to write. Once I get into something, I get obsessive. Writing is the most intense of those obsessions. Now I can't not write, not if I want to stay sane anyway.

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
Ack, what a question! I love Ilfayne's Bane, I love what it taught me about writing and of course I am more than a little in love with Ilfayne himself. Love is My Sin is great to me in a different way, and I had a blast writing it - it just poured out of me, and it did something for that soft spot I always had for Hunter. Bless his little cotton socks. So both really - I like the erotic novella, The Wicked Lady, I've got coming up with Samhain for entirely different reasons!

As an author, who is your favorite to read from?
I'm a huge fan of CJ Cherryh and her heroes to swoon for. Two of my all time fave books are the Chronicles of Morgaine and Merchanter's Luck. The way she gets right into her people's heads was a direct inspiration for my own writing. Plus, I wanted to make other people swoon over my heroes! I'm also a huge Pratchett fan, and of course, as a fantasy fan, Tolkien. While he has his flaws, I love the poetry in his language, and his heroes. I have a Rohirrim flag tattoo….

What is your favorite genre?
Fantasy, for sure - though I love a side dish of romance. I love the fact that anything can, and often does, happen, the release from real life grit to another world. Literally escapism.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer. :)
Eek! Um, I don't do much else except work and do family stuff and write. Oh, I like the wrestling - it makes me giggle and all those men with not much on except muscles and baby oil. I like the rugby too. I sense a theme emerging here. I like muscley men?

Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
Not yet. but I wouldn't be averse, if I found the right person. Someone loopy enough to get what comes out of my brain.

Do you have any pen names? If so why do you choose to use a pen name?
Not yet.

Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
Wisdom, me? *snickers* Um, thanks for reading and look out for the next ones…
Thanks for the opportunity!

Thank you again Julia for sharing details about your life and work with us. On behalf of my readers and myself I send out prayer on your ME, Chronic Fatigue. I hope to get copies of your books soon and feature them on a review here. I wish you good luck on your upcoming novel and all of your future endeavors.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ally Blue Interview

I was especially excited to do an interview with Ally Blue. Originally when I first began doing the book reviews I found the Samhain website (link is listed under my link section on the main page). Ally was the first author I found on the site that appealed to my reading appetite. She is a straight and married woman who writes gay novels.

Her work isn't something so cliche'. She has a true and genuine talent. One that she could write on something that breaks literary boundaries. A woman who writes "sexy manlove," as she would say. More importantly, she has been given my gratitude, love and most of all a friendship. So read on further and find out what Blue (as I call her and what I call her fans-Blue's Crew)- has to say!



What inspired you to become a writer?
I guess I've always been a writer at heart. When I was little, I used to write and illustrate books about the fictional adventures of my sister. They were terrible, but man, I had fun doing them. As far as writing gay romance, I started down that road via the disreputable world of band slash. Yep, I'm one of those writers. Heh. But fanfic taught me that I enjoyed reading man-on-man romance, and that I had a talent for writing it. The fanfic world also gave me the opportunity to learn the basics of crafting a story. I learned how to improve, polish and make it a story truly worth reading later on, but I really did get a lot of practice in writing via fanfic.


Beyond all that, though, I think an overall love of reading is the main thing that inspired me to become a writer. I've been reading longer than I can remember. The very first thing I ever bought myself was a book. I've always loved to read wonderful stories, so of course I wanted to create them for myself :)


How long have you been writing for?
Well, not counting my ridiculous childhood picture books, I guess I started writing fiction in, hmmm, 2002 or 2003, something like that. I had my first short story published in 2004, in an online gay fiction zine that, sadly, no longer exists. My first novel was published in 2005.


Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
This is a hard question for me to answer because I love all of my books for different reasons. But I think my favorite of my own books is probably Untamed Heart. Leon and Grim still hold the record as my two most fucked up characters EVER, but I think they work well together. I'm proud of how well they turned out. I think they're both characters a reader can care a great deal about in spite of how screwed up they are. Maybe even because of that.


