"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review of The Bad, The Good and Two Fly Fishing Women

The Bad, The Good and Two Fly Fishing Women
The Bad, The Good and Two Fly Fishing Women
Randy Kadish
Smashwords Edition
   Amanda is a fourteen year old girl who is angry with the world. Her mother has deserted her and her father and moved to New York to be with another man. She is also hurting because her grandfather has died. Her grandmother moves in with them to help fill the void her mother has left.
   While life is starting to settle into a routine, Amanda's grandmother becomes ill with cancer. Amanda retreats to that which she loves, fly fishing.
   This is a lovely story about betrayal, love, loss and the road to healing and forgiveness. Amanda shares her pain with her adopted dog Shana and finds an unlikely friend in her journey with Vernon, a grieving alcoholic. Vernon has his own simplistic answers to everything in which he brings God into the equation. This is not a religious type work, but more a philosophical reading. The relationship between Amanda and Vernon seems to give them both something that they are searching for at this time in their lives.
   This is a long short story that is easily read in one sitting. The author gives wonderful descriptions into the land and the art of fly fishing. My only complaint with the story was the way the ending was so abrupt when the mother came back on the scene. I thought there could have been a smoother ending to the story. Overall a very good read.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for being provided a copy.
I give the story 3.5 stars out of 5.

Review of Inzanesville

Jo Ann Beard
Little, Brown and Company 4/2011
ISBN 9780316084475

   This book is narrated by a fourteen year old girl who's best friend is Felicia. Both girls are kind of your misfit type who definitely don't have your usual teenage life. Many of you would just shake your head because these girls grew up in the 70's. They are disastrous babysitters and high school band dropouts. The narrator lives in a very dysfunctional  family with a father who is a lush, works at some door to door sales job until he gets some money and then disappears for days on end drinking and who knows what else. Mom is a nervous person who is usually yelling at the kids, fighting with dad, or looking for him to come home. There is never any money in the house.
   The friendship of Felicia and the narrator are tested throughout the story. During part of the story, the families don't want them together because of some difficulties they get into. A clique of popular girls latch onto them and almost destroys their friendship.
   The story brings to life what it is like to live in a small town USA. Life in a bygone era when kids did not have multiple TV sets in their home, no cell phones, no video games, etc. The problems encountered when you are trying to pretend your home life is normal. You see what it is like to have a true best friend who knows more about you then you know yourself. You see what it is like when you are not one of the popular kids in school.
   I had some difficulty following this story. There were times I was not sure how we got from one point to the next. At some points in the story, I really had no idea what the author was talking about. It was not a bad story, but I did not think it flowed very smoothly. This book is geared for the YA reader; but any age group except for young children would find this acceptable reading. I honestly think adults may go for it more then the YA group.
   I want to thank Anna Balasi from the Hachette Book Group for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for receiving the book.

I give Inzanesville 3 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 22, 2011

Review of Lydia

Tim Sandlin
Sourcebooks 2011
ISBN 9781402241819

   Sam Callahan manages the Virgin Birth Home for unwed mothers. All of these women keep Sam's life interesting; but his family members are the ones who top the list. His mother has just gotten out of prison for attempting to poison the President's dog and his daughter is most definitely not herself. To top this off, they go on the road with a hundred year old man from the nursing home, an adopted son who is looking for his past and they are being pursued by a psycho.
   Tim Sandlin has revisited some characters from his GroVont, Wyoming trilogy. The story is told through the eyes of Sam Callahan, who is also an author in our story. This story is packed full of strange and unusual humor. Most so dry that you have to laugh. Well, maybe a chuckle.
   This was my first read of Tim Sandlins. It took a bit for me to get into the story. I was lost in the beginning because I had no idea what was going on. Once you get further along, you are able to figure out what is taking place. Maybe if I had read some of the other works, I would have known what was happening from the start.
   Something that needs to be clear, Sam's mother, Lydia, is required to do community service. In her case, this entails doing a story on Oly (our hundred year old geriatric resident). This is the one complaint I had about the story. This story is told by Oly in detail throughout the book. It seemed to drone on and on forever and was tiresome reading for me. I found myself skimming these sections whenever I came to them. Otherwise, this was an adventurous read that kept you wondering what was going to happen next. The characters in this book are quite the bunch. They are all a bit quirky and most have a screw or two lose. You can't help but love them.
   This is one of those books that you have no idea where the story will end up and I have to tell you I was quite surprised at the turn of events. Can't say anymore or it would ruin the story. You will just have to read it for yourself.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for receiving the book to review.

