Saturday, April 24, 2010

Author David Wellington Interview

One day I was browsing various websites and bookstores online. David's name and books popped up on one. I was immediately drawn towards them. I knew I had to read them and contact David in hopes of getting a review copy, an interview, and/or both! Much to my surprise he kindly obliged me with an interview and also an offer to send me a copy to review. I am really excited to post this interview with Mr. Wellington. I truly hope you all enjoy it as much as I am. (All pictures and David's bio courtesy of the author, David Wellington.)

What horror movie(s) drew you to writing fiction novels?
It was more books that drew me to writing. I read a lot of horror as a kid, probably at far too young an age. Stephen King, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, anything I could get my hands on. It gave me nightmares, in a good way.

I loved the video "13 bullets: The Evolution of Horror" featured on your website. Were you there for the making of it?
Unfortunately, no. It would have been a lot of fun... for the first fifteen minutes, probably. The whole process documented in that video took hours. Then it was even more hours in editing... all for a minute and fifteen seconds of video!

You have amazing (book) cover graphics. Are they all done by the same artist?
The covers are fantastic, aren't they? The designs are by a variety of different artists, but it was Barbara Sturman who designed the cover of 99 Coffins, which was the first of my books to use the distinctive style--and it still might be my favorite. I love the green color of the type.

Are you planning on anymore steampunk horror novels aside from "Green Smoke?"
Not at the moment, but I rarely plan a project very far in the future. I write the book that appeals to me at the time--if a steampunk story comes to me, I won't have any choice but to write it.

Do you have any upcoming tours or signings?
At the moment there's nothing planned. But when events come up, I'll be posting about them on my website,

Have you gotten any movie offers? Or do you not want your works made into movies?
I'd love to see my books turned into movies. They've all been optioned, but of course it's a very long process from option to finished movie.

How long did it take for you to finish your first novel?
My first novel, which I wrote when I was thirteen, took me about six months. Monster Island, my first published novel, took exactly five months to write. I posted it online in serial form, putting each chapter up on the web as soon as I was finished writing it. I posted sixty chapters, three times a week, so--exactly five months.

Do you write full time? What did you do before you began writing?
I write full time--it's a great privilege, for which I thank my readers. They've made it possible for me to live my dream. Before I did this, I worked as a librarian for the United Nations. I was laid off from that job about a week after I got my first book deal. It was a trade-off I didn't mind making.

 David Wellington's Bio
"David Wellington is the author of seven novels. His zombie novels “Monster Island”, “Monster Nation” and “Monster Planet”(Thunder’s Mouth Press) form a complete trilogy. He has also written a series of vampire novels including (so far) “Thirteen Bullets”, “Ninety-Nine Coffins”, “Vampire Zero” and “Twenty-Three Hours”, and in October of 2009 began his new Werewolf series, starting with “Frostbite” (all with Three Rivers Press). In 2004 he began serializing his horror fiction online, posting short chapters of a novel three times a week on a friend’s blog. Response to the project was so great that in 2004 Thunder’s Mouth Press approached Mr. Wellington about publishing “Monster Island” as a print book. His novels have been featured in Rue Morgue, Fangoria, and the New York Times. For more information please visit"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Author Phil Bowie Interview

This is another author I was so happy to be able to interview! Last year before I had moved to North Carolina, I had visited the Cherokee Native American Reservation in Cherokee, NC. As I was going thru one of the stores, I was immediately stopped at its book section. There were a crap load of this one authors books named Phil Bowie. The cover art was appealing. I flipped them over in a frantic state of mind eager to find out what it was about. I thought, "JACKPOT!" Then for months I couldn't remember the name of the author or the books. It was beginning to frustrate me badly.

Then I began doing book reviews, quite frequently as you have noticed, and had just finished Vicki Hinze's "Forget Me Not." (Phil and Vicki are both Medallion Press authors!)  If it weren't for Vicki sending me an extre gift of her novel "War Games: Kill Zone," I would have never found Phil I doubt. In the back of her book had Phil's ads for the books I was searching for, for months! I immediately logged on to his site and emailed him. Much to my surprise he responded back in lightning speed. He has since sent me autographed copies of all three novels, and blessed me with this interview for you all. Thank you again Phil. I can't wait to begin the novels and send you the reviews.

Why did you choose to include Native American culture/characters in your John Hardin series?
I've long been fascinated by Native American cultures, in particular the Cherokees because they once were spread over such a large area, parts of what I believe are now eight states. They had a refined system for governing themselves, with seven distinct clans and women included in their councils. I also admire their art--exquisite pottery, wood carving, and basketry. And my lady Naomi is part Cherokee.

You seem to be a man of many talents! Pilot, captain, author, biker and you work at a college. Is it safe to say you are a fearless man?I don't consider myself fearless. Far from it. But I've always been attracted to adventure in my reading and in life. Even did some skydiving when I was young and immortal (30 jumps), although it terrified me. Flying a Cessna tests various skills and judgements, provides a sense of freedom, and offers breathtaking perspectives of our enthralling planet. Riding a motorcycle also offers freedom, a sense of personal power, and immersion in the elements--you can smell the flowers and the fresh-cut grass, and sense every temperature change. My Dad and I built a 14-foot runabout when I was in high school, and also a racing hydroplane, working in our basement from plans. That led to a lifelong interest in all kinds of boats and an eventual master captain's license. Now, delivering yachts and running a trawler for NC State University provides fun and extra income. I think life should be a great adventure, and we each should experience as much of it as possible. And a variety of experiences can only enrich my fiction.

Have you received a review or praise from someone you least expected? What was your reaction?Can you tell us a little about your "Vices" project?
Top gun best seller Lee Child kindly gave me a cover plug for my first yarn, GUNS. My publisher then sent me to SleuthFest 08 in Fort Lauderdale, where Lee was the keynote speaker and guest of honor. By the hotel pool one evening, he said he would write a story for an anthology if I would. Later on in the conference he said, "Why don't you come up with a theme for it?" That led to me acting as the editor. I chose the title and theme VICES, and a number of fine authors agreed to join the roster, each choosing some vice to build a story around. My agent is working on selling the anthology to a publisher, but this crazy business sometimes moves at about the same speed as a glacier. I'm optimistic we'll find a buyer, because we have such a stellar roster of authors. Each of my three books has been endorsed by a top author--Lee Child, Ridley Pearson, and Stephen Coonts, respectively. I was surprised and grateful these guys would take time out of hectic schedules to read my work and kindly offer plugs. But that's typical of authors I've met who are at the top of the game. Almost without exception, they've been most cordial and helpful. Really fine people. If I ever make it anywhere near the top of the mountain, I hope I'll remember to pass that kind of help along to other struggling writers. I also have a folder filled with kind notes and e-mails from readers from as far away as Sweden, and that's most gratifying. It's what really keeps me going late into many nights.

