Thursday, July 31, 2008

All the Voices of the Wind

I met Mr. Parker on Shelfari. He is nice, smart and a good writer. His books have the theme of Christianity in them. Now you might think well I am not going to read them then as books want to force there beliefs on you. Well I can tell you that Mr. Parker does not do that. He only makes reference to God, The Bible and maybe inserts some passages but he does it in an appropriate way. So if you are looking for something new to read or want to take a chance on a new book than check our all of Mr. Parker's books.

For most of Jeremy Dillon’s life, it has been just him and his dad. They share a great connection with each other. That all changes when the new girl in town, Maria Masterson captures Jeremy’s attention. Jeremy is intrigued by Maria. She wears dresses to school. Maria was also the first person to start a debate with the science teacher, Mr. Bogue on Darwin’s theory about the evolution of man. Jeremy has never known different. His father has raised him on the beliefs of Darwin. So when Maria says opposite and talks about the good Lord, Jeremy wants to learn more. Jeremy starts spending more time with Maria as well as heads to church for the first time. Jeremy is so fascinated he can get enough but his dad isn’t happy. In fact Mr. Dillon wants Jeremy to stop seeing Maria. Will Jeremy keep following the path he’s always known or will he take a leap of faith?

All the Voices of the Wind is the second book I have read by Mr. Parker. I enjoyed it a lot. I am so glad I found this author. Mr. Parker’s writing is so easy flowing and right on point. His characters deal with everyday real-life situations but in a positive upbeat manner. All of Mr. Parker’s books provide a strong message of never doubting your faith even if it makes you unique from everyone else. For anyone wanting to read an uplifting novel, than you should check out All the Voices of the Wind. All the Voices of the Wind is the third book in a series of five featuring the Masterson family.

For more information about this book or any of Mr. Parker's books. Check his website out at

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's a lovely time with Debbie Alferio

I just recently discovered this new author. Well as you all know me I love sharing my discoveries of new authors. I introduce you to Debbie Alferio, author of the Forever series.

First off let me say thank you for doing this interview. It was a pleasure.

Thank you! The pleasure is all mine, and I appreciate your interest in me and my work.

What’s your idea of a relaxing day?

Sleeping late, doing some writing in my pj’s until early afternoon, having lunch, and then just hanging out with my husband and sons for the rest of the day.

Where do you draw your inspirations from? Who are your inspirations?

The inspiration for my books actually came from a dream. In the dream, I was talking to a man I didn’t know and addressed him as Mitch, although I know no one by that name. When I woke up, I began to write the story that was forming in my head. Six months later I had completed my first novel, A Forever Kind of Love, and my “dream man” became Mitch Tarrington, my lead character. I feel that I was truly Divinely Inspired and continue to draw on that same inspiration today.

As for my characters, they really weren’t intended to be inspired by anyone; however, Dana is definitely my fictional alter ego, and Mitch has personality traits of both my husband and oldest son.

How do you tackle writer’s block?

I have found that the best thing to do is simply to get away from the computer and get myself involved in another task for a while. If I try to force myself through it, all it does is actually make matters worse. Most of the time, if I can take my mind off the writing, the ideas will come to me out of the blue; and when I sit back down, I’m ready to get going again.

Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?

Fortunately, the only deadlines I have are self-imposed, so this really isn’t a big concern for me.

What did you do with the money from your first sale?

Gosh, I can’t remember! I believe I actually saved it for use toward promoting the book. Doesn’t sound like much fun, I know, but I was on a tight budget at the time.

How do you keep your series fresh?

So far it hasn’t been difficult being that I just released my second book. Each book has a cliffhanger ending which gets resolved in the next book and that “resolution” becomes the main plotline. I also have a few subplots in each book just to keep it interesting. Readers enjoy seeing what happens to the characters and how they evolve from story to story. They get to know them on a personal level. It’s like following the lives of good friends.

How long have you been writing romances? How long were you seriously writing before you were published?

I have actually been writing now for almost four years. I did no serious writing prior to the morning after I had the dream about Mitch.

You have such a wide range of readers. Why do you think that is? What is it about your books that everyone from young readers to seniors love about your books?

I believe that my appeal to such a diverse group comes from two main factors: my realistic approach to writing and that my books contain no sexually explicit material or strong language. I have had several readers tell me that they can personally relate to one of the characters or scenes from the books, and they feel as if they are actually “in the story.” I have also encountered many readers who enjoy romance but prefer not to indulge in the strong “adult” themes many of them now include.

How do you feel about self-published books (not self-help) vs. books published by major companies?

As a self-published author, I understand the hard work and dedication these authors take to get their books into the marketplace. Yes, there is a stigma in some peoples’ eyes that self-published books aren’t as high quality as traditionally published ones. This is a terrible untruth. The choice of whether to self- or traditionally publish is just that and nothing more. A choice. It has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the work or the author’s writing ability. I, along with many others, chose to self-publish simply because I was eager to share my work with interested readers. I understand that it can often take many years to secure a traditional publishing contract, and sometimes several more years to become published. I guess you could say I’m impatient! lol I also enjoy the freedom of being my own agent, retaining complete rights to my work, and having the final say on storylines, book covers and the like. Again, each author must choose what is right for them personally, and there is really no right or wrong.

If you were not a writer what would you be?

Believe it or not, the only thing I really wanted to be as a young girl was a wife and mother. I love the traditional role of the stay-at-home mom and having the privilege of making a home for my husband and sons.

Whose books do you like to read?

Recently I have been reading books by authors that I know personally or whom I have had the pleasure of meeting. The last book I read was Queens & Crescents by Barry Southers, a wonderful author I held a signing with in Cincinnati, Ohio, last year. It was romantic, suspenseful, and mysterious all rolled into one. A great read! I am just about to begin A Better Day Dawning by my good friend, Becky Conrad, which is a sequel to her first, The Door of Façade.

Can you share any exciting career news?

The most exciting news I have right now is the recent release of my second novel, Waiting for Tomorrow. It is being very well received by the readers; it just came out in May and already people are asking for the next book to see what happens! I will also be making several appearances this fall—please visit my website at for more information.


To sample Waiting for Tomorrow.

A Free Preview of the story can be found on Click on "Book Store" at the top and type in Debbie Alferio. You will be directed to the book; simply click on the title or cover to get to the page.

Due to the high amount of positive response to the 'Forever Love' Series, I have begun a "contact list" for interested readers. If you would like to receive periodic email notices about the books and the availability of future titles, please contact me at and be sure to include your name, address and e-mail address (if available).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Book Contest

Hello All. Ok, so if you have probably heard great things about this book Sisters of Misery. Well even if you haven't you have a chance to win a signed copy over at

Enter today as this contest ends August 8th.

Surviving Ben's Suicide

I have just read a very powerful book titled Surviving Ben's Suicide by Mrs. C. Comfort Shields. Her book is about her boyfriend Ben, who took his life. I know this type of book might not be for everyone and that is fine. Mrs. Shields was nice enough to do an interview with me about her book. See both my review and interview.