As an author, who is your favorite to read from?
Oh, man, that's really tough. I have a hard time picking a favorite author. I read lots of different stuff, depending on my mood at the time. Clive Barker is a favorite of mine. Also Stephen King, though I haven't really read much of his in a long time. I have Under The Dome but haven't had time to read it yet. Too busy. Sigh. I also have everything H.P. Lovecraft ever wrote. I can't condone some of the viewpoints he held in life, but I do enjoy his over-the-top fiction :)


As far as romance, I'm not much into het, I hate to say. When I read romance it's mostly gay romance. I like to read Willa Okati, J.L. Langley, Jet Mykles, Kimberly Gardner, Rick Reed, wow, lots of others. I have zillions of gay romance ebooks on my hard drive by a whole bunch of different authors.


What is your favorite genre?
HORROR! OMG. Yes. I've been trying to scare myself ever since I learned how to read. My mom used to get irritated with me because I'd read scary books and watch scary movies and stuff then have nightmares and wake up in the middle of the night. LOL. My favorite thing to read in the horror genre is still Books of Blood by Clive Barker. Those stories are freakin' brilliant. I love "Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament" and "In The Hills, The Cities" in particular.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer. :)
Spare time? What is this "spare time" you speak of? Ha! You think I'm kidding but I'm not O_O


I love to read, of course. I love movies, visiting with friends, hanging out with my family. I love to travel, though I don't get to do that as much as I'd like. I love love LOVE live music. I don't get to see as much of that as I'd like either. The last live show I went to was Patrick Wolf in June '09. It was a wonderful show, if I could do that once a week -- or, hell, once a month -- I'd be a happy camper :D


Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
I have not, no, and I don't plan to. I seriously doubt I ever will. I'm sort of in awe of people who are able to successfully collaborate on a story. I think I would have a difficult time doing that, myself.


Do you have any pen names? If so why do you choose to use a pen name?
Yes I do! Ally Blue is a pen name :) I use a pen name instead of my real name basically because of my day job. Working is not an option for me, it's a necessity, and my employer could conceivably fire me if they felt that what I write reflected badly on the company. Now, I don't know that they would think that. For all I know, the hospital where I work would be supportive. But I don't want to bet the grocery money on it, so I use a pen name.


Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
Wisdom? Hm, let's see. Always wash your hands after you go to the bathroom? Floss every day? Don't put your money in your back pocket unless you really don't want it anymore? Duct tape fixes everything?


Yeah, I'm out. LOL. No, wait, read Steven's awesome book reviews! And read my books! There, I plugged us both. Heh. That sounded really dirty *g*

As if we don't spend enough time chatting via email and your yahoo group (listed under the links section on the main page). I want to thank you again for being so gracious in sharing your time and your books with me. The "Follower's" I am sure love to hear abour you nearly as much as I do. I am looking forward to continue reading your other books, especially the Bay City Paranormal Investigators series. Best wishes to you and your family, and to the "undercover job."

Thanks for having me as your guest, hon, I really enjoyed answering your questions!




Thursday, March 18, 2010

Amanda Ashley Interview

Amanda Ashley was the second book review I worked on for this blog. It is truly an honor to have her cooperation and blessing to do an interview with. I only became aware of her late in 2009. First with her novel Immortal Sins, to which I followed up with Everlasting Kiss; and ARC she kindly sent me to review. I hope you all will enjoy finding out more from this amazing woman below, as I did.

What inspired you to become a writer?
Mainly boredom! My husband worked nights. My children were small. There was nothing on tv. I don’t remember exactly what prompted me to start writing late one night. I’d been reading a lot of historical romances, so of course that’s the genre I picked. And because I had always loved cowboys, Indians, and horses, my story was set in the Old West and my hero was a half-breed. The book was Comanche Flame (recently reissued by Leisure Books and also available as an audio book). I lived that book every waking moment, thought about it constantly, and didn’t tell a soul I was writing it.

How long have you been writing for?
Oh, gosh, it seems like forever. The first book I sold (which wasn’t the first book I wrote) was published in 1985. It took me six years to find a publisher, and I’d been writing for two or three years before a friend suggested I look for a publisher, so I've been writing for a long time. I've been published for 24 years. Hard to believe it's been that long!!!!