I give Lydia 4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review of Clawback

Gemma Rice
Night Publishing
ISBN 9781458149916
Smashwords Edition

   Gary stops by a friend's house and is introduced to Stephanie. It is "lust" at first sight as far as she is concerned. They hit it off and start the dating scene, live together, and somewhere along the line get engaged. Stephanie is convinced that they will live happily ever after. I know this seems like an over simplified telling of the book; but in many ways this is the story. Let me explain.
   Stephanie is a very insecure woman and can't understand how someone as gorgeous as Gary could fall for her. By description, I gather Stephanie is a looker also. It turns out, Gary is a fantastic actor. Not literally an actor. Gary is a lion in sheep's clothing. He essentially enslaves Stephanie. He verbally abuses her and uses her for his sexual perversions. The worse he is, the more Stephanie seems to need him.
   Have you ever read a story where you can't stand the characters; but you have to keep reading to see what happens even when you know where this is headed? Such is the case with this story. Gary is a manipulator and a sadist who puts the devil to shame. Lets just say I could do a Lorena Baublitz on him and not think twice about it.
   Stephanie is a pathetic young woman who I just wanted to smack. She left Gary on several occasions; but would continually return to him. She believed his lies repeatedly. I know she was insecure; but she had the means and the availability to leave. She had proof that others found her attractive and she could survive; but chose not to take the out. I honestly think it was lust, not love. 
   All in all this was not a bad story. I don't think this story is for everyone. There is a lot of sexual scenes going on, verbal abuse and a pathetic attempt at suicide. It is a story of lust, regrets, failure and in the end love. The story of a woman unable to find herself worthy until it is almost too late.
   I wish to thank Tim Roux from Night Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for being provided a copy of the book.

I give Clawback 3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, April 17, 2011


The winners of Joanne Kennedy's book Cowboy Fever are:

Heidi and Ann

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I have sent an email to the winners. Please send your snail mail address as soon as possible so I can pass it on to Sourcebooks. Thank you

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Joanne Kennedy

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I welcome Joanne Kennedy to my blog today. Her new book Cowboy Fever is in stores this month and I have permission to offer two copies for giveaway, which means two lucky winners. So, lets get started.

Bio: Joanne Kennedy has worked in bookstores all her life in positions ranging from bookseller to buyer. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and won first place in the Colorada Gold Writing Contest and second place in the Heart of the Rockies contest in 2007. Joanne lives and writes in Cheyenne, Wyoming where she is working on Tall, Dark and Cowboy (Releasing in November 2011). For more information, please visit http://joannekennedybooks.com/.

1- Do you write specifically in the Western Romance genre? If so, what made you focus on cowboys?
   I've written other things, but I moved to the West years ago and fell in love with this world-and cowboys. My interest in horses makes that genre even more fun for me, but mainly I see cowboys as a symbol of my heroines stepping into a new and different world. She knows from the start that the man in the hat and boots isn't what she's used to, and the reader knows he's likely to have old-fashioned values they can admire.

2- Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us about it?
   I just finished editing my November release, Tall, Dark and Cowboy, about a runaway former trophy wife who flees her ex's crooked business associates and ends up in a small Wyoming town. And I'm working on a fifth Western romance called Once a Cowboy that takes readers into the world of rodeo, ranching, and modern Wyoming boomtowns.