My review

Fifteen years ago Comfort’s boyfriend, Ben decided to end his life. This may seem like the end but really it is just the beginning for Comfort. Read her story about life, helping people, encouragement, and empowerment in Surviving Ben’s Suicide. When Comfort first met Ben, she thought he was very cute. Ben was in the Navy. As Comfort and Ben’s friendship turned into a relationship, things were going good. They would spend their time together just talking about life as well as how much they liked each other. There was something about Ben that made him unique. He liked to run at night in addition to carrying on deep conversations in the middle of the night. But I think this is what made Ben so special. Even though he was ill, Ben seemed to be so much wiser beyond his years. It was a sad tragedy when Ben took his life.

Surviving Ben’s Suicide was the first book I have read on this subject matter. So I didn’t know what to expect or how I would feel. What I can tell you is that this was a very beautiful, well-written, and heart felt book by Mrs. C. Comfort Shields. I give Mrs. Shields so much credit for going through what she did and coming out of this situation strong. She not only tried to make sense of what happened but she also was able to write this novel so that others may cope as well as know they are not alone. I don’t know what else to say about Surviving Ben’s Suicide other than amazing. This book will touch you in so many ways but in a good way.

Now my interview.

I want to thank Mrs. C. Comfort Shields for doing this interview.

Thank you, Cheryl, for these wonderful and thought-provoking questions.

In the book you share about a boy in your English class you taught in a high school in Connecticut. His name is Antoine. He wrote poetry and liked to draw. Through his poems he could express his feelings. You helped him. I was wondering what happened to him?

A. Yes, it still amazes me just how perceptive people are. Without my having said anything in my classes, my student, Antoine, somehow sensed that I had been through difficult times in my life and felt that he could trust me. I encouraged him to express himself through his writing, and he brought his poetry to show me before school each morning.

By the end of the term, he shared one of his anonymous poems with the class and got a standing ovation. Last I heard, Antoine’s family could not afford the school tuition, and he was going to be changing schools. I do not know where he is now, but I believe that, when he left my class, he was on a new path of believing in himself and knowing that he had a great deal to say.

That experience reaffirmed to me that it is possible to find a balance in one’s life between reaching out to others and making a difference to them and knowing that we cannot completely determine another person’s future.

You mentioned that you wanted to write a book about your experience because back than there were not a lot of books where someone who was in a relationship but not married could read about how to help them cope as well as realize they are not alone. I realize it must have been hard for you to relive something like this. Where do you begin when you decide you want to write a memoir about your experience?

A. When my college boyfriend, Ben, took his life fifteen years ago, I desperately searched for other books on surviving a loved one’s suicide and found next to nothing. I felt alone in my grief, particularly because suicide is such a fraught subject surrounded by painful silence. I promised myself then that I would write a memoir about my experience, so that other people going through similar experiences would not feel so alone. Surviving Ben’s Suicide is the first literary memoir about surviving a partner’s (girlfriend, boyfriend’s or spouse’s) suicide.

It was hard to know where to begin writing about my experience. The first draft of my book, many years ago, wove back and forth between a literary memoir and an academic book about suicide and its survival. I worked for about a year with a literary agent, Jodie Rhodes, who told me that my book was neither fish nor fowl and I really needed to focus on my personal experiences and take out the academic voice. That was difficult for me for two reasons. First of all, I had just finished graduate school, where I had written a long thesis and was still in academic mode. Secondly, forcing myself to stay with my personal story was, as you so rightly said above, a painful endeavor. But I’ve always been a big believer in how the close-up windows into a life can often teach us more than the abstractions. I think that is why I love novels and tend to prefer memoirs over self-help books.

Since the release of Surviving Ben’s Suicide, how has the response been? Is it what you were hoping for?

A. The response has been profoundly moving to me. Even before my book was available, I had emails from people, who were searching for comfort on how to survive the suicide of a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife and came across my website. Since then, many people have written me to say that, in one way or another, my book has meant something to them. Many people had a suicide in their family one or more generations ago, and the secrecy and/or pain surrounding it has made a tremendous impact in their lives. It has been amazing to me just how many people have been directly touched by suicide. Knowing that my memoir has, in some small way, touched others has made the experience of writing and publishing Surviving Ben’s Suicide worthwhile and deeply gratifying.

What do you like to do for fun?

A. Other than reading and writing, walking is one of my favorite activities. Now I love to spend time walking in my gardens and hiking in the countryside with my husband and children. Recently, we moved back to the USA, after living in England for years. The streets of London from Regent’s Park to Hyde Park and all around Marylebone are impermeably imprinted in my memory. I lived in New York City for several years, too, and always favored walking rather than taking the subway, when I could. I truly believe that the places that we live have a profound influence on our psyche. The anthropologist, Keith Basso, had fascinating things to say about the way the Western Apache Native Americans were connected to their landscape.

Your website asks readers to take a walk in your garden. What is growing in your garden?

A. My garden is an arboretum or tree garden. It is modeled after Adrian Bloom’s gardens in Norfolk, England. Bloom is known for his all-season gardens of conifers, heathers, and flowering ornamental trees and shrubs. We have many varieties of rare miniature conifers. They change in color from season to season and, also, seem to have their own personalities. Some look just like giant wooly mammoths. Others reach their arms over paths. The heaths and heathers are one of my favorite plants in the garden, because they have wonderful earthy colors and provide texture and color year round. They remind me of the moors of England.

What is it like being a mom to two beautiful children?

A. Being a mother makes me happier than I ever thought I could be. My children are only eighteen months apart in age. Right now they are two and three. These are challenging ages, as they are learning about their independence. They have their funny rock star diva moments, when they prefer to have things exactly their way and not to share—those moments keep my busy.

Most of the time, though, being a mother to two little people is magical, as I watch my children discover themselves and the world around them. I was looking at their artwork this morning thinking just how wonderful it is that small children are unhindered and haven’t been “programmed” yet or told how they should or shouldn’t express themselves.

Thank you again for doing this interview. I am glad to hear you are happy and doing well in your life.

Thank you, Cheryl. I really enjoyed answering your questions.

Check out her website and blog

Monday, July 28, 2008

What makes a Rumor?

What makes a rumor?

That is the question.

We all know what a rumor is. It can be described as "an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern". In The Watercooler Effect, Nicholas DiFonzo explores as well as explains why we as a society latch onto rumors in addition to how they get started. DiFonzo provides the reader examples of some very popular rumors and myths.

He explains that some times a rumor can get started just by someone providing minimum information or the listener mixing up some information. Think of it like the game “telephone”. The more people who pass on the information, the less the end result turns out to be from the beginning. So why do we spread rumors or even claim a hint of legitimacy to these facts if all rumors are just that…..rumors. It’s because it’s one way we communicate. One of the biggest reasons we pay any attention to hearsay is fear. You say well that is stupid. There is no truth to rumors, so why would I fear them. It’s for the simple fact that when we hear something that could jeopardize our jobs or maybe it’s because we are just trying to make sense of all the situations happening around the world; whatever the case may be, we are wanting to reveal the certainty that circumstances surrounding us are going to be ok.

I didn’t know quite what to expect when I started reading The Watercooler Effect. I knew though that the subject that was going to be discussed within this book was going to be interesting. Well it definitely was. Nicholas DiFonzo explanations were enlightening even though I wish there had been more examples I was still pleased with this novel. It made me think more about what’s in a rumor as well as trying not to help spread the rumor mill right away. The Watercooler Effect is one of those novels everyone should read at least one.