What is it like for you when you go on your book tour/signings?
The first thing I learned after my book was bought by a publisher, the contract was signed, I cashed the advance check, and it finally appeared on bookshelves, was that I was expected to go out there and sell the thing. At first I disliked book signings. It felt pretentious to sign my autograph, and I had no idea how to sell books to passersby. Soon, though, it became a challenge. I experimented with some displays and signs I made myself, and my publisher supplied some graphics and eventually a really nice roll-up display. I developed a simple spiel, and tried to engage every reader who walked by my table. You never know how a signing will go. A big chain store might not work so well as you might think, especially in a bigger city where people are assailed by all kinds of advertising and pitches every hour of their lives. You tend to get lost in all that clamor. A small out-of-the-way store can often be better. I went to a Waldenbooks in Southern Pines, for example, and as soon as I saw that it was a tiny store in a strip mall, I regretted driving so far, but that afternoon I sold 78 books, which was all the store had stocked. I like doing signings now. You just never know, and it's always a challenge. And it's great to meet a wide variety of fascinating folks

The novel you're working on set in your hometown- is there any truth to it aside from the actual city?
My new novel is about a federal probation officer who's also an amateur astronomer. I have a good friend who is a probation officer, and I've long been intrigued by astronomy. I don't know of a similar protagonist in suspense fiction, so the character is fresh, unlike just another P.I. or ex-cop. I set it in my hometown because that's where many of my readers live, so it ought to boost sales. And I think New Bern will be interesting to any reader elsewhere. I've long admired people like Carl Sagan and Neil Degrasse Tyson, who have worked to enlighten us about the cosmos, and I wanted to spread a little of that wonderful knowledge myself, if possible, hence my hero's astronomy hobby. The novel is titled DENT and focuses on the crystal meth trade, which is no more prevalent in eastern North Carolina than it is anywhere else. It's a menace to our society everywhere, and apparently its use is growing.

Is there a book you just can't get enough of?
I read voraciously. In fact, I just finished up as a judge in the Best Hardback division of the International Thriller Writers awards program, so I got a lot of free books in and got introduced to a number of excellent new writers. In no particular order, I like Lee Child, Gregg Hurwitz, Janet Evanovich, Laura Lippman, James Lee Burke, John D. Macdonald, James W. Hall, Wilbur Smith, and a long, long list of other fine authors whose works I snatch up as soon as they come out.

When you travel do you hit bookstores seeking out your novel's displays?
It's nice to know my books have been sold in many bookstores and folk are checking them out in libraries, but I tend to focus on new projects much more. I'm trying my hand at several short stories right now for various anthologies and contests. I think it's a special art. There's just no space in a short story for lengthy backgrounding or character building, so you have to write tightly, economically, with not a single unneccessary word. In many ways good short stories are harder to write than novels, though a novel is certainly a long, lonely slog. I'm ruminating about doing a novel set largely at sea right now.

If I were to look at your bookcase(s), what would I see?
If you were to look anywhere in my house, you'd see books--shelves stuffed, boxes in the closets and in my shed stuffed. I need to have a book yard sale, but how would I choose which ones to let go?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Author Andrea Cremer

                                                            Photo by: Gina Monroe

Andrea is another of my 2010 Debute Author Challenge- author's. At the time I had requested a copy of "Nightshade," it hadn't even gone into print mode yet! Andrea kindly offered to do an interview. I recently was contacted by her publisher as they were compiling the list for reviewers of her upcoming novel. I am so excited for Andrea and her book. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I have. Thank you Andrea for your time and consideration. Congratulations. I hope we see more of your work in the future!

What inspired you to become a writer?

I've always scribbled stories and I don't think I was particularly inspired to become a writer. It was more of a freak accident - a horse broke my foot in the summer of 2008 and I couldn't walk for eight weeks. I decided to try my hand at writing a novel and it was like opening the floodgates. I knew there was nothing else I wanted more than to pursue a full-time writing career.

How long have you been writing for?
Forever! But I only decided to try to make a go of it professionally two years ago.

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
Definitely NIGHTSHADE because it's the book that started it all.

As an author who is your favorite to read from?
There are a variety of authors I love to read: long-time favorites are Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and Kurt Vonnegut. More recently I love the work of Cassandra Clare, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Libba Bray, and Melissa Marr.

What is your favorite genre?
Fantasy of any kind.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer! :)
Reading! That's probably not an answer either. I have two dogs and I love taking long walks with them. I enjoy staring up at trees. And I love yoga.

Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
Not yet. Ummmmm, I'm really not sure. I'd be delighted to be in short-story anthology, but I have a very solitary method of writing I think collaborating with another author on a single work would be tough for me.

Do you have any pen name(s)? If so, why do you choose to use a pen name?
Nope. I am Andrea Cremer and she is me.

Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
It's important to pursue dreams, despite how distant or unreachable they might seem. I never thought I could really become a novelist and now I can't believe I didn't go after that dream sooner. You have to be willing to fail to achieve anything worth while. Falling down and get up again is part of the process.

Andrea I want to thank you for this exciting interview with you. I am so eager to begin the "Nightshade" series and also looking forward to the steampunk series "The Inventor's Secret." Things are going quite well for you and I can only wish you even more luck, but clearly you don't need it. Keep in touch with us Andrea.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Author Stefan Petrucha Interview

                                                             Photo by: Sarah Kinney

I contacted Stefan in hopes of doing a review for his novel "Split." I had asked for an advanced review copy and he had asked if a final copy was ok instead?! Final copies are even better. I am excited to begin this interesting book. In the meantime Stefan kindly graces us with an interview. See what he has to say. Thank you Stefan for your time and generosity.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I just always liked slinging sentences together, and people have been telling me I’m pretty good at it since 5th grade or so. I had a pal when I was around ten, Jim Salicrup, who was an impressive artist. It was at that point I actually started thinking well, if he can draw, I can be a writer. He’s currently editor of many of many graphic novels (including Nancy Drew and Diary of a Stinky Dead Kid) over at Papercutz Publishing, so things worked out for both of us.

Over the years, it’s just been something I kept doing. In Junior High I wrote my first screenplay, a satire of House of Dark Shadows, a vampire movie based on a 1960s soap opera. My 9th grade class currently has a Facebook page (I guess everyone is getting organized these days) and it’s been nice to hear that they remember me for that.

I knew some beginning writers who liked to fiddle with their first sentences over and over again, but my theory was always that if I just kept writing (and editing later) eventually I’d get better at it.

How long have you been writing for?
Professionally, I became a tech write in the mid-eighties, and by the end of the decade had my first comic book work published. So… whoa… thirty years?

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
Tough question, I’m fond of a lot of them, so I don’t really have a single favorite. My first self-published novel, Making God, a hard look at religion wrapped in an exciting adventure story (years before the DaVinci Code!), is near and dear to my heart. I also like Shadow of Frankenstein, a sequel to the 1930s Universal horror film with Colin Clive and Boris Karloff, and The Rule of Won, a very wry look at group thinking and wish fulfillment cults in high school. Then there’s my Timetripper series from Razorbill, a lot – about a teenager who sort of falls out of linear time. I could go on and on.

As an author who is your favorite to read from?
I haven’t been blown away in a while. I like MT Anderson’s Feed a great deal, and I’ve always been a John Steinbeck fan, particularly Cannery Row. Reality twisting sci-fi author Phillip K. Dick is another favorite – Bladerunner was based on one of his books, more recently, Through a Scanner Darkly. I’m also a big fan of 13th century Persian poet Rumi.