3- Have you always wanted to be a writer?
   Yes, but I had to start really working at it before I succeeded! I've always read everything and anything, and when I was a teenager I wanted to be a writer-but I didn't really have a story to tell. I had to wait until I grew up. Now I have so many stories I could live forever and never tell them all! I wish I'd started sooner, but I just wasn't ready until I'd had some life experience.

4- Was it difficult getting your first book published?
   It was challenging, but it wasn't difficult because I was doing what I loved. I worked very, very hard at both the creative and business side of writing and I faced a lot of rejection, but I never stopped enjoying it because I was confident in my ability to work hard enough to achieve my goals. Besides, there were so many good people in both writing and publishing who took the time to help me along the way. I try to pay that forward when I can.

5- Do you have any plans to write other types of romance or in other genres?
   I have a couple of paranormals to polish up, and some ideas for romantic suspense and young adult novels. But for now, I love the cowboy stories. I think I get better and better at making that world resonate with readers, and I'll keep writing about it as long as folks want to read them.

6- Do you enjoy reading? If so, what types of books do you prefer reading and do you follow a particular author?
   I've always loved to read, and writing makes it even better as I learn while being entertained. I've worked in book selling all my life, so I've had the chance to sample just about everything. I read lots of romance, of course, but lately I'm addicted to thrillers. I love Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay. I also read lots of Western nonfiction, from history to horse training.

7- What or who has had the most influence on your writing?
   My husband. He's always believed in me and encouraged me, even though life would probably be easier if I had a "normal" job. He's definitely the reason I write romance novels.

8- Tell us something about yourself that the readers may not be aware of.
   I've lived in the West for twenty years, but I'm a New Englander by birth. I grew up in Massachusetts and all my ancestors are from Maine. I think being a transplant helps me see what makes the West so fascinating to readers from all over.

9- What do you do for fun and relaxation?
   I write! Writing lets me live in a world of my own creation, where I'm in control (for the most part; those cowboys don't always behave). I'm lucky enough to do what I love, and I'm happiest when I'm working on a story.

10- How can the readers contact you? (website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.)
   My website is http://www.joannekennedybooks.com/. I'm also on Facebook under Joanne Kennedy Books. I'm always happy to make new online friends and hear from readers!


She Thought She Had It All...
A modeling contract with Wrangler got this Miss Rodeo Wyoming a first-class ticket out of town, but somewhere along the way Jodi Brand lost her soul. When she gets back to her hometown, her childhood friend Teague Treadwell's rugged cowboy charm hits her like a ton of bricks...

He Believed He Wasn't Good Enough...
Teague is convinced Jodi's success lifted her out of his reach. Now he's got to shed his bad boy image to be worthy of the girl next door...

But whoever heard of a beauty queen settling for a down and dirty cowboy...

To be entered for a chance to win Cowboy Fever:
1-Leave a comment in the comment section along with your email address so I can contact the winners(there will be 2 of them) to get your mailing address.
2-The contest will remain open until Saturday April 16, 2011 at midnight EST.
3-The winner will be announced sometime on Sunday, April 17, 2011.
4-The winner will have 48hrs to send me there snail mail address. If you do not contact me in that time frame, I will draw another winner.
5-If no email address is provided, you will not be entered in the drawing.
6- This contest is open to US and Canada only because Sourcebooks is providing a paperback copy of the book.
7-You do not have to be a follower of my blog to enter. It would be nice; but it is not mandatory. If you are a follower, it will not increase you chances of winning.
Thank you all and good luck!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review of Cursed