This book will be released September 11, 2008. You can then purchase it here.,,9781583333259,00.html?breadcrumbList=%7Bthe+watercooler+effect%7D&bcPath=c590611%2D00000000%23%23%2D1%23%23%2D1%7E%7Eq746865207761746572636f6f6c657220656666656374&searchProfile=US-590611-global&strSrchSql=the%20watercooler%20effect

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Choices Meant for Kings

It's Sunday. That means I bring you another fine edition of The Sunday Salon. This time I want to introduce you all to a wonderful woman by the name of Sandy Lender. She is the author of Choices Meant for Gods and her latest Choices Meant for Kings. Choices Meant for Kings will be released this fall.

Choices Meant for Kings is the second book to Choices Meant for Gods. It seems to pick right back up again. Where the old prophet has died and Amanda Chariss, Protector of the Master, Nigel Taiman, her dragon, and the rest of Amanda’s army are preparing for battle with Julette and Drake.

For those of you who are new to these books by Sandy Lender than you are in for a treat. If you like fantasy, adventure, and humor than you need to read this books.

So the story begins with Sorne Jeel has now become the new prophet. Julette or the dragon as she is called is a powerful sorcess who has traveled to Lorendell to see King Vrel Wendan. Julette is there to convince King Wendan to join Lord Jamieson Drake and his Dreorfahn army to conquer the northern continent of Onweald and destroy the master. The prophecy states that when Jake Taiman and Tiaha Wold marry Julette’s powers will increase.

Amanda and her army have captured Emperor Darne Wold. Amanda questions the Emperor of his knowledge of Julette’s plans. He reveals that The Dragon sent a couple of spies along with the Emperor’s party to report back to Julette. In addition Emperor Wold tells Amanda a surprising fact about Drake. Something happens to Amanda her geasa (powers) disappear. So Amanda and her army travel to Lorendell to see if the other sorcerers there have also lost their geasa as well as to convince the King to fight against Julette and Drake. Get ready for the battle to begin in addition to a few more surprises along the way.

I very much enjoyed Amanda’s take no prisoners’ attitude and the way the men respect but also fear her a little. Nigel was such a dear-heart (hush don’t tell him that), even if he is a dragon. The twists that Sandy threw into the storyline were great and I found them to be inserted at just the right places. Another nice fact I liked was that Choices Meant for Kings continued the story right away so that readers would not miss a beat with what was happening with Amanda, Nigel and all the others. There has only been one author that I have found that I liked who wrote this type of genre…fantasy and that was Maria V. Snyder, author of the Study series. Now counting Sandy Lenders books, I now have another favorite author I enjoy reading in the fantasy genre. Thank you Ms. Lender for making me such a fan.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A New Blog Feature

Good Morning All. I have read about this fun new thing I am going to do on my blog. J. Kaye found it on Should Be Reading blog

Every Friday, those who have blogs will write a post at their own blog, and then come back to Friday Finds and leave others a link to follow on that week’s “Friday Finds” post here at Should Be Reading. For those who don’t blog, you can just tell us about your “Friday Finds” in a comment on that week’s post.

So in edition to The Sunday Salon, I will also be running the Friday Finds as well. So you should expect to see new books I have found at this time.

Clouds Over Mountains

Ok, so what gets your attention more quickly and faster than a dead body? That’s how Clouds Over Mountains starts. Perry Mason goes in front of the civilians and Navy officers to re-account his story of what happened that night. Perry tells them that it was a foggy evening when Seaman Franks shouts that he spotted something propped up on the dock. When Perry and Franks go to investigate what was on the dock to their surprise they find the body of a man.

Koji Imaichi wants to figure out why Navy pilot Yasuo Saito so many years ago disappeared, especially after surviving the attack by the Americans on the Navy carrier Akag at Midway. So Imaichi, an ex-cop decides to pose as a reporter to get answers from Saito. The problem is when Imaichi shows up at Saito’s doorstep in Japan; Saito gets scared and runs away. The chase is on now. Imaichi follows Saito from Japan to his childhood home and finally to Hawaii. Just when Imaichi thinks he has lost track of Saito a new twist gets thrown in the mix and you won’t believe what it is!

When I read the book summary and concept for Clouds Over Mountains I was very interested. I didn’t realize through that Clouds Over Mountains would be better than it sounded. The characters were great as well as the storyline. Plus I didn't figure out what the secret was that Saito was hiding till Mr. Joseph wanted the reader to learn it. I do have to admit that when I first picked up this book I was like ok so it might take me a while to finish reading Clouds Over Mountains but it moved so fast and smooth that I had more trouble putting it down than I did picking it up. A big credit to this fact is Mr. Joseph’s writing style. Also when I found out this was Matt Joseph’s first novel; I was like I hope there is more to come

If this book interests you than you can purchase it at either



Barnes and Noble

Friday, July 25, 2008


If you think the cover is pretty scary then you need to read what's inside!

DEA Agent Castro Baxter and his partner, Ted are out on a stakeout, when all of a sudden Ted starts having convulsions. Ted’s whole body is rapidly swelling. Before Castro can get help Ted dies. Castro’s boss thinks Ted died of a drug overdose but Castro believes that’s not true. When Dr. Alexandra Blake gets involved, her tests prove Ted didn’t die of an overdose but of something more horrifying. Before Alex knows it people all over are dying. It is turning out to be a major outbreak of the dangerous kind. Alex will have to use every part of her knowledge as well as wits about her in order to keep more people from dying. That’s the easy part. The obstacle will be staying alive. The people responsible for starting this whole epidemic don’t appreciate Alex sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. Will the bad guys end up on top this time or can Alex come out the hero?

Readers who have followed Dr. Alexandra Blake will not be disappointed in Lori Andrew’s latest Immunity. The plot for this book was both intriguing and frightening. Intriguing that something like this could happen so easily and frightening for the same fact. For anyone who likes medical thrillers then you will enjoy reading this book. From the first couple of pages till the end, Immunity was first-class. I thought Immunity was a mix between a Tess Gerritsen novel and CSI. Need I say more? Ms. Andrews brings so much intensity with her expertise on genetics and law. See for yourself what I am talking about in Immunity.

Check out Lori Andrew's website

Purchase the book here

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Book Giveaway

One of my favorite blogs to visit Booking Mama is giving away a copy of Stone Creek. Head on over here but hurry as this contest ends July 31st.

Summary: In the small town of Stone Creek, a random encounter offers two lonely people a chance at happiness. Danny, a young widower, still grieves for his late wife, but for the sake of his five-year-old son, Caleb, he knows he must move on. Alone in her summer house, Lily has left her workaholic husband, Paul, to his long hours and late nights back in the city. In Stone Creek, she can yearn in solitude for the treasure she's been denied: a child. What occurs when Lily and Danny meet is immediate and undeniable—despite Lily being ten years older and married. But ultimately it is little Caleb's sadness and need that will tip the scales, upsetting a precarious balance between joy and despair, between what cannot happen...and what must. An unforgettable novel of tremendous emotional heft, Stone Creek brilliantly illuminates how the powers of love and loss transform the human heart. -- Harper Collins

A Highlander Never Surrenders

I am so glad to share with you all my review of Paula Quinn's latest A Highlander Never Surrenders. I love reading books that take place in Ireland/Scotland. I hope you will enjoy my review and purchase this book for yourself.

The year is when Scotland’s Third Civil War has re-emerged.