What is your favorite genre?
From the above, it seems science fiction. I tend toward genre, fantasy/science fiction/mystery/horror, but I also like the more “literary” stuff, Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot), Kafka (Metamorphosis). There’ve been so many books that have intrigued, touched or impressed me in so many different ways, it’s hard to keep track. The last book I enjoyed reading was Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. I’m also enjoying the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, so there’s a big variation.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer! :)
Well, I haven’t got any really! I enjoy spending time with the family, watching movies, and occasionally indulging in computer games, mostly the strategy-type, like Sid Meir’s Civilization, but I haven’t had the chance to do much of that lately. Too busy writing!

Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
Yes, I was very pleased to be able to collaborate with award-winning horror writer Thomas Pendleton (aka Lee Thomas) on the Wicked Dead series for HarperCollins, spooky stories told by dead girls haunting an orphanage. We were both part of the same writing group and came up with the concept during car rides on the way home. The series petered out after five books, but I’d be happy to work on it with him again.

Over the last two years I’ve also been very fortunate to work with Ryan Buell, the star of the A&E reality series, Paranormal State on his book – a totally fascinating behind the scenes look at their first paranormal investigations. After a lifelong love of the strange, and working with the paranormal as fiction (writing the X-Files comic book for Topps) it was amazing to be able to spend time dealing with the real thing. The book is Paranormal State: My Journey into the Unknown from HarperCollins It! Books, and it’ll be out this September.

Do you have any pen name(s)? If so, why do you choose to use a pen name?Nope! It’s always been me!

 Do you have any words of wisdom or any other thoughts for the readers and your fans?
I’d like to remind everyone to check out my latest book, Split , and keep an eye out for my first original “adult” novel, Blood Prophecy about a vampire Indiana Jones-type character at the turn of the 19th century. That’ll also be out this fall from Grand Central Books. And do please drop by my website, any time! Thanks for having me aboard, Steven!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Author Deb Caletti Interview

A few questions for Deb, posed by readers, reporters, law-enforcement officials, and other inquisitive types…

What message do you most want your readers to get from QUEEN?
I would hope that people would stop and think about judgment – how easily it is done, and yet how complex an issue it really is. Also, that life can be like a kitchen junk drawer full of cool things and horrible things, meaningful things and everyday ones. Sometimes life is love and terror and inspiration, and sometimes it’s just looking for where you put your car keys. We never know what will come our way, but when the really awful times come, we have an amazing ability to get through them, especially if we find home – who we most are, and who is most there for us.

What inspired you to write QUEEN?
Several things inspired me to write it. I had recently seen a newspaper article describing a crime of passion and it mentioned that the man involved had a daughter. I just had to wonder what she must have gone through – I mean, this is your FATHER, the guy who cleans the gutters and eats Altoids and tells you not to put your gum in the car ashtray. How would this feel? What would it be like if your sense of stability just disappeared? So that was the seed of the book. I was also living at that time in one of those suburban neighborhoods where the men all start their lawn mowers at the same time on Saturday morning, and the women don’t have much to talk about except each other. I started worrying I might catch conformity like you get some virus. What I noticed was that the people who were deemed “normal” seemed a lot wackier and off the mark than the supposed “abnormal” people. I was disturbed how it seemed that people’s priorities were all messed up – that the one with the biggest TV and credit card bill was supposedly the winner. I found that the most real people were the ones that had to/chose to be true to themselves. Jordan makes that realization.

Tall, Double Tall, or Grande?
Grande. And one of those cookies with the chunks of butterscotch and white chocolate.

Can you tell more about your background?
I was born in San Rafael, California. My mother was a bit of a hippie like Jordan’s Mom – she volunteered for Greenpeace and political campaigns and worked at schools helping disadvantaged kids learn to read. Later she owned her own business, a retail store. My Dad was in the optometric field, but was NOT like Jordan’s dad in other ways. Can we get that straight right now? He’s a wonderful guy and never murdered anyone! He’d look terrible in an orange prison jumpsuit! My parents, my older sis (my best pal – Sue, I’m sorry for biting you when I was six. And seven. And eight.) and I moved to the Northwest when I was ten. I spent Jr. High and High School in Kirkland, WA., a town on the banks of Lake Washington. In high school, I loved writing, speech, drama, and was in a lot of plays and spent a lot of time wishing I were somewhere else. I graduated from the University of Washington where I studied journalism, because nobody ever really becomes a novelist. While I was there, I wrote for the paper and read the news on a local radio station and experimented with plays and short stories. After I earned my journalism degree, I realized I wasn’t a journalist and that I still wanted to write books.

Do you know just how fast you were going, Miss?
Oh shit.

How much of your books are based in real life?
Okay, for the last time – MY FATHER DIDN’T MURDER ANYONE! He was a normal parent! He taught me to drive! (Sorry, Dad, maybe you don’t want to take blame for that). He taught me how to use power tools! (Okay, Dad. Maybe you don’t want to take blame for that, either). My mother actually SHAVES! (Mom, are you happy I’ve cleared that up, now?) Actually, this is something everyone wants to know. The people who really know you are the ones that ask it even MORE. What are you guys so nervous about? Didn’t I promise I wouldn’t write about that time with the women’s nylons? I think every writer takes off from the experiences or just the emotion of their own lives. I always try to make people feel better by saying the only character I’ve ever taken directly from life was my old neighbor’s dog. But really, you take bits and parts of things that are real and weave them together in the best way for the story and so that your (former) friends don’t set your house on fire. In QUEEN, there actually was a guy that used to play the bagpipes in my old neighborhood. It was weird and wonderful, and he just had to become a character. Jordan’s stepfather was created after seeing this amazing artwork hanging in the trees on Orcas Island, and Big Mama was based on a mentor and friend of mine. She has that same warm wisdom. In HONEY, there is actually a lot that is based on real life – mostly the relationship that exists between the characters, which is similar to that of mine with my kids. I stole a lot of lines from them, and that is in part why the book is dedicated to them. The setting is very much what we see every day, down to the paragliders that get stuck in the trees. WILD ROSES is primarily fictional, but my experiences with divorce drove much of its feeling.

It is about a girl and her mom with very screwed-up love lives. They get involved reuniting a pair of old lovers, and embark on an adventure that opens their eyes about love and living.

What inspired you to write HONEY?
I was thinking a lot about crappy relationships and divorce and how it seems that young women and not-so-young women have a tendency to lose themselves in someone else. I wanted to say to women, and say to myself, that we needed to look outside of love for meaning in our lives. At the same time, I didn’t want any of us to lose faith in the good kind of love. The story came about when I heard that an aged and ill relative of mine was being kept apart from the little old man who loved her. He wanted desperately to be with her. “We are soul mates,” he had said.

Why is there profanity in your book?
A lot of people ask this. Some love it, some hate it. It’s simple, really. Some people swear in my books because they are the type of people who would swear. Others don’t, because they are the type of people who wouldn’t swear. Honesty is the most important thing to me in my work. If I’m not being honest, then I should be fired from my job. It is not my aim to show an idealized world. It is my aim to show the world as it is in all of its beauty and messiness and variety and wackiness and rare moments of perfection. If a character that is a thug gets kicked in the nuts, he will not say Oh golly! If a nun gets kicked in the nuts (okay, she doesn’t have nuts, but you know what I mean) she won’t shout the things that others with larger wardrobe choices and less comfy shoes would.