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
Why do people ask that? Don’t you know it’s like asking which child is your favorite? Of course, no mother ever admits to having a favorite, even if she does.


Having said that, I guess my favorite historical is Reckless Heart.


My favorite time travel is either The Angel and the Outlaw or Under a Prairie Moon. I can't decide.


My favorite vamp book is probably Embrace the Night, although I really love the book coming out in October, Everlasting Desire.

As an author, who is your favorite to read from?
Again, it’s hard to pick just one, but one of my favorite series of books is the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

What is your favorite genre?
Vampires, definitely!!!!!!

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer. :)
Read. Walk my dog. Spend time with my kids. Go to the movies. Go to lunch with my friends.

Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
No. No. I wouldn’t be good at that, unless we could do everything my way.

Do you have any pen names? If so why do you choose to use a pen name?
Amanda Ashley is my pen name. When my editor realized I was going to write more than one vampire book, she suggested I take a pen name so my readers wouldn’t pick up one of my books, thinking it was a western, only to find it was about vampires.

Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
Hmmm, words of wisdom….
Smile often.


Spend time with your children. They grow up way too fast.


Tell your parents you love them.


Don’t forget to be grateful for the blessings the Good Lord has given you.


Pray for our country and our troops.

Thank you for spending your valuable time with us. I personally am excited for Everlasting Desire to come out this Fall. The sequel to Everlasting Kiss that came out this February. Well Mandy keep up the great work. As always it's a pleasure to conversate with you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Peter Birkenhead Interview

What inspired you to become a writer?
I've always been a sort of compulsive writer. When I was a kid I was always jotting down notes and song lyrics and ideas for books or movies. But I didn't start writing professionally until just a few years ago, after many years of being an actor, when I realized I was starting to amass a pretty sizable chunk of writing that someone might actually want to read some day, and that I was bored with acting.



How long have you been writing for?
That switch from writing to acting happened about five years ago-not coincidentally around the time I met my wife, without whom I might still be a bored actor with a bunch of unpublished notebooks on his desk.


Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
Well, GONVILLE is my first book, so it is far and way my favorite. I also write for magazines and newspapers and blogs, and my favorite of those pieces is usually the most recent, which in this case is a post I did for the Huffington Post last week, called "Why Memoir?" It addresses what I think is a misunderstanding among some critics about why people are reading and writing memoirs.


As an author, who is your favorite to read from?
I love Michael Chabon. He's able to pack more in a sentence or on a page than any other contemporary writer, while at the same time making the experience of reading them like drinking clear water. I think Lorrie Moore is a kin of magician, especially in her short stories. And Wells Towers' debut collection from last year blew me away with its range and virtuosity.


What is your favorite genre?
I don't think I have a favorite, but when I was younger I read all the early twentieth century detective fiction--Hammet and Chandler, and their later imitators like William Kennedy--and I loved the way those stories were able to accommodate the whole spectrum of human experience without sacrificing humor or sex or entertainment value.


What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer. :)
Well, my wife and I have a four-month old baby, so spare time is a rumor in our house. But I can't think of anything I'd rather do than curl up with my daughter and watch her figure out how to touch her feet.


Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
I have never collaborated with another writer, but I would love to work with my mother or brother some day. They're both song writers (my mother is a Broadway lyricist who has a great new show coming up in the fall called Minsky's, that she wrote with Charles Strouse, of "Annie" and "Bye, Bye Birdie" fame, and my brother Richard is a rock and roll songwriter who's been in a bunch of bands, including one called Into Another, which was my personal favorite.)


Do you have any pen names? If so why do you choose to use a pen name?
No pen name. Some goofy screen names, but no pen name.


Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
I don't know if I have any wisdom for anyone. I'll say this, though: I am more and more impressed by how much good, how many different kinds of good things, including creativity, can come from kindness. Kindness is a fertile thing.

Peter, I had learned a lot about you via your memoir. Some of the things you touched on in this interview  elaborated on those. (Your mother's musical career, your brother's.) Congratulations to you and your wife on parenthood. Children are one of life's best miracles. It must have been a drastic change of pace for you to quit acting after all of them years. I can only wish you the best into your future of parenthood, and your writing. It was an amazing opportunity for you to allow me this interview.