Oliver Cromwell has died. General Monck of the New Model Army wants to see Charles II restored to power, so he enlists the help of men like Lord Robert Campbell, Earl of Argyll, a Presbyterian and Graham Grant, highlander, Royalist and first in command of the MacGregor clan.

Claire Stuart has been captured by some Puritan Roundheads. Claire winds up getting rescued by Lord Robert Campbell and his friend Graham Grant. Unfortunately Claire is anything but happy to see Robert and Graham. Claire is on a mission to save her sister, Anne from getting married to General Monck. Actually Claire is more than mad she is out to kill someone and that someone winds up being General Monck. But first Claire has to escape Graham in addition to keeping her true identity of being the king’s cousin a secret. In order to keep Claire from ruining things, Graham tells Claire he will help her to rescue her sister. What Graham will soon learn is he was better off letting Claire do her own thing as she is one hellion, especially with a sword.

I just loved the characters in this book. They were so strong and independent. This statement 100% applies to Claire with her take charge attitude. I found it to be an enjoyment, especially when her angry was aimed at Graham. It was funny because Graham would treat Claire like a two year old but at the same time this is when you could also feel the sparks between these two. I have to admit that it wasn’t hard to enjoy this book but because one it was written by the lovely Paula Quinn and two it was set during the Scottish times, which is a favorite time period of mine. A Highlander Never Surrenders was a royal pleasure to read. I am already anxiously awaiting Ms. Quinn’s next release.

Purchase the book here

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Look what I received. Julie at Booking Mama gave me this award. You should check her out. She has so many great authors visiting her book club. Her book club is made up of moms and daughters which is great. She gives you in sightful reviews about books and than how her meets went the next day. Plus she occasionally holds contests. You will see me comment there pretty much all the time.

Thank you Julie.

Once an award is received, the rules are:

1. Put the logo on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3. Nominate at least seven other blogs.

4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.

5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

So here is my list in no order.

Becky at

Amy at

Linda at

Lisa at

Shoshana at

Naida at

Debbie at

Ghosts of the Old West

I have not read this book but I like westerns and thought this one sounded good.

Even today the American West remains a frontier of mystery and intrigue, filled with the spirits of trappers and traders, Native Americans and settlers. These spirits have been sighted while haunting the West's beautiful and rugged land. InGhosts of the Old West, acclaimed Western author Earl Murray conveys these stories in a narration so eerie and so chilling we advise reading this with all the lights on in the safety of your home.Saddle up, my friend, and take a ride into the unknown.

Traveling through Murray's West, you'll encounter: a soldier at Fort Laramie, dead for almost two centuries, who still insists on silence during war-strategy meetings, and La Llarona, also known as the weeping woman, who roams the hills and valleys of the Spanish Southwest. You'll hear stories of the Little People with their hidden powers and the Snake People, who are feared by the Native Americans to this day. And many, many more. Come along my friend, but be wary--the night comes early out here, early and dark.

Purchase the book here

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ready to get a Tan?

First off let me start by saying that I have not read many Beach Read books but Tan Lines has got to be the best one of the year so far. If you don't believe me than just read my review and if that isn't enough I am giving away a extra copy of Tan Lines to one lucky reader. US only. Sorry.


To enter you can do any or all of these items.

Post a comment till July 31st. Every comment you make will earn you 1 entry.

Blog about this contest as well as add me to your blog roll and get 2 entries. Post a link back to let me know you did this.

Also for every person you refer to my blog who mentions your name. You will get 3 entries.

Non Bloggers:

To enter you can also Post a comment every day on my posts till July 31st. Every comment you make will earn you 1 entry.

Also for every recommendation you make to me on beach reads will earn you 2 entries.

Last but not least email me and tell me why you want to read this book and it will earn you 3 entries.

Also I hope you will all come back and read my blog. Thanks

My review

Liza Pike has the perfect life. She is married to sexy, firefighter Justin. Also Liza is a regular on the TV show The Roundtable where she does her best work. She takes on the biggest names in the industry business of entertainment. Liza is a feminist who is huge on women’s rights. Her latest victim is movie director Harrison Beck of “Watch Her Bleed”. Harrison’s latest movie is a slasher movie. Some people applaud Liza’s feminist ways but others aren’t so pleased with her and want to shut her up for good but who could it be? There are numerous people who don’t like Liza like Harrison who Liza has commented on national television about his manhood, than there is her husband Justin; they haven’t had sex in years and when Liza states this fact in front of one of her co-workers, Justin is mad. When Liza starts receiving death threats she doesn’t take them too seriously as she knows she has made enemies in the business and doesn’t care. So are the threats just someone’s way to put Liza in her place or are the threats for real?

Kellyanne Downey is young, beautiful, and blonde. She is also the mistress to rich developer, Walter Isherwood. Kellyanne wants to be a successful actress. She gets approached by Brad “Bonzi” Lucas, producer for a reality show called “Soul Mates”. Kellyanne agrees to be a contestant on the show not realizes what a sleaze Brad is. Brad decides that he is going to make Kellyanne out to be the drunk slut of the show unless she sleeps with him. All Kellyanne wants is some respect and to be loved is that too hard to ask?

Billie Shelton is a famous rock star. Unfortunately Billie’s star is falling fast, that is until she is given a second chance. Amy Dando, Billie’s manger introduces Billie to Todd Bana of Olympic Records, who wants to work with Billie. Todd tells Billie that the
White Tiger, a songwriting group has some songs that they think would be great for Billie. The only hitch is that Billie would have to change her image from rock star to pop star. Billie experiences the high life when Todd has her try cocaine for the first time. Now between drinking and drugs, it will be a miracle if Billie completes her next album.

So these three friends decide to try and get away from their hectic lives and spend the summer in The Hamptons.

Ok so Tan Lines has been labeled as a great beach read and I say Tan Lines is a great read anytime. It has laugh a minute humor, fun, intrigue, adventure and three sexy women. Each one of the characters Liza, Kellyanne, and Billie were outstanding in their own ways. The nice part I liked about this book was that they all tried to band together to help each other out. Tan Lines is a book you can tell your girlfriends about and have them talking about it for a long time. Plus the most amazing thing is that Tan Lines was written by a man! J.J. Salem has just become a new favorite of mine. There has only been one other guy author where I have found his writing style to be so dead on with women’s’ personalities that it was scary. I can’t wait for J.J. Salem’s next novel Bikini Wax to drop. In the mean time if you haven’t picked up a copy yet of Tan Lines make sure to ……run not walk to the nearest bookstore and get yourself a copy today.

Check out J.J. Salem's website It is Smoking Hot!!!

Plus you have to check out this video on YouTube for the book. It is so funny.

To read more about the book go to

or to purchase the book

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Accident Man

Thank you to J. Kaye for letting me read this book.

Samuel Carver gets paid to make accidents happen. He can be classified as a hit man. His jobs usually involve him eliminating bad people like terrorists and human traffickers. Sam’s boss, Max gives Sam his latest orders to take out Ramzi Hakim Narwaz a terrorist. This mission just may be his last as it will have him running for his life. Sam accomplishes his mission. He makes Ramzi’s car crash into a cement wall at the Alma Tunnel. The date is August 31, 1997. What Sam doesn’t know is that the crash has actually took out America’s princess, Princess Diana. While Sam is trying to survive he meets Alexandra “Alix” Petrova. Alix is hired to take eradicate Sam. Sam and Alix come up with a plan to join forces instead in order to learn what is going on. Buckle up your set belts and get ready for the ride of your life!