How do you keep so amazingly fit and in good shape?
Okay, so no one has ever really asked me this.

Are the locations in your book real places?
Parrish Island, of QUEEN, isn’t a real place, but is based on several San Juan islands in Washington State. It’s got a lot of Friday Harbor in it, with some Orcas Island thrown in, and a pinch of Lopez. The islands are amazing places, with great whale watching. The place where Jackson brings Jordan, that stone table, is actually there in Friday Harbor, as is the hotel (and the rabbits!). The stone table is amazingly eerie but awesome. Nine Mile Falls, where Jordan goes near the end of the book, is based on the town in Washington where I live, called Issaquah. It is also the setting for HONEY. Most of that setting is just as we see it, with the mountains and the paragliders and the nursery. I have a salmon-running creek that runs through my property, so salmon make an appearance in both books. I change the names of things so that I have the freedom to get the details wrong without people correcting me, but then I get confused in my real life what things are actually called. In terms of “Issaquah”, I believe it is a Native American word meaning hard to pronounce and impossible to spell.”

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I think being a writer is about who you are, more than about the task itself. It is a way of looking at the world, a state of observance coupled with a deep need to make sense of the life and the people around you. If this is truly you, you won’t be able to help the desire to write, but you’ll need to learn to write and write well. Read everything you can. That is the best way to learn – reading the bad stuff, reading the great stuff. Write, write and write some more, and submit your work wherever you can. More than anything else, focus on the goal and don’t let go. Being an author is one of the Big Dreams. You have a better chance of becoming a rock star or an astronaut, so persistence is everything. QUEEN, the first of my books to be published, was the fifth book I wrote. If I didn’t have this feeling that being a writer was who I most was, and that giving up on the dream would be giving up on myself, I likely wouldn’t have kept going. I was (and still am) motivated by my profound love and respect of books and the feeling that being a writer is the ultimate PRIVILEGE. If you want to be a writer, have the determination of a dog with a knotted sock. Sink your teeth in and don’t give up. Become who you are, as Nietzsche said.

Can you explain The Big Bang?
Well, I just went to look for my favorite jean shorts and pulled out this old sun hat from the top shelf in my closet, thereby starting an avalanche of a whole bunch of things I’d been looking for for a long time but thought I gave away to the Salvation Army. I believe the big bang was my ex-husband’s old shoe-shine kit, hitting the edge of the tub, and maybe a couple of books, too, and a pair of snow boots and, okay, those exercise weights I used for about two weeks. Steve, I know I shouldn’t have kept the shoe shine kit, but I really liked all of the little tins of polish of different colors (black and brown, all right) and the helpful slanted wood thing you put the shoe on, and besides, my dad gave it to you anyway.

I want to be a writer. Do I need an agent?
If you have already written a book, and have hopes of being published by a major publisher, then yes.

Can I have my old shoe shine kit back?
No, Steve.

What do you like most about being a writer?
I like getting to be honest, and saying what you think and feel. I like the chance to really stop and try to figure things out. It’s cheaper than therapy. And I love being required to live in a way that is more observant. You’ve got to be open to those fine details that can escape people going about busy lives. You’ve got to notice. Details are what make something vivid and real – oranges in a tree, a yellow dog in a field, what rain smells like. A passing glance, a feather on the ground, what is in someone’s heart. Those inane thoughts we have, sticking your finger in the wax to make those creepy fake fingertips, an expectant sky. Being aware of the details of human experience lead to those moments when you are most alive. I love that as a writer, this is made necessary.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
I like contemporary authors such as Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Tyler, Richard Russo, Michael Chabon, Alice Hoffman, Charles Baxter, Elizabeth Berg, Pat Conroy, Clyde Edgerton. I also love the contemporary masters – Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Updike, Woolf, Cheever. All of the ones you don’t need a first name for. Flannery O’Connor is a special favorite, as is any great Southern writer. I read a lot of non-fiction. I’ll read just about anything on any topic, especially science, anthropology, art, literature, history. Okay, I’d never read a math book. Bill Bryson is a current favorite, for laugh-out-loud writing.

What is your favorite book?
This is always such an impossible question to answer. It’s like being asked what your favorite memory is, or friend, or vacation place. Same with music – it’s such a big part of my life I couldn’t pick just one song. But if I were in some kind of Stephen King novel where they tie the author to the bedposts and hold a Butterfinger just out of her reach until she answers, I’d have to give in and say The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. I still get excited every time they get through the wardrobe and are standing under the lamppost in the snow. After reading it, I always imagined Turkish Delight to be this amazing and wonderful thing until I actually had some. It’s disgusting. Horrible. You’d rather lick the bottom of your shoe. It was so disappointing.

Do you floss regularly?
God, you dental hygienists are pains. You should know we always lie anyway.

Why did you write WILD ROSES?
I wanted to explore the connections between genius and madness, and the questions this common pairing brings. Namely, why? Why did some form of mental illness haunt Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, Cezanne, Gaugin. Tolstoy, Walt Whitman, Michaelangelo. Beethoven, Robert Frost, to name only a very few among MANY. I think the subject is fascinating.

I also wanted to write about divorce, remarriage and step-families in a very real way. My own parents were divorced, and my kids have gone through my divorce from their dad. I know how much it all hurts, and how hard it is when your parents yank on you and continually test your loyalties. I know how badly parents act during a divorce. During a divorce? Heck, for years and years afterward. So I wanted to say to my teen readers that I’ve noticed, I feel your pain, I understand, I’m sorry. And I wanted to say to the adults who read this book, I’ve noticed, I feel your pain, I’ve made your mistakes, and can’t we do better?

Paper or plastic?
Paper, please. And the bags with the handles are the best.

Where do you get your ideas?
I get asked this all the time and it always strikes me as funny. Where DON’T you get ideas? My real problem is keeping track of all the little slips of paper and gum wrappers and electric bills that I write my ideas on. There are two tips I have regarding remembering your great ideas:

1. Turn on a light when you write something down in the middle of the night. If you scrawl notes in the dark, in the morning that truly profound thought you had and have now forgotten will read something like, “My banana dance in Yugoslav country.”

2. Don’t write down ideas while driving. Enough said.

What was your first job?
I taught little kids how to swim when I was fifteen. Here is what I learned: One. Little kids scream really loud. Two. They are tough to uncling from fences and your bathing suit top. 3. If you are a swimming teacher, wear a one-piece.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, I always wanted to be a writer. There was that brief period of wanting to be Nancy Drew. And I began the application process to become an FBI agent, until I realized there was no way I’d ever be able to climb that rope thing. Sometimes I still want to be a cowgirl. But writing has always been the place I feel most like myself. It’s more who I am than what I do.

Where do you find meaning in your life?
In my family. In my work. Sitting in a hammock under a palm tree. At the beach. Riding in the Jeep with the top down and the music on. In books. In a pan of warm brownies.