Scott Nicholson/ J.R. Rain
Published by the authors 2010
B&N Nook Edition
   Albert Shipway is a lush, loves women and tends to fixate on both. An insurance investigator who does not have an exciting job; quickly finds himself with more excitement in his life then any human being could possibly wish upon themselves. After leaving lunch one afternoon, Albert is approached by an old woman who looks like she should have one foot in the grave. She knows way too much information about Al and quickly becomes his worst nightmare.
   Albert is thrust into a game of cat and mouse with killer mice bent on making his nightmares a reality. In steps a beautiful female cop, an estranged wife, a baby, witches, and the walking dead who also happens to be a serial killer that doesn't know he is dead. Shake this all together and you have murder, mayhen, a life-stealing great-granddad and a sister bent on revenge. Oh, yes! Let's not forget Al the lush who can't keep HIS mouse in his pants.
   I have read quite a few of Scott's books at this point in time; but I have to say this has been my favorite so far. I am not familiar with J.R. Rain's work so I have nothing to compare it to. I do see Scott's macbre sense of humor in this book and he does make me laugh. Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. Al was a little fixated on his booze; but I felt it just showed how much of a crutch it actually was for him. Al's estranged wife was psychotic; but I have to say Al was not particularly stable himself. He had some real issues. Number 1 was his booze; but his fixation on women was a little over the top. Any man that can be chased by hundreds of killer mice and still be looking at a woman's backside has issues. Either that or men are really more perferted then I ever gave them credit for. That ladies and gentlemen is a story for another time.
   This story has a little bit of everything for everyone. It is nightmarish and also funny. If your into witch craft, this is the book for you. If your up for a murder mystery that is strange and macabre, this is for you. Walking dead? It has you covered. If you like the strange and unusual, I don't think you will be disappointed. All in all I found this to be an exceptional read.
   I wish to thank Scott Nicholson for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for the privilege of reading and reviewing the book.
I give Cursed 5 out of 5 stars

Guest Author Marc Vun Kannon

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Marc VunKannon to my blog today. I will turn it over to him.

I'm very much in favor of monsters.
Perhaps I should put that a different way.

The thing I like about monsters is that they're, you know, monstrous. Vampires who kill, werewolves who rend. The only problem being of course that such creatures are pretty dull. Sure there's lots of running and screaming, blood spurting and dogs barking, but really that's all just noise and motion. The story is sort of shambling on. Werewolves are basically killing machines, it's the men who become the wolf that should drive the story. Even with ghosts, the most humanized of monsters, the usual case is a spectral visitation of some sort, a sort of otherworldly 'Here Be Dragons' to lead people on, either in search of treasure or clues to some mystery, as if the world was a lock and the ghost merely a key, the first clue.

Like werewolves, my take on the whole 'ghost' thing is usually on the people they used to be rather than the spectral ghastly things they are. The Changeling, the Uninvited, The Haunting, all about people and the things, the forces that drive them even beyond death. Not to mention all the TV shows floating around lately, with ghost whisperers, mediums of all sorts, and people who raise the dead to ask them how they died. Get rid of the thing, you get rid of the ghost, seems pretty straightforward. But the things are not so straight, no simple repetition or revenge fantasies for these ghosts. My friend Kfir Luzzatto has a very nice little ghost story with a mystery in it on that very topic. If you haven't read Crossing the Meadow you should. Or Beth Solheim's book At Witts End, where the ghosts are able to make their own destinies, thank you very much.

Suppose the ghost isn't a ghost for any particular reason. Suppose, instead, that the ghost is a ghost because he doesn't have anywhere else to go. And if you think, amongst all this supposing, that I did any of it when I was writing St.Martin's Moon, you'd be very wrong. I discovered the ghosts on the Moon the way I discovered everything else, completely by accident. (Oh, yes, the Moon is haunted. Didn't you know that? It's no surprise, really, the werewolves didn't know it either.) Anyway, one of the threads that wove its way into the tapestry that is St.Martin's Moon had its origins in Kfir's book, specifically in the meadow that he used as the borderlands of death. I liked the image, especially when contrasted with the bleakness of a normal lunar landscape.

By the way, there's 10 points to anyone who names the TV shows I described up there. No prizes, but the points are pretty shiny.