From the first moment I read this book summary I have been wanting to read The Accident Man. Just the concept of the plot caught my attention. Well I can tell you I was not disappointed. For me this book hooked me right away. I found myself reaching for The Accident Man every chance I got. It might because The Accident Man really made me think of The Bourne movies with Matt Damon or maybe it was all the action as well as adventure on every page. Well whatever the case I am glad this book was not a let down. The Accident Man is Tom Cain’s first novel and I am sure we will be hearing more from him. Also this book is being made into a movie, which you can see why when you read The Accident Man.

The Crimson Fold

The Crimson Fold features two vampire stories from Teri Adkins and Susanne Saville.

Cravings by Teri Adkins.

Lucinda Campbell was bitten by Malcolm five years ago but she received a blood transfusion and so she is now half human/half vampire. Unfortunately Lindy was seeing Detective Joe Andrews at the time. Joe couldn’t handle Lindy’s new self and they broke up. Now Lindy requires Joe’s help. Someone or some ones are attacking both vampires and humans.

Former vampire master Surgis was kidnapped. He was found dusted by sunlight. Now Larry Brown a human was taken for his life but Malcolm Montay the new master believes that Larry is still alive. So Lindy comes up with an idea to have the humans and vampires join forces and protect each other so no more killings happen. Malcolm and Joe think it is a crazy idea but they do strike a deal to have the humans protect the vampires during the day and the vampires will protect the humans at night but only if Lindy is in charge of the operation. Joe doesn't like it but he agrees. Everything is going ok till Lindy is shot and she receives threatening messages written in blood. Now things have gotten personal. The war is on and someone better watch out.

The dynamics between Lindy, Joe and Malcolm was great. Malcolm came from the time period where men were gentlemen but every time Malcolm tried to act nice Lindy would either brush him off or look at him like he was odd. Of course it could be, because Lindy still liked Joe. Lindy never wanted her and Joe’s relationship to end. Lindy would like to start things up again with Joe but knows it wouldn’t work. I enjoyed Cravings but the only thing was that I had a feeling I knew who was causing the trouble between the vampires and humans really early on. I don’t mind when I figure out the culprit but I hate when it happens so early but the nice thing was how the culprit was dealt with was not for the weak at heart. Other than this fact Cravings was still a good story. I would read more by Teri Adkins.

Vampire Close by Susanne Saville.

Fiona MacPhee and Joan Armstrong are out one night when they run into a vampire. The vampire is named Rory MacLaren, he tells them that he knows about The Fury and that on the Samhain eve the Andromache will rise and take over the world. Rory says he can help them decipher the ancient language that the prophecy is written in. This way Fiona can figure out where the portal is located. Fiona is leery of Rory’s motives as well as why would a vampire want to help humans. The closer Rory and Fiona work together the more the attraction between them gets heated. So will Rory and Fiona be able to stop Andromache from rising or will they be too late?

I enjoyed the characters in this story…Fiona, Rory and Joan. The plot was pretty good except I found myself not getting into Vampire Close as quickly as I did Cravings. Not to say Vampire Close was bad as it was a good story as it did have lots of action and was well-written. It just seems to move slow at first but once I got further into the story it did pick up and I ended up liking Vampire Close. I have now read three books by Susanne Saville and enjoyed them all. I look forward to reading more by this author.

Purchase the book here


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another Book Contest

Here's another book contest. Alea at Pop Culture Junkie is holding her first book contest. Head on over hear for all the details

A Huge Book Contest

So you have all seen the book contests Hachette is doing. They are giving away 14 books to five winners. If you have not won yet than here's another chance. Tracy at Bookroomreviews is holding a contest.

Head on over here for all the details.

My Interview with Sharon Cupp Pennington.

As I told you all yesterday, I would have an interview with Sharon to share and so here it is. Enjoy.

I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.

I appreciate the opportunity, Cheryl. Thank you.

What’s something about you that we’d be surprised to learn?

Hmmm. . .maybe my age, that I'm sixty and publishing my first novel. Or maybe not. Isn't 60 the new 40?

What’s your idea of a relaxing day?

A day when I don't have to cook. Having raised three kids, I suffer from terminal kitchen burn-out. Thank goodness, Wayne is masterful in the kitchen.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Be yourself.

And what is the worst?

Be yourself. I'm painfully shy. I think a lot of writers are, that's why we bury ourselves in our writing. In marketing my novel, I'm having to step fully out of my comfort zone and that's not easy.

Which comes first for you … the character or the plot?

Generally, the plot idea comes first. Then I add the necessary characters to develop that plot - or as the plot develops, characters just show up - sometimes these stories take on a life all their own.

In your opinion, what constitutes a good mystery?

A really good mystery is one where you're guessing "who dun it?" until the very end. A story where, as you read, you want so badly to get to the end, to solve it, and yet you know when you get there - to that end - the story will be over, book finished - and you don't want that either. Aren't sequels great?

Do you use an outline when plotting?

No, I just write. Usually I finish a chapter, and then I send it to my critique group for feedback. They're an excellent sounding board. Sometimes, if I'm stuck, I have certain members that I brainstorm with "back channel." That works best for me.

Your book Hoodoo Money has Braeden believing that there must be a curse when Angeline takes the coin off a gypsy’s grave. So I ask you do you believe in curses and ghosts.

Well, let's see. . .whenever Wayne (my husband of 42 years) and I go to the casino, I try to wear my lucky charm bracelet (think I paid three bucks for it at an outlet store) and the shirt I wore to the casino the last time I won big, and then we have this funky little good luck handshake we do in the truck on the way there. Oh, and I chew gum and talk to the slot machines - a few sweet nothings can't hurt. I definitely believe in karma, in what goes around comes around. I believe if there is good in the world - and there is - then who’s to say there can't also be evil? I see the way we live our lives as an investment. You get out of it what you put in. As corny as it sounds, I prefer to invest something good.

What do you love most about the book you’ve just written/released?

That it's finally finished. Just kidding. I love the characters in this book, Braeden and Montgomery, Charlie and Angeline, even old Bull Scully and Elizabeth.

What has been your best experience so far though this whole process?

Holding that copy of Hoodoo Money in my hand for the first time was an absolute dream come true. I ended up going with a small publishing house, Draumr Publishing, out of Maryland. The owner, Rida Allen, also my editor, is tough but fair. She added a personal touch to every aspect - from cutting unnecessary chunks of my writing to hashing out the cover art. It's been a really good experience.

What type of advise do you have for someone just starting out in the business of writing and getting their first book published?

Believe in yourself and the quality of your product. Remember that your acceptance or rejection is based on one person's opinion. It's hard to hold onto that belief when doors are closing in your face, or your query letters are simply being ignored. I even got one rejection on the back of a blue flyer. Guess they didn't want to waste the paper. Talk about impersonal. So hang in there. Keep after it. If you don't have faith in yourself, who’s going to? Also, and this is crucial, join a GOOD critique group, be it online or local. The experience you'll gain is priceless. It'll also toughen your skin.

What is on your bookshelf?