Are you working on a new book?
Yes. Right now, I’m working on my newest book, titled The Secret Life of Prince Charming. Before you’ll see that one, though, you’ll see the release of “The Fortunes of Indigo Skye,” in April ‘08. It’s about a waitress with a great family and a hunky refregerator-delivery-guy boyfriend. Her life changes one day when she gets a big tip. A BIG tip. And to all those of you who write to me and ask for a sequel to The Nature of Jade – it’s not on the horizon yet, but you never know. Thank you, though, for wanting to know what happens to Jade and Sebastian.

Why is my shirt pink?
To all the members of my household, I am sorry. The good news is that ALL of your laundry is pink. You’ll never have to worry about what matches with what again.

This was taken off Deb's site with permission from her. She is quite busy in her current writings, and is unable to do interviews at this time. However I hope this interview gives you an insight into author Deb Caletti's literary world. I am gracious for her cooperation and to Taryn Rosada for assisting me with the photos and the Q&A.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Author Vicki Lewis Thompson Interview

I contacted Vicki in hopes of doing a review for her new series "Babes on Brooms." Ms. Thompson kindly sent me her last copy of "Blonde With A Wand, "Chick With A Charm," and an autographed postcard with both books cover art on it. Vicki is a very kind woman, and I am so fortunate for her to have done this interview with me. She has a new series coming out this summer, "Sons of Change." Stay tuned for that. Thank you Vicki for your sweetness and juicy novels.
What inspired you to become a writer?

My mom. She loved to write and encouraged me to try my hand at it, even as a little kid.

How long have you been writing for?
Since I was about eight.

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
My favorite is NERD IN SHINING ARMOR, both because it was so much fun to write and because that's the book that put me on the NYT bestseller list.

 As an author who is your favorite to read from?
I'm currently loving The #1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.

What is your favorite genre?
Romance is my favorite genre, but I read all kinds of books.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer! :)
I have a heavy-duty writing schedule, so there's not much spare time involved, but I watch movies and read books, and I'm always happy to go to Disneyland and ride the roller coasters. They're great stress-busters!

 Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
Early in my career I co-authored several romances with another writer. Although it was fun, I've now become too protective of my stories to be able to do it now.

Do you have any pen name(s)? If so, why do you choose to use a pen name?

Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
Wow, I'm not sure if I'm qualified to hand out wisdom, but I will say that my life improved a thousand percent once I started doing something I loved. That turned out to be romance writing, and I've managed to support myself for twenty-seven years as an author. I would wish that kind of job satisfaction for everyone. If you can find out what you love doing and figure out a way to make money at it, you're a very lucky person indeed.

Vicki I wanted to thank you again for doing this interview and for gifting me copies of "Blonde With A Wand" & "Chick With A Charm," along with the autographed postcard. You have such a warm, bright personality that is really refreshing. I hope we hear from you in the future.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Author Robin Friedman Interview

I was really inspired by Robin's book, before I even read it, "Nothing," about a teen boy facing bulimia. It's an enigma of sorts on this topic. You rarely hear of boys having eating disorders. It moved me that Robin wanted to make the public know of this. She kindly sent me a copy of the book upon my request to do a review. Thank you Robin for your time, knowledge and kind heart!
What inspired you to become a writer?

I've wanted to be a writer since the age of five. It was something I've always wanted to do since before I can remember, an innate need, like people who pursue music or art.

How long have you been writing?
Since the age of five! Professionally, though, since graduating from college. I also wrote for my high school and college newspapers before I got my degrees.

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
I don't play favorites; most authors don't. It's like picking your favorite child! I love them all for different reasons:

-HOW I SURVIVED MY SUMMER VACATION because it's my first
-THE SILENT WITNESS because it's a true story
-THE GIRLFRIEND PROJECT because it's my first contemporary YA
-NOTHING because it's about a serious, important issue
-THE IMPORTANCE OF WINGS because it's based on my own childhood

As an author who is your favorite to read from?
I don't have a favorite author, but I do have favorite genres. Maybe because I write fiction, I tend to enjoy nonfiction when I'm reading. I love biographies, memoirs, and anything having to do with American history.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer! :)
Oh, I wouldn't have said writing! Because writing is work, not pleasure! Although it can be lots of fun, and certainly fulfilling. I love cooking and baking, gardening, animals, and going on road trips.

Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
Read what you love, not what's currently popular. And keep reading, because you'll learn about the world and about human nature, and most importantly, become a thinker, someone who can look at life critically, without being swayed by what's fashionable.

Robin I really enjoyed this insider look with you. On behalf of my readers, and Follower's I want to thank you for your time and words. Your wisdom insight was wonderful. Please don't be a stranger and check on in with us whenever you're free!

May Interview Schedule

May Interview Schedule:

May 23- Carrie Vaughn Interview

May 24- Michael Beres Interview

May 25- Kristina McBride Interview

May 26- Kimberly Derting Interview

May 27- Selena Robins Interview

May 28- Jen Nadol Interview

May 29- Susan B Pfeffer Interview

(Authors: June Interview's are still available contact me for an interview.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Currently Reading

Hey readers! Just wanted to drop a note on what I am currently reviewing for author's. This week I said I had a goal of finishing 4-5 ARC's, considering they keep coming in double the amount I finish reading. I finished one so far this week, Saint Iggy, and currently reading three:

Moonshine: A Novel by Alaya Dawn Johnson (part of my 2010 Debute Author Challenge)
Firespell: A Novel of the Dark Elite by Chloe Neill
Frostbite: A Werewolf Tale by David Wellington (Oct 09)

I also want to let you all know that I will be moving due to a family emergency. I am not sure when I will have the internet up and running at the new place yet, but I will be checking my emails and logging on here to check updates and post reviews when the time permits me to. I have since figured out how to change my email accounts name since there was a misunderstanding, my name is STEVEN, hence "Steven's Cybrary." LOL! As of Monday I have my email set to "vacation" until I am able to check my email on a regular basis.

If you're an author, or publisher who would like me to do a review, please feel free to send me an email. I have my address in my signature along with my blog, Good Reads, & Facebook Fan Page links. You can send the review copies to that address and I will contact you as soon as I can. Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saint Iggy by K.L. Going


When Iggy Corso gets kicked out of high school, there's no one for him to tell. His mother has gone off, his father is stoned on the couch, and because the phone's been disconnected, even the social worker can't get through. So Iggy goes out into the world to make something of his life, but that's not easy when you're sixteen, have no skills, and your only friend is a law school dropout. But Iggy is... Iggy, and he's got the kind of wisdom that lets him see things no one else can."

I want to thank K.L Going for sending me a copy of Saint Iggy to review. Although this was a 2006 release, the story was too captivating for me to pass bye. From the opening scene it is evident that K.L. wants to grab the reader's focus. This scene set the pace for the entire story. Iggy is a victim of his parent's drug addictions. He was born a crystal meth baby. No one, not even his parent's, understand Iggy. He is mistaken as a druggy because of his "rental units" and everyone thinks he's nothing but trouble.