The whole point about monsters is that they illustrate in fairly graphic fashion what can happen when men allow themselves to become less than they ought to be. A monster story is a morality play, every time. Except when it becomes fashionable to make them sexy, French-speaking vampires in silk ruffled shirts. or alpha males (and females) who come by it unnaturally. Making them into men with lots of cool nifty powers defeats the purpose. One has to wonder why anyone would bother being a mere mortal anymore. But somehow the whole 'sleeps in a coffin' thing gets downplayed, and the man-into-beast thing rarely makes it on camera anymore, although I did see it happen once. It drove the heroine into the arms of her vampire paramour. Ah well... I suppose the best that can be said about the new trend in zombie fiction is that it's hard to make them sexy, but I suppose some one's out there trying anyway.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review of the Journal of the Big Mouth Bass

Journals of the Big Mouth Bass: Keeping Secrets: Book One (Volume 1)

Journals of the Big Mouth Bass
Book 1 Keeping Secrets
Debbie Sue Bass Williamson
Souper Publishing 2011
ISBN 9780980123418

   Debbie does not appear to be your typical nine year old. She just had a birthday and was so not impressed with her gifts except for the one from her mom, a journal. You see, Debbie has trouble keeping secrets, so she decides to write them in her journal to God. After all, God won't tell her secrets to anyone.
   Debbie tells of her adventures growing up as a girl with an older brother(who incidentally gave her the nickname of Big Mouth Bass), trying to be more girly instead of such a tomboy, her first crush, and the mischief her and the gang got into.
   The entire book is written from the aspect of a journal. Debbie loves to tell God how ugly she is with her freckles and red hair, she has no girlfriends, is always picked last for games of dodge ball, and most of all her inability to keep a secret, which by the way gets, her in trouble on more then one occasion.
   This is such an enjoyable read and is most definitely written from a nine year olds perspective. It includes short, choppy sentences to flight of ideas. Even so, there is no trouble following the storyline. I think any school aged child would thoroughly enjoy this book. I am not a school aged child and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I personally will be waiting for the next book to come out to see what mischief  Debbie gets into next.
   The book cover is absolutely perfect and most definitely shows Debbie. The beginning of each chapter also has a picture which is completely appropriate for each chapter.
   I wish to thank Cadence Marketing Group for supplying me with a copy of the book to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for receiving the book.

I give Journals of the Big Mouth Bass 5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review of Beyond Nostalgia

Beyond Nostalgia
Beyond Nostalgia
Tom Winton
Night Publishing 2011
Smashwords Edition
   Dean Cassidy and Theresa Wayman meet at a high school dance under rather unusual circumstances. They continue to see each other and fall head over heels in love. They both think they have found their one and only soul mate. In a moment of male weakness, Dean demolishes his chances with Theresa.
   Dean is devastated and is unable to get on with his life. He attempts to drown himself in booze and 'faceless' women. Five years after losing Theresa, he gets a second chance with Maddy Frances Ronan. They end up marrying and raising a family. Life is not easy for them because there is never enough money, Dean drinks too much, has bouts of depression and is never able to give up his first love. Maddy sticks by him through thick and thin even when he is passed out in his van with Theresa's picture beside him. Circumstances change for the Cassidy family; but will Dean be able to let the past lay to rest?
   This is a wonderful story that started with teenage love that goes terribly wrong. A mistake that can never be taken back. Have we not all made some of those in our life? Sadly, this young couple both came from very dysfunctional families. To make matters worse, you have a teenage boy with over active hormones and issues with drinking himself silly. Neither teen is able to get on with there life and continue to make mistake after mistake. The storyline flows smoothly throughout the years and ends up coming full circle. The question will be whether Dean can make the right choices in the end.
   Dean is a bit of a lush and also a womanizer for a good part of his life. He gets to the point you want to smack him and shake him silly. His dear wife, Maddy, is quite the woman to put up with him; but she loves him madly and overlooks many of his flaws. I found her to be a bit of a doormat, albeit a nice doormat. Theresa gets what she always wanted, money, power, material possessions, houses, etc; but will she get what money can't buy?
   This is a story of true love that never dies, collapse of the American family, dysfunctional families at their finest, mistakes that cost a person everything they hold dear, and forgiveness no matter the cost to self. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good, on the edge of your seat story. I started reading this book and could not put it down.
   I wish to thank Tim Roux from Night Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for being provided the book.