Oh, goodness, I love books. Love the smell of books and bookstores. I especially love romantic suspense, suspense in general. My keepers include novels by Linda Howard, Karen Robards, Stuart Woods, Jayne Ann Krentz, Stella Cameron - hmmm, let me go look - Tami Hoag, Kay Hooper, Julie Garwood and Catherine Coulter, lots of Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown and Iris Johansen. My favorite book is usually the last one I've read.

If you could save three books from burning, which three would they be?

That's a hard question. I feel like I should name some tome of deep moral value to humankind. But all I can think of is how often, when writing, I use a thesaurus. And then I'm thinking, "Why are these books being burned?" Should I be picketing, marching, protesting?

What book are you currently working on now?

Although I have several novels started, I'm concentrating my efforts on the sequel to Hoodoo Money, tentatively titled Under the Tortoise Shell Tree. My publisher has already shown an interest in this second novel which means I won't have to "shop it around."

Thank you again for doing this interview with me. My pleasure, Cheryl.

Hoodoo Money, a romantic suspense novel set in contemporary Louisiana and Texas,
Released: May 2008
Available at Amazon and other fine online booksellers

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Learn the Mysteries of Hoodoo Money

I am so exicted to present to all of you hopefully a new author, well a new author to me. Her name is Sharon Cupp Pennington. Her book is titled Hoodoo Money (isn't that a fun name) . Also come back tomorrow and see my interview with Mrs. Pennington.

Braeden McKay a popular children’s author and her friend, Angeline St. Cyr are in New Orleans. Unfortunately for Braeden being in New Orleans is not all fun as it is also a working vacation for Braeden. While out and about visiting different places in the Big Easy, Angeline takes a nickel from the grave of Simone Dubois, who was known for being a gypsy hoodoo woman. If only Braeden had known than what she knows now, she would have stopped Angeline from taking that coin. Ever since that day things have went wrong for both Braeden and Angeline fast. The only good thing to come out of the Big Easy is Detective J. Sanderson Montgomery. Montgomery and Braeden may not have met in the best of circumstances but the longer they spend time together the more their attraction grows. So will Braeden find inspiration in New Orleans or will the ghosts make her take of running?

Who would have guessed that children’s book author, Braeden McKay would find herself in the middle of a mystery. I thought the storyline for Hoodoo Money played out very well. The character dynamitic were good as well as I felt the twists that were written happened in all the right places. What I also liked and think it helped with the story was the location of New Orleans. I would never have believed that Hoodoo Money was Sharon Cupp Pennington’s first novel, it was just so good. Sharon has definitely worked her voodoo magic on me. I can’t wait to check out Mrs. Pennington’s next novel.

Here is her website. Check it out.

Here's the link to buy this book in either PDF or Paperback format.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's a Killer of a Time

Here is another new author I want to introduce you all too.

Bob Avey is the author of the Kenny Elliot mystery series, which includes Twisted Perception, released April 2006, and Beneath a Buried House, June 2008, several short stories and various non-fiction articles. He lives with his wife and son in Broken Arrow , Oklahoma where he works as an accountant in the petroleum industry, and when he’s not writing or researching mystery writing techniques, he spends his free time prowling through dusty antique shops looking for the rare or unusual, or roaming through ghost towns, searching for echoes from the past. Through his writing, which he describes as a blend of literary and genre, he explores the intricacies and extremities of human nature.

Bob is a member of The Tulsa NightWriters, The Oklahoma Writers Federation (active board member for 2006), The Oklahoma Mystery Writers, and Mystery Writers of America.

Here's my review.

Tulsa Detective Kenny Elliot has a new case to solve. It involves the death of a transient. Who at first it seems died of a drug overdose but upon further research Detective Elliot finds there is more than meets the eye. The more Elliot digs in and gets his hands dirty the deeper he realizes he could be in over his head, especially when things start happening to him like finding a pentagram craved on the hood of his car or receiving a threatening message in his email. Plus there are other forces taking place around Elliot in the form of a cult. But on the flip side Elliot does discover the identity of the transient. His name is Jim Llewellyn and he was writing a story on the mysterious disappearance of the Stone family. A husband, wife and two children from Donegal, Oklahoma. So who is this family Jim was writing about and what do they have to hide? Also, Elliot has been seeing a gal named Cyndi, Bannister, a waitress at a diner. The problem is the closer Elliot gets to Cyndi he finds she has some skeletons in her closet. But are they her’s or someone else’s?

I like a good detective, mystery story. So when I saw the chance to read Bob Avey’s new book Beneath a Buried House I jumped on it. I liked the main character Detective Elliot. I found him to be a pretty decent stand up kind of guy, who would help anyone but also had a level head on his shoulders. Elliot also knew just how to solve a case. The storyline was a good one as well as I found myself wanting to keep reading this book. The ending was a surprise to me, which is always a good thing when this happens. Beneath a Buried House is the first book I have read by Mr. Avey. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Here is Mr. Avey's website

Also here's some links on where you can pick up a copy of this book for purchase

Thank you to Cheryl Malandrinos with Pump Up Your Book for letting me read Beneath a Buried House.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Book Giveaway

You all know J. Kaye and if you don't than you must be living under a rock! LOL Just Kidding. Well here's your chance to check her blog out. She is holding a contest where 3, yes 3 winners will receive a copy of Immortal.

Go here.

From rags-to-riches to burnt-at-the-stakeModern day Renaissance woman shares 14th-century storyNew York, NY – Manhattan doesn’t normally conjure up thoughts of the Italian Renaissance. But inside one Upper Westside home, chats about the Renaissance are as normal as laundry. In fact, novelist Traci L. Slatton says her husband, the renowned classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard, talks about Renaissance masters every day, as if they breathe, sweat and walk among us.“For me, two of the major achievements of this century and a half were the development of the human figure in art, and the humanism that was rooted in ancient philosophy but spread its flowers far into the future,” says Slatton, whose debut work of historical fiction, Immortal, (978-385-33974-2, $14.00) releases in late January from Bantam Dell.

In this Dickensian coming-of-age saga, Luca Bastardo is an orphaned boy left on the streets of Renaissance Florence, a time rife with deadly plagues and war. Slatton enlivens 14th century passion and drama through Luca, a mysterious boy who is anything but ordinary. He explores his roots, befriends figures such as Giotto, Botticelli and Leonardo daVinci and encounters growing religious persecution.When asked what led her to write this modern-day Joan of Ark tale, Slatton points to her love affair with the Renaissance -- sparked of course by her husband, who names Michelangelo as his muse.Through a marriage of literature and classical figurative sculpture, Slatton and Howard are bringing to life the era marked by intellectual bursting and are making strides in metropolitan New York art circles.

A truly Renaissance couple, they hope to inspire others to learn about the period between 1401, when Florence held a competition among artists for the second set of Baptistery doors—which Ghiberti won, and went on to create the glorious Doors of Paradise—and 1541, when Michelangelo unveiled his “Last Judgment.”“My third daughter was kicking so hard in my belly that I couldn’t sleep past five a.m., so I sat down at my computer and imagined a character who could have met my Renaissance heroes,” says Slatton. “He would have had to live a long time and he would have enjoyed the company of prodigies, as well as endured the terrible suffering endemic to the time…. And thus was born Luca the Bastard on the streets of Florence.”In Immortal, Slatton animates figures like Botticelli and Giotto, giving readers a historical perspective on the Renaissance –- the age when artists stopped painting human bodies as flat abstractions floating in a gold sea, and started depicting them with hyper-real anatomy, bulging with muscles and sinew and rippling with personal psychology.