Mrs. Brando, Iggy's former Spanish teacher, accuses Iggy of threatening her. Thanks to her Iggy is suspended and this begins his downward spiral of mistaken identity. The only person Iggy can turn to is his friend Mo. Mo is a confused soul himself. Throughout the story you follow Iggy & Mo on their adventures in drugs and spirituality. Iggy finally finds a stable adult he can rely on, Mo's mom. Mo's mom tries to teach Iggy things to help him win his entrance back into high school and revoke the suspended sentence. Things escalate and Mo & Iggy are in the middle of a serious drug predicament. I can't go any further without ruining this amazing story.

I really didn't expect this story to exceed my expectations to be honest. I knew with its premise it was going to be great. I just didn't realize how moving and close to home this novel would take me. If Ms. Going hasn't been around the drug scene, it's amazing how perfect she writes that lifestyle. I think this is a great book to recommend to all of the misunderstood teenage boys all over the world. This story will move you and touch upon your soul in ways you could never expect.

There with three quotes from the story I wanted to share. Each one meant something different for me.

"Mo says life can change on a dime, and I haven't got a dime, but me and Mo together- we can probably get one." (This for me is just too realistic. I have known the feeling of being penniless, LITERALLY, among other things. So this really hit a spot for me.)

"Mo grins. He tries to stop but can't, so it comes out lopsided, like a guru who just got laid." (This was probably one of the most funniest lines I read in the whole book.)

"That's a good example, he says. Human beings certainly are fickle creatures, blown by the winds of our desires." (This is a quote I think anyone can really relate too. There's really no more need for me to go on with an explanation of why I like this."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Steven's Cybrary On Facebook!

Hey readers! Well my friend Lena gave me the suggestion a week or so ago to make a Fan Page on Facebook for Steven's Cybrary. Why I didn't think of this sooner, I have no clue! Another friend pointed out that he was full of my "book review" updates. Although my pride may have been wounded briefly he was right. Anyways it's late, I'm tired, and need to begin my next review reading session. Here's the link, feel free to add me.

P.S. I also finished Saint Iggy by K.L. Going tonight. I will be posting the review later Tuesday sometime. Ok, off to begin Moonshine: A Novel by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Part of the 2010 Debute Author Challenge and out in stores this May)!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blonde With A Wand by Vicki Lewis Thompson

"Never cross a witch in love.

Sexy witch Anica Revere has one absolutely unwavering rule: Never, under any circumstances, get involved with a man before telling him she's a witch. Still, what's one silly rule? Especially when the guy in question is as cute as Jasper Danes. But when Anica and Jasper have a spat, she breaks an even bigger rule of witchcraft and turns him into a cat. Bad news for him. Worse for her. 

With Anica stripped of her powers for the witchy infraction, it's up to Jasper to undo the hex, but he never expects the hardest part of the bargain to be resisting Anica. The stakes are high, and the chemistry is off the charts. But what'll happen if Anica and Jasper both fall under the strongest spell of all: love?"

After reading Mary Janice Davidson's "Undead & Unwed," I thought Vicki's witch collection would be an exciting change of pace from my frequent vampire obsessions. I want to start off by thanking Vicki for "Blonde With A Wand" book 1,  "Chick With A Charm" book 2, and an autographed postcard featuring the cover art for both novels.

Typically if I am reading a book I am so set in my ways that if after the first chapter doesn't hold my attention I discard the novel and don't look back. It took me until chapter 10 to get into the story, I personally thought those first 10 chapters were a bit of a slow read. However, now that I have finished it I want to say this book does feature all of the great features of an interesting novel: the slow sections, the comedic relief, (not quite tear jerking, but) sad moments, sex, and of course the climactic ending, pun fully intended!

A cool fact about this book is it's publication date, February 2, 2010, is the same as my birthday. Not only were there witches and wizards, but also faeries. Poor Jasper had the misperception it was of the gay variety! Which of course being gay was quite a great laugh as I was reading that part. I'm still laughing by the way! :) Another thing that I liked about this was the fact Vicki wove in animal rescue stories and donations. Sure in the novel they were fiction, but she includes a shout out to the wonderful people at Best Friends Animal Society, which is the world's largest no-kill animal shelter in the world. She actually spent a week there, which goes to show she is more than just a talented author!

There were quite a few sex scenes in this, which of course I had anticipated. Although I had only wished maybe there was a bit more of foreplay or just extend the sex scene for a page or more. It was quite brief while it happened. I loved Jasper's character. The man was clearly aloof in his own playboy reality. During his transformation into the feline world he grew in his humanity. Ironic huh?! But it was a beautiful transformation none-the-less. He learned to appreciate life for more than sex, what great thing is next, and money. Anica, however, I was quite conflicted with. She was quite a boring character for me and I didn't really feel anything for her until chapter 26 of 27. Her sister Lily is a rebel and a lot more adventurous. Maybe that's why I was more drawn to Lily, even tho she was a side character. In "Chick With A Charm" book two, Lily is a more featured character. I look forward to reading this story soon. I was hesistant at first, but now with "Blonde With A Wand" finished, I hope the series continues as well.

Princess For Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

"When a flawlessly dressed woman steps out of an iridescent bubble and wants to know, like, now if you'd like to become a substitute princess, do you:
a) run
b) faint
c) say yes!

For Desi Bascomb, who's been longing for a bit of glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite c)--- that is, once she can't stop pinching herself. As her new agent, Meredith, explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient Egyptian formula "Royal Rouge," she can transform temporarily into the exact look-alike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don't know? Or when a princess's conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off- and you're sure she would want you to change his mind?

In this hilarious, winning debut, one girl's dream of glamour transforms into something bigger; the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time."

Hey readers! This was a book featured on the 2010 Debute Author Challenge I joined last month. I contacted Lindsey who forwarded me on to Hallie Patterson at Disney-Hyperion books- who sent me my copy. Everyone knows I despise the color pink. However....for the age group this novel is geared to suits it just fine. The cover art will definitely appeal to the tween and teen audience. Hell it even appealed to me.

Hallie so graciously sent me a final copy, hardback and all. So I want to thank Hallie and Lindsey both for making this review possible. This was a funny hilarious and refreshing novel. I have to give Lindsey uber points for featuring Gladys the Groundhog, my bday is Groundhog's Day. Also extra points for using Hayden as a boys name. Although this is a fiction based novel, Lindsey does weave in life lessons for the readers. Such as "Princess Simmy's" story where you learn how to stand up for yourself and have self-respect. Even as an adult, I truly loved the story. It was very well written, featured all of the items a teen struggles with, and includes plenty of comedic relief. I anticipate the second book in this new series. I think any one who is a fan of the Princess Diaries will love this. It has the same sense of comedy to it with a different twist to the princess tales. If this were to ever be a movie, and since it's a Disney novel I am sure it will be, I can totally picture Kristin Chenoweth as Meredith.