I give Beyond Nostalgia 4 out of 5 stars

Winner of Piper's Fury by Rachel Firasek

Congratulations to Lynn Rush. You have won the eBook copy of Piper's Fury. A big thank you to those who stopped by and entered for a chance to win Rachel's book.

Review of Lord Cragus

Lord Cragus
Lord Cragus
John R. Brade
Night Publishing 2011
ISBN 9781458030474

   Peter thinks he is just an ordinary seventeen year old boy. It turns out, Peter is Cragus, Lord of the Vampyres. Little did Cragus know he was being swept into a genocidal war between the Goths, Warlocks, and the Dragons. Peter has no idea his training in an elite school for the Establishment is going to come in handy. Unfortunately, Peter had been expelled from school because he was accused of killing his best friend.
   Peter falls for a dark and brooding Goth named Sal Dark. She leads Peter though a portal between earth and another planet called Hellogon. The situation gets sticky because Vampyres just don't associate with the Goths; not alone having a relationship with them. Life gets interesting for the pair and Peter is not completely sure he can trust Sal.
   This book takes you on a rather fantastical journey that takes you to a world where our laws do not come into play. The book takes off very slowly and is really hard to get into because it seems to go no where for the longest time. After reading about a third of the book, the storyline starts moving in a forward direction; but there is not a lot of action in this story so it just seems to take forever to get anywhere. There is your usual love spats, jealousy over another woman, men throwing their weight around, pettiness of women, and some sexual encounters thrown in the mix. Toss in some gargoyles, dragon's eggs and a little bit of arson into the mix and you have a rather unusual story. All in all it was not a bad read; but I found it a little difficult to follow at times.
   I wish to thank Tim Roux from Night Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for being provided a copy of the book.

I give Lord Cragus 3 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 8, 2011

Interview With Stephen Brayton

I am very pleased to welcome my guest today Stephen Brayton. Stephen is a man of many and varied talents so lets get started and get to know him better.

BIO: I'm a Fifth Degree Black Belt instructor in the American Taekwondo Association. I started martial arts training in 1991, earned my black belt in 1993, and gained my instructor certification in1995.

I've written stories for many years, but started seriously while working at a radio station in Kewanee, Illinois. In 2009, while attending the Killer Nashville conference I was fortunate enough to meet Mary Welk of Echelon Press. Subsequent to the conference I submitted two novels to Echelon and in October, they were accepted for E-publication in 2011.

I'm a reader, a writer, an instructor. a graphic designer. a lover of books, movies, wine, women, music, fine food, good humor, sunny summer days spent hiking or fishing, and I'm a catnip drug dealer to my fifteen pound cat, Thomas.

1- Would you tell the readers a little bit about your book, Night Shadows, and how it came to be.
   I'm putzing around the motel room one night, because lets face it, eight hours of the graveyard shift in a small town motel isn't very exciting. I have the radio on and I'm listening to a popular radio show that usually discusses ghosts, aliens, Bigfoot, and similar topics. On this particular show, a guest talked about people's encounters with shadow creatures. After awhile, because my brain gets weird when it's inactive, I start thinking, "Hmm, what if the shadows came from another dimension and started killing people." Not too long afterward, the characters and plot all fell into place.