TRACI L. SLATTON left high school at 16 to attend Yale University and went on to graduate at 20 with a B.A. in English. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University. Haling from a family line of healers, she is a graduate of the renowned four-year Barbara Brennan School of Healing and formerly operated a hands-on healing practice. She has published dozens of poems, short stories, and articles in magazines and literary journals. Her first nonfiction book, Piercing Time & Space, examines the work of Stanford physicist William Tiller, radical British biologist Rupert Sheldrake and American mystic Edgar Cayce. Immortal is her second book. To learn more, please visit She resides in Manhattan with her husband, classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard ( and four daughters.

Pearl's Redemption

It is 1870 in Emerson, Colorado. Pearl Lloyd is a strong, tough, no-nonsense woman. So when Davidson Smythe comes to her ranch stating that he is the new owner, Pearl shoots first and asks questions later. Unfortunately for Pearl, Smythe has proof in the form of the deed to prove he really is the new owner of the ranch. Pearl knows that can't be true as she herself has the deed to the ranch. When Pearl goes in search of her deed she finds it missing. The people of Emerson, Colorado want Pearl gone from their town now matter how they have to do it. Pearl is not going down without a fight. So Pearl and Smythe decide to team up together to fight the townspeople of Emerson in addition to helping Pearl to retain her ranch.

Pearl had a great personality. I loved the fact that she was so strong that she could take care of herself. You usually do not read many westerns where the women are just as tough as the guys. I thought Smythe made a good opponent to Pearl, especially if he can put up with Pearl shooting at him. Not many men can win Pearl over but it was fun to see Smythe try. Pearl's Redemption is such a wonderful, well-written western romance novel. This is the third book in the Irish Western Series. I have not read the first two books in this series but I thought Pearl's Redemption made a good stand-alone novel. In C.H. Admirand’s bio she mentions that she fell in love with Colorado after a trip her husband and she made. You can tell in the way she wrote Pearl's Redemption.

Purchase the book here

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Exciting News!

To all my fellow bloggers and readers. A while back I introduced you all to Becky at She is the one I am so jealous of as she scores so many great books to read. LOL! Ok, well anyways she is hosting her first interview and a book giveaway with author Delaune Michel. A southern gal. Her first book is titled Aftermath of Dreaming. So check out Becky's blog this Saturday. Also be warned as you are going to want to make her blog a favorite.

Here's information about her book.

Aftermath of Dreaming

Hypnotic and beautifully written, Aftermath of Dreaming is an incandescent first novel of modern life and love. Other than the little problem that she is waking up screaming in the middle of the night, life is wonderful for Yvette Broussard. Her jewelry design career is taking off, she's back with her sort-of boyfriend, and best of all, she no longer thinks about her once-in-a-lifetime love, international movie star Andrew Madden. Until a chance encounter with him changes everything.

Swept up by memories of their complex relationship, while juggling the demands of her sister, her male best friend who is jealous of other men, and thoughts of her estranged father, Yvette is plunged into an obsession with Andrew which ultimately forces her to confront the past she thought she had left behind. Set against the glittering worlds of Los Angeles and New York, and told with both humor and pathos, Aftermath of Dreaming explores the universal themes of abandonment, forgiveness, and letting go.

Touch of Darkness


It’s good advice—and Kate always thought she did. But everything has changed: there’s a new force at the head of the Thrall collective. A force brilliant enough and ruthless enough to hide its sinister plan behind humanitarian work—building and funding halfway houses to ease the victims of drugs and the Thrall back into society.

And then Kate discovers that another part of the plan is rescinding the rules of fair play by which the Thrall have always dealt with humans. Kate is no longer Not Prey. Now she is just like everyone else: Prey.

Uncovering the plot is a start, but stopping it is another thing entirely. Kate must not only call on all of her own resources, but all of those that belong to her werewolf boyfriend Tom. But the Thrall collective has a brand new way of getting to Kate: a very personal series of attacks designed to tear her from Tom. Kate has to decide: save her relationship with Tom, or save the future from the Thrall?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Book Raffle

Ok. J. Kaye is holding another book raffle. This time it is for an ARC of Sisters of Misery.

Book Description

There are some girls who have everything...

She has the right clothes, the right friends, and the right last name, but fifteen-year-old Maddie Crane sometimes feels like an outsider in her clique in the wealthy, seaside town of Hawthorne, Massachusetts. And when her gorgeous, eccentric cousin Cordelia LeClaire moves to town, Maddie is drawn toward her ethereal, magical spirit and teeters even more toward the edge of her friends' tightly-knit circle...

Then there are the jealous ones...

Kate Endicott and the Sisters of Misery--a secret clique of the most popular, powerful girls in school--are less than thrilled by Cordelia's arrival. When Kate's on-again, off-again boyfriend Trevor takes an interest in Cordelia, the Sisters of Misery become determined to make her pay...

Now Maddie must choose between the allure and power of the Sisters of Misery and her loyalty to her beloved cousin. But she'll have to give up on ever fitting in and accept the disturbing truth about the town, her friends, her mysterious cousin, and even herself as she faces the terrifying wrath of the Sisters of Misery...

Click this link to enter

Volk's Game

Sounds like my kind of book. This one is going on my wish list to get.

Alexei Volkovoy--known to the underworld as Volk--is a hardened veteran of the conflict in Chechnya, a gun-for-hire now living in a lawless Russia, serving two corrupt masters: one is Maxim, a psychotic Azeri mafia kingpin, the other a mystery man known only as "The General." When Volk and his lover, a wild-eyed, white-haired young Russian named Valya, are hired by both men to steal the same lost painting from the Hermitage Museum, Volk must choose which to betray, and what that betrayal will cost him. His decision will lead this honest thief into the dark heart of the new Russian oligarchy, where only cash and violence can open doors.

Monday, July 14, 2008


In the tradition of Kathy Reichs and Jeffery Deaver, a talented novelist introduces a gutsy forensic investigator caught in the middle of an explosive crisis

Early one Thursday morning, forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is called to the scene of a gruesome murder. The body of a man has been found on the front lawn of a house in suburban Cleveland, the back of his head bashed in. Although it's not the best start to her day, Theresa has been through worse. What unfolds during the next eight hours, though, is nothing she could ever have imagined.

Downtown at the Federal Reserve Bank, her police detective fiancé is taken hostage with six others in a robbery masterminded by two clever criminals. When she arrives at the scene, Theresa discovers that the police have brought in the city's best hostage negotiator: handsome, high-profile Chris Cavanaugh. He hasn't lost a victim yet, but Theresa wonders if he might be too arrogant to save the day this time around.

When her fiancé is injured, she seizes the opportunity to trade places with him. Once on the inside, she will use all her wiles, experience, and technical skills to gain control of the situation. But what initially appears to be a bank heist turns into something far more complex and deadly, and Theresa must decide how much more she is willing to sacrifice in order to save the lives of innocent people as well as her own.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Come share the Magic with Cornelia Amiri

Ms. Amiri asked me if I would be interested in reviewing her latest book Druid Quest. Due out in August 08. I said yes and asked if she would be willing to do an interview also. She agreed so here it is. Enjoy and I hope you purchase the book. Check out my review in the coming weeks.