Previous Books I Have Read

10,000 Ways to Say I Love You: Gregory J.P. Godek

A Walk to Remember: Nicholas Sparks

Adventures in Darkness- Memoirs of an Eleven Year-Old Blind Boy: Tom Sullivan

All American Boy: William J Mann

All Hands on Deck- Jamie Simons

Animal Farm: George Orwell

Anne Frank- The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank

Blonde With A Wand- Vicki Lewis ThompsonBrave the Betrayal: K.A. Applegate

Breaking Dawn: Stephenie Meyer

Discover the Destroyer: K.A. Applegate

Disorderly Conduct: Jamie Simons

Double Trouble: Jamie Simons

Dragon's Kiss: Ally Blue

Eclipse: Stephenie Meyer

Encyclopedia of Urban Legends: Jan Harold Brunvand

Enter the Enchanted: K.A. Applegate

Entertain the End: K.A. Applegate

Everlasting Kiss: Amanda Ashley

Every Frat Boy Wants It: Todd Gregory

Fear the Fantastic: K.A. Applegate

Fireflies: Ally Blue

Forget Me Not- Vicki Hinze

Gateway to the Gods: K.A. Applegate

Getting It: Alex Sanchez

Girl, Interrupted: Susana Kaysen

Go Ask Alice: Anonymous

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story: Carolyn Turgeon

Goners- RU1:2 : Jamie Simons

Gonville: A Memoir: Peter Birkenhead

Great Expectations: Charles Dickens

His Bright Light- The Story of Nick Traina: Danielle Steel

If I Stay: Gayle Forman

Immortal Sins: Amanda Ashley

Inside the Illusion: K.A. Applegate

Interview With the Vampire: Anne Rice

Land of Loss: K.A. Applegate

Latter Days- A Novel: C. Jay Cox

Lord Of The Flies: William Golding

Me, Myself & Why?: MaryJanice Davidson

Mystify the Magician: K.A. Applegate

New Moon: Stephenie Meyer

Night: Elie Wiesel

Nothing- Robin Friedman

Oleander House: A Bay City Paranormal Investigators Series: Ally Blue

Princess For Hire- Lindsey Leavitt

Rabid Transit: Jamie Simons

Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places: Brad Steiger

Realm of the Reaper: K.A. Applegate

Running With Scissors-A Memoir: Augusten Burroughs

Sati: Christopher Pike

Search for Senna: K.A. Applegate

Sins of the Blood: Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Space Race: Jamie Simons

Spell Bound: Jamie Simons

Spitting Image- Jamie Simons

The Accessory: James G Hutchison

The Beach: Alex Garland

The Beautiful Between- Alyssa B Sheinmel

The Chamber: John Grisham

The Client: John Grisham

The Crucible: Arthur Miller

The Firm: John Grisham

The Giver: Lois Lowry

The Green Mile: Stephen King

The Host- A Novel: Stephenie Meyer

The Hunt Is On- Jamie Simons

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

The Magician's Nephew: C.S. Lewis

The Pelican Brief: John Grisham

The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde

The Power of Birthdays, Stars & Numbers- The Complete Personology Reference Guide: Saffi Crawford

The Rainmaker: John Grisham

The Scarlet Letter: Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Season of Passage: Christopher Pike

The Vampire Lestat: Anne Rice

Tweaked: Patrick Moore

Twilight: Stephenie Meyer

Undead and Unwed: MaryJanice Davidson

Under Loch and Key: Jamie Simons

Understand the Unknown: K.A. Applegate

What Hides Inside- A Bay City Paranormal Investigator Series: Ally Blue

Wuthering Heights: Emily Bronte

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Another Annoying Update. :)

Hey readers! Another annoying update I am sure...Today I have been attempting to get author links converted to images and banners. The links just seemed to go on forever and I think if I was a viewer on someones site like that it would be overwhelming. So I think the switch to images is a more eye appealing approach. I only have a handful up but I am hoping to have the full conversion done in a week...or less!!

Tomorrow I will be spending the majority of the day in a book coma. I will be finishing "Blonde With A Wand" by Vicki Lewis Thompson. You all can look forward to a double dose of reviews tomorrow first with "Princess for Hire" by Lindsey Leavitt (part of my 2010 Debute Author Challenge) and followed by "Blonde With A Wand" by Vicki Lewis Thompson. I will also be working on sending author Jennifer Estep her interview.

As you may have noticed I am getting a large amount of ARC's/Reviews piling up. I currently have 19 total on hand, with another 16-20 coming. Give or take a few. Beginning Monday I hope to knock out a few more reviews next week. I am setting a goal of four FINISHED reviews. *crosses fingers* I am off to read some before should be doing the same. Goodnight everyone!

Saturday Mail Call

Hey readers! In the mail today came my copies of "Chernobyl Murders" & "Traffyck" sent from author Michael Beres. He also included a brief typed letter offering his thanks for my future review. I thought that was pretty cool! I want to thank him again for the review copies, and for his upcoming interview this month. He has some interesting things to speak about. So look forward to that! Also shortly after the mail ran Fed Ex came by with my copy of "Firespell" sent from author Chloe Neill and her publishers. I also want to thank them for the review copy as well.

Wednesday I did finish reviewing "Princess for Hire" by Lindsey Leavitt. However I began the review writing of it yesterday and just wasn't happy with my review of it. So by Sunday I should have the review posted. I will be busy today adding author banners (if I can figure it out!) on here. In addition to that I have two more authors sending me review copies, Jeff Jacobson's "Wormfood" and Jaye Wells "Red Headed Step Child" & "The Mage is Black." I had an exciting reply from Jeff in response to my query. He left me smiling that's for sure. I can't express just how much I love the horror/supernatural genre. He is a kindred soul. The topping on the cake of that both Jeff & Jaye are also offering to do an interview for a later edition. Double yay! :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Mail Call

Hey readers! Today's mail call brought me an ARC of "The Summer of Skinny Dipping" by Amanda Howell. I also got an "ARC" of "Frostbite" by David Wellington. The book was actually published in Oct 09, but David actually had one left and so graciously sent me it. :) Thanks to Carrie Gellin & Eric Stiewert at Sourcebooks for Amanda's book, and to David for his.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April Author Interview Schedule

April 18- Robin Friedman

April 19- Vicki Lewis Thompson

April 20- Deb Caletti Q&A

April 21- Stefan Petrucha

April 22- Andrea Cremer

April 23- Phil Bowie

April 24- David Wellington

Demonfire: The Demonslayers by Kate Douglas

"Since time began, the Earth has served as a balance between the world of darkness that is the Abyss, and the paradise known as Eden. Now the battle between good and evil has reached a tipping point, and survival depends on one fallen demon-and the woman he can't resist... 

I contacted author Kate Douglas last month in hopes of getting an ARC of "Demonfire." I didn't know it was already out in stores. She was so kind and sent me a final copy of the novel, a postcard of "Demonfire" and two of her "Wolf Tales" novel bookmarks. Thank you again Kate for all of the items. Kate and I began emailing back and forth, and then she asked to add me on Facebook. I was a bit hesitant due to the fact of my...choice of words and topics I discuss on my personal page. Thankfully Kate isn't too worried over such trivial things.

This book was another I knew I would love because of the cover art. Mrs. Douglas's creative imagination with giving life to inanimate objects was phenomenal. Who knew garden gnomes and other garden sculptures could be so frightening! She also created a character, Dax, so strong, determined and powerful- yet possessed human weaknesses. Another character, Eddy, who can also be strong and powerful in her own human right. These two main characters were a beautiful compliment to each other's failures. Dax and Eddy were also accompanied by a few other important characters: Alton (a Lemurian prince), Ed (Eddy's father), Willow (a will-o-the-wisp) and lastly Bumper (a tragic mix of Pitbull & Poodle). All of these characters fight valiantly to save not just their city from the foreign invasion of demons from Abyss, but also the world. Among the struggles of saving humanity they all bond and become a family of sorts.