2- I know you have another book due out in July of 2011 called Beta, A Mallory Petersen Mystery. Can you tell us a little bit about it and how it came to be? Is there going to be other Mallory books?
   Years ago, I created a character called Sam P. Peterson, a detective in the Quad Cities. When I moved to Iowa and started taekwondo, I changed the character's gender, added some quirks, and started writing. I began with a book called Alpha which was a 40,000 word piece of pure schlock. Then the idea for Beta hit me hard and I started writing a better story. Beta follows the adventure of Mallory Petersen, a private detective and martial artist, who is on the trail of a kidnapped eight year old girl.
   After Beta was accepted for publication, I dusted off Alpha, took some of the better parts, added a subplot, and rewrote it. I also have a third book sifting around in my mind trying to get organized.

3- Is the PI, Mallory Petersen, based on you?
   Mallory is totally me. Well...except for the fact she's female, better looking, and a better martial artist. Otherwise, totally me. Blonde, blue eyes, six foot tall(I'm actually six-two...all right six-one and three-quarters, but who's quibbling?). The slightly humorous problem I ran into with her is because of her height, all the bad guys have to be bigger and taller. But, I've given her skills and training I've developed through the years.

4- Are there any WIP? If so, can you tell us about them?
   Well, like I mentioned above, I'm working on a polishing up Alpha, plus a sequel to Night Shadows. I'm working on outlines for a trio of stories with the detective out of Night Shadows. Straight killer thrillers. I also scribble down a few pages now and then on a thriller about a woman who gets revenge on her attackers by using Army Ranger training techniques. I also, surprisingly, have half an outline completed for a romance. Romance isn't my thing. I don't read them, but I'm a romantic at heart so I have a story I feel I'd like to share. It's coming along slowly.

5- I know you have your own taekwondo club. What made you decide to get involved with this particular sport?
   About a year after moving to Oskaloosa, I saw an advertisement offering two week's free classes at the local taekwondo club. I'd already been involved in community theatre and thought taekwondo would be interesting. After two weeks, I never looked back, dropped theatre, and started moving up in rank. I earned my First Degree black belt in '93 and my Fifth in '07. I enjoy it because unlike team sports, the focus is on the individual. Students move along and improve at their own pace.You don't have to kick face high to succeed. We teach the concept of personal victory. If I can kick high today and two inches higher tomorrow, that's a victory.

6- What exactly is taekwondo? What makes it different from other karate forms?
   All martial arts have the same or very similar basic moves. The punch, front kick, side kick, several blocks and other striking techniques. I don't think it's as much the style, as the organization behind the school, the instructors, and the curriculum taught. My organization, the American Taekwondo Association, is wonderful because it constantly seeks to improve the instructor, improve the student, improve the variety of options both can be involved with. There are business seminars, weapons classes, tournaments, instruction camps, and so much more. Nearly everywhere you go in America and about a dozen or so foreign countries, you'll find a school or a club under the parentage of the ATA.

7- I see you are a graphic designer. Do you work in this area for a living or is this a hobby?
   I was employed as a GD at a local newspaper years ago and worked a short stint with a sports camp registry outfit. I'd love to get back into it full time and expand my creativity. Right now I dabble in small projects to keep up the skills.

8- What do you do for fun and relaxation?
   Does pyromania count? Wait, don't let that get out, there are several unsolved cases of outhouse fires and...uh, anyway, I like to fish, I love racquetball, although since dropping my Y membership, I don't get to play as much anymore.

9- I know you are a reader. What types of books do you enjoy? Is there a particular author that you enjoy?
   Ellery Queen, H.P. Lovecraft, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Elaine Viets are four favorites. I like a variety of mystery and horror and a bit of science fiction. I have hundreds of books in my apartment and on my computer to read and I just pick one at random every now and then. I have several books in the car, a 'bathroom' reader, plus, I listen to audio books when I drive. Somehow I keep them all straight.