I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview with me.

Explain what a day in the life of an author is like? How long does it take from start to finish to complete a book?

When I’m off from my day job, I begin around 8 am, go to the computer, pull up a completed rough draft for rewrites or a new project to write fresh. It depends on how high my energy level is. I usually have one finished rough draft and two with only a few chapters written. So I always have plenty to do. Then I eat and work on my writing some more. I switch over to reading and answering e-malls or sending comments on my space. After super, I watch a little TV or read. Back to writing for an hour or two. I go to sleep and wake up about 4 am and write. I go back to sleep about 6 am, wake up about 8 am, and do it all over again. On my day job days I’m happy with any writing I do. Usually it's about four hours of work, but even if it’s twenty minutes, I’m happy to do some writing. There are times when I may spend the whole night writing with no sleep and still feel energized. But to be honest, those days are rare. There are weak days and strong days but it all balances out. It takes me a year to complete a book, I complete a rough draft in about three months but rewriting takes longer.

How did you decide to choose fantasy over all the other types of genres?

I love history, my favorite time periods and people are the Dark Age and Ancient Celts. It’s a time period few people have accurate knowledge of, so I have to make a world previously unreal to the reader, real to them, just like fantasy and sci-fi authors do. In the tradition of Marion Zimmer Bradley, I use fantasy to bring the readers into the belief system of the characters. I want to make the druid teachings of the times come alive to the readers. So in my books, people can shapeshift, there are selkies, dead ancestors cross over to speak with you and help you out, gods fall in love with humans, and, from time to time, dragons visit from their alternate dimension.

Where do you draw your inspirations from? Who are your inspirations?

The Celtic Warrior Queen Boudica is a main one, she made me start writing. I love history, and in reading a book about the dark ages, I came across Boudica. I was so inspired, I started jotting down notes, but they were fiction (it-must-have-happened-like-this type). Before I knew it, I had written a novel. I thought, gosh I can really do this. So after accidentally writing that novel, I wrote one on purpose, The Fox Prince, which turned out to be my first published book. In addition to Queen Boudica, authors: Morgan Llewellyn and Marion Zimmer Bradley are my strongest inspiration. Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote fantasies, Morgan Llewellyn writes historicals, and I write romances, but like them, I use historical knowledge and realistic fantasy that pulls from the druid belief system, and I have researched the ancient Celts for more than 15 years.

What’s something about you that we’d be surprised to learn?

I’ll give you two, I wrote an erotica/vampire story, Vampire Dancer, and it’ll be out soon in a book called Sleeping With The Undead. It’s still Celtic though, it’s about the Scottish fairy vampires, the baobhan sith (baa’-fan shee). And I wrote a contemporary mystery called Dead End Job, in an anthology called A Death In Texas. Both are coming out in the fall of 2008 with L & L Dreamspell. It’s loosely based on a few dead end jobs I’ve had.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? And what is the worst?

Best: In a creative writing class in 1978, the professor told me the best way to learn to write is to read. It keeps my subconscious mind alert to the writing craft, while my unconscious mind is having fun, there is nothing I enjoy more than a good book, except maybe chocolate and you can eat while you read. Worst: A person who said I’ve been through a lot in my life and should write about that instead of things that aren’t real. For the most part I don’t read biographies that deal with people overcoming difficult lives, those books, all books are great, but that shouldn’t be the only kinds of books available. I like fiction, most people do. It’s not write what you know, but write what interest you. The knowing is a given, it comes along with the interest. All people are experts on the things that interest them. The ancient Celts interest me, so I’ve come to know a lot about them and that’s what I write about

How many books do you usually write a year?

My books take me a year to write. I work at a full time day job for one thing, that limits my time. But I go at a rather slow pace on the rewrites. Once I finish the rough draft, I like to set it aside three weeks, if I can, so when I go back to it for the first read, I can do it with some detachment. So I’m more open about what has to be kept and what has to be deleted and how to work the in-between stuff. And I don’t even know how many rewrites I do, but it’s a lot. Every time I go back into the work in progress, I see things to improve. I don’t want to call it finished until I feel it’s the best work I can do at that time.

If you could be one of your characters – Who would you be? And why?

Ricole in One Heart One Way. She’s so adorable and bubbly as well as uncomplicated and confident. Life is fun for her. She is zany, full of energy, and everyone loves her. She makes the people around her happy, her positive personality brightens their day. She’s like a Welsh daffodil.

For readers who might not be familiar with your books. Can you please describe them and what they should expect from them.

The’re tales of long swords, hot heroes, and warrior women. The first, The Fox Prince, is the tale of a 5th century Celtic Prince who searches for and finds his true love. But she, a Saxon slave, is not happy about the match. Aelfrida must choose between vengeance or love. The second, One Heart One Way, is a tale of an ancient god, a magic sword and a hot prince named Blaise. The third, Danger Is Sweet, is a tale of a mysterious, dark warrior, a fiery Pict Princess, and the shadowy secret standing between them. The forth, The Vixen Princess, is the tale of Nesta, a fiery, voluptuous, middle-aged widow, who joins the new war leader, a 15-year-old lad named Arthur, to fight Saxons. There she meets the king’s champion, Mabon, a hardened warrior. But to Mabon's horror, a ghost is called forth from the grave as a match maker for these two. But the ghost has his work cut out for him, as Nesta and Mabon care more about war than love. And the 5th, Druid Quest, takes the readers into the myth, magic, and adventure of ancient Britannia as two druids fight for their lives, their faith, and their love. And my novella, A Fine Cauldron of Fish with Eternal Press is a funny vampire story which takes place on the Isle of Man.

What do you love most about the book you’ve just written/released?

I love the opportunity it gave me to transport readers to the Celtic World of the first century AD. An unspoiled land of mist topped mountains, thick oak forest, and the beautiful people who worshiped and lived in harmony with nature. I love that both of my characters are druids. I didn’t take my sacred druidess and throw her to a Roman lover. Her man is an arch druid as strong and powerful she is and vice versus. They have a stirring, timeless story to tell of hope, faith, and love.

What is your favorite genre to write? How about to read? And if they're different, why?

I love the romance genre because I want to give my characters happy endings. Also I like the challenge of thinking like a man, because in the romance genre you present inner thoughts of the hero and heroine in an equally shared portion. I like reading nonfiction history books including archeology reports and books on writing. In fiction, I like historical, fantasy, paranormals, Sci-Fi, and all the above cross genres of romance such as historical/romance, fantasy/romance etc. I like books with strong characters and I like to write strong characters, it’s their story I’m telling. In fantasy, historical, and sci-fi you have to create strong characters, you use the readers’ connection to them to bring the reader into a different place or time and make it believable to them.

If you could save three books from burning, which three would they be?

One would be Geoffrey of Monmouth’s history of Britain, it’s my favorite book. It inspired many of my novels. Though it was hand inscribed by a monk and written before the printing press, it was the first best seller. And it’s the first written record of the Arthurian legend. Another is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury because once anyone, with any sense, reads that, they will never stand for book burnings. And then there’s Charlotte’s Web, which I read when I was eight. The first book that made me cry. It changed how I viewed reading, to me, books became a powerful art that had to be included in my life.

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