(I took this at the Biltmore Estate Garden Shop just for Kate. "Demonfire" fans will know why!)

After reading about half of this novel I realized that I am developing a passion for the "Paranormal Romance" genre- even if it is heterosexually oriented. With all the blood/violence/supernaturalism you forget it's a love story as well. Kate politely reminds you of that throughout the story with Dax and Eddy's developing relationship. Even Ginny, Eddy's bff, begins something with Alton. Although you don't know what it is, I have a sense in "Hellfire: The Demonslayers" you will find out what it is. The last five chapters I was cautious in reading, I didn't want the story to end. Kate surely has developed a wonderful story mixed with all the good stuff a book needs to survive. I anticipate the release of "Hellfire" and hope it spawns many, many wonderful sequels.

Wednesday Mail Call

Hey readers! Tuesday I spent the day at the Biltmore Estate with friends and my birth mother and her husband. I didn't have any time to do any review work, nor did any new books arrive. However today I received an ARC of "Voices of Dragon's" by Carrie Vaughn. Special thanks to Melissa Bruno at Harper Collins publishers and to Carrie for forwarding my request and for her upcoming interview in May.

Monday Mail Call!

Hey readers! Well it was another Monday with incoming ARC's/books to review. Monday I was so busy trying to read "Demonfire: The Demonslayers" by Kate Douglas that I didn't have a chance to post the books that arrived. So here you go! Special thanks to the people at Multnomah Books for sending a copy of "My Soul to Keep" (book 3 in the Dylan Foster books) by Melanie Wells. Also thanks to both author Maggie Stiefvater and Samatha Wolfert, Publicist, at Scholastic books for the ARC of "Linger" (book 2 in the Shiver series- which is soon to be a movie by ).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Me Update!

Hey readers! Well the past few days have been hectic for me. Over the weekend I had my Native American Naming Ceremony, which went quite well. There was quite a lot of people who came in support of myself and Terry for his ceremony as well. Sunday I was completely exhausted I slept for 14 hours!!! Monday I spent the day reading like a mad man trying to catch up on as much of Kate Douglas's "Demonfire: The Demonslayers" as possible. Today I had hoped in posting the review, however.... I forgot that we had plans to go to the Biltmore Estate. Some of my friends were in town from Florida and we met up there and enjoyed a lovely tour of the mansion itself, and a wine tasting at the Biltmore Winery. It's now 11 pm and my eyes are all buggy, my knees, calves and toes hurt from all the walking, and I simply can't stay awake any longer. Tomorrow I will be posting the April Author Interview Schedule, Monday's Mail Call, new ARC's coming in the mail, and it looks as tho I am shy of one author interview for May already!!!! Go me! See you all tomorrow.....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B Sheinmel

Firstly I want to thank Alyssa for sending me a copy courtesy of Roshan Nozari from Random House publishing. I seen this book listed on a website and knew I had to read it. Shortly after I had joined the 2010 Debute Author Challenge I noticed it was on the Debute List. I accomplished two tasks in one! I began reading this story on Friday, the first real day of Spring where I live. We were blessed with 81* weather, sun and no rain!

The story is a fantasy comparison to reality and is wonderfully portrayed throughout Alyssa's creativity. The stories main character, Connelly, imagines her life as a fairy tale. She uses the Upper East Side as the enchanted kingdom, Jeremy the school's most popular boy as the Prince, teachers as various noblemen and women, her mother as the "not-so-much" witch, and herself as the peasant girl. Connelly struggles with all the facets of teenage hell- school, boys, family and most importantly the loss of her father. She was never told the story of what happened to him when he disappeared when she was two. The Prince, Jeremy, comes to give and seek help with Connelly's Physics classwork and his SAT vocabulary. Little does Connelly know Jeremy has a hidden agenda. His sister's fate is the same as her father's.

I think of the story as a "Beautiful Between" of A Walk to Remember and "Gossip Girl." I think any teenager would be enthralled with this book. It tackles a lot of things that teens struggle with and I feel that is why they would love it; because it is easily relate-able! The book is released next month in stores. I recommend you all to get a copy and enjoy some fantasy/reality. I will be interviewing Alyssa next month so stay tuned and see what she has to say.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Mail Call

Hey readers! Well four more books arrived today. One is an ARC and three are final copies. The ARC is "Princess For Hire" by Lindsey Leavitt, and the others are from Phil Bowie's John Hardin trilogy, "Guns," "Diamondback," and "KLLRS." Phil very graciously autographed all three novels.

I am off to cut down a tree for my 83 year old neighbor lady Retha. She's such a sweet old woman, I would hate to see her struggle in cutting a tree down at her age. :( We are moving back to Kentucky very soon and I will miss her. She is a very talented artist. My birthday is Groundhog's Day. She showed me a painting she did of two groundhog's over this past winter. It's a beautiful painting, maybe she'll let me buy it off her?! :)

Well I'm off to pull a George Washington and cut down a tree. Later today (most likely tonight), I will be posting "The Beautiful Between" review. This is a book off of the Debute Author Challenge I joined, and the first one from the list I will finish. I'm off to a good start, eh?!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Nothing by Robin Friedman

"Sometimes trees can look healthy on the outside, but actually be dying on the inside. These trees fall unexpectedly during a storm."

That has to be the shortest yet most descriptive title of any of the books I've reviewed to date. I was drawn to this novel because it's out of the ordinary. It tells a, fictional, story about an adolescent boys struggle with bulimia. Although the story is fictional, the facts are not. Males can suffer with eating disorders whether it be bulimi, anorexia or overeating. Robin combined a great amount of real things teens suffer with namely sibling rivalry, college, first love, and of course the eating disorders.

I feel this is a book teens would love to read because it has a great flow. This YA novel reads almost like a journal, flipping between the two main character's: Parker and his sister Danielle. Older readers may look back on their life and find that maybe they wish to go back in time and be more active in their teen years, I know I do! Robin, either purposefully or unknowingly, included education on eating disorders throughout the story. She informs that you don't have to suffer the disorder alone, and that you can get help. The ending was refreshingly uplifting, sad and unexpected all at equal levels. If there was one book I could recommend to teenagers with (eating) disorders it would be "Nothing."

Here are two parts from the novel that stuck with me:

"If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time."

"Who are you?
Just because you break hearts

      doesn't mean you're a heartbreaker.
Just because you get straight A's
      doesn't mean you're a success.

Just because you have a college consultant
      doesn't make you college bound.
Just because you fail to act
      doesn't make you cowardly.
Just because you need help
      doesn't make you weak.
Just because the world sees you as something
      or as nothing
doesn't mean anything
      at all."

I want to thank Robin once again for being so kind and gracious in sending me a copy of "Nothing." This book came out back in 2008. Reader's just because a book may be a few years old, or even centuries and decades, don't hesitate to give it a shot. Sometimes you will be surprised that a lot of good books are the old ones.