10- Is there anything special you would like to tell the readers about yourself?
   I like movies and camping and I'm looking for a good sense of humor in a woman...Oh, wait, that's my dating profile. Actually, I look at 'specialness' as unique to everyone. Everything about me is special. My cat, the fact I love seafood, I watch CSI, I like Corvettes, I write short stories and mysteries and paranormal, and on and on. But the special part is all of those traits and preferences and features, and more, are unique to me. Nobody else has the exact combination. Nobody can do what I do. Similarly, nobody has the characteristics and the skills as you do, or the guy next door. Nobody can be as exactly creative or do the things you do or what the guy next door does. That's why I enjoy talking to foreigners, because they have a different set of unique qualities unlike Americans that I yearn to explore.

I would like to thank Steve for giving me the opportunity to have him as my guest today and taking the time from his busy schedule so we can get to know him better.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guest Rachel Firasek and Giveaway

According to legends, the Gypsy people found in the Carpathian Mountains had many tales of vampires, or the Strigoii Vii. Reportedly, they lived peacefully for years with the knowledge of the vampire. The Strigoii Vii chose only one to feed on for life-a mate of sorts. I grabbed bits of the lore from several different documents and books to develop my own relationship between vampires and the gypsy people of Romania.

Incorporating these facts, folktales and legends was the hardest part of world building for Piper's Fury, but I'm happy with the results. And, I like the idea of a vampire feeding because he or she wants to, not because they have to, although Slade needs blood on occasion. That's the fun of creating your own world, anything is possible!

For a chance to win a free eBook of Piper's Fury, answer this question: What would you do if a vampire asked you to share his life with him? Eternity is a long time, think long and hard. I look forward to seeing your answers.

To be entered for a chance to win Piper's Fury:
1-Answer the question for Rachel in the comment section below and leave your email address.
2-The contest will remain open until Friday April 8, 2011 at midnight EST.
3-The winner will be announced sometime on Saturday, April 9, 2011.
4-I will contact Rachel with the winners name and email so she can send the book.
5-If no email address is provided, you will not be entered in the drawing.
6-Everyone is eligible to enter since this is an e-Book format.
7-You do not have to be a follower of my blog to enter. It would be nice; but it is not mandatory. If you are a follower, it will not increase you chances of winning.
Thank you all and good luck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Review of October Girls

October Girls: Crystal & Bone
October Girls
Book 1 Crystal&Bone
L.C. Glazebrook
Cinderella Story Press 2010
Kindle Edition
   Halloween is just a few days away. All 'hell' is about to break lose because Crystal has been consorting with the dead. You see Crystal is a witch and her best friend is dead. Her mother has told her never to associate with the dead but like most teenagers, she sees fit not to listen to her mother, and that includes not paying attention enough to learn her magic spells to close the portal to the afterlife. Crystal does not want to be trailer trash like her mother and has her sights set on community college.
   Crystal's best friend Bones died way to young and is more then happy to assist Crystal so that she can remain among the living. A movie director is gathering followers for his horror movies and turning the teens into zombies by brain washing them. Someone is messing with Crystal's momma's potions because they don't want the portal closed. Crystal's boyfriend Pettagrew wants a commitment from her; but she has other plans.
   This is just the story to get everyone in the Halloween spirit. We meet all sorts of characters, creatures from the dark side. magic spells, potions, and would you believe James Dean's unborn twin brother? Seriously folks, who could ask for more? All of the different characters, living and dead, all seem to have their own agendas. Crystal is a bit of a pain. On one hand she loves her mother; but on the other she doesn't want to be like her at all. Her so called best friend, Bones, really has no problems with betraying her friend. On top of that, she resents her friend because she is still alive. Then we have the shallow valley girl types. Talk about your mixed bag; they all come together for a bit of Halloween excitement.
   I found the story quite entertaining and packed full of imagination. Scott Nicholson/L.C. Glazebrook come together to create a storyline packed with humor and one that you will not forget for a while. If you are in the market for a quirky Halloween story, I would definately recommend this one. Young and old alike can find enjoyment between the pages of October Girls
   I wish to thank Scott Nicholson for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was not compensated in any way except for the privilege of reading and reviewing the book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.
I give October Girls 4 out of 5